Friday, June 12, 2015

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS: FOUR NONCOM STATION ORGANIZATIONS



This week we reported on NFCB’s new CEO, Sally Kane. To put things into perspective we did a comparative analysis of NFCB and three other nonprofit organizations that serve public radio stations.

Information in the chart below comes from each organization’s most recent IRS 990 for a full year, the organization's website and other sources. (NFCB also filed a 990 for a partial year as part of the process to change their fiscal year. The partial year info is not included.)

Scroll down to read my brief comments and a question about a puzzling item I saw in a 990. Please let me know if any of the information is dated and/or incorrect.  You can reach me directly at publicradio@hotmail.com.

COMPARASON CHART


CBI
College Broadcasters, Inc.
NFCB
National Federation of Community Broadcasters

PRNDI
Pubic Radio News Directors
PRPD
Public Radio Program Directors
MOST RECENT ANNUAL REVENUE

$80,000
$390,400
$75,000
$824,000
REVENUE FROM MEMBRTDHIP

$53,300
$262,100
$31,000
$280,300
REVENUE FROM ANNUAL CONFERENCE

$27,300
$113,200
$32,000
$426,500
HIGHEST PAID PERSON

Will Robedee
$30,000
Sally Kane
NA*
Christine Diers
$20,000
Arthur Cohen
$168,200
(retired)

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF MEMBERS

160
225
120
425
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COST

$125
1.1% of Total Revenue
$200 MIN - $4,000 MAX
$75-
$400
Depends on number of news employees
% of
Non-Federal Funding
$425 MIN - $4,200 MAX

INTERNAL DECISION MAKING

By Committee
By Committee
By
Committee
By
Committee
GROUP DISCOUNTS FOR MEMBERS

Equipment, engineering
Insurance, automation systems
NONE
NONE
MEMBER APPROVAL PROCEDURE
By Committee & Vote of Members

By Committee & Vote of Members

By Committee & Vote of Members

By Committee & Vote of Members

MEMBER RESTRICTIONS
School licensee &
Student Staff
Diversity Mandates & Governance Criteria

Anyone working in public radio journalism
Anyone working in public radio
ONLINE STORE

NO
NO
NO
NO
PLEDGE DRIVE ASSISTANCE

NO
NO
Does not apply
NO
SOUNDEXCHANGE ACCESS

YES
YES
Does not apply
NO

UNDERWRITING ASSISTANCE

NO
NO
Does not apply
NO
WEBINARS FOR MEMBERS
YES
YES
YES
YES

* Compensation information is not available for Sally Kane or her immediate predecessor Janis Lane-Ewart. Maxie Jackson, Lane-Ewart’s predecessor was paid approximately $160,000 per year.

KEN’S PERSPECTIVE

By United Way standards, these are very small organizations.  Each depends on the generous efforts of members and other volunteers.  All of the organizations benefit the public good and provide valuable service to their members.

There are some opportunities for additional revenue at the each organization. None of them have an online store and have few options for group buy discounts. 

Pledge drive support and underwriting guidance shouldn’t be left to DIY plans and Greater Public. New revenue is possible by providing fundraising assistance.

PUZZLING ITEM

I have been reviewing IRS 990 reports for over two decades.  I found an item in one of the 990s that I have never seen before and I am not sure what it means.  Can you help? 

I saw this entry on NFCB’s 990 for the 2013 fiscal year:


This appears to say [paraphrasing]: We aren’t responsible for anything that happened prior to Fiscal Year 2013.

But, I could be wrong. There must be a specific reason why this unusual explanation was added to the tax return.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

WAMU SURGES IN MAY NIELSEN AUDIO PPM REPORT



Early results from May Nielsen Audio PPM markets brought good news for WAMU: It’s Metro AQH share is up over 10% compared to April 2015.  In May WAMU had an 8.0 AQH share – up from 7.1.  WAMU’s weekly cumulative listeners also went up from 592,600 in April to 619,300 in May.

This is the best performance by WAMU in recent memory. It will be interesting to see if NPR’s Spark initiative to add new Morning Edition listening played a role in the change.

May topline results are also available for New York, LA, Boston and Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Scroll down to see the complete market charts, courtesy of StationRatings.com.

BOSTON

Recently we reported about WGBH leading WBUR in the NPR News race in April [LINK]. WBUR said their loss in listening was due to transmitter work during the April sweeps. In the May PPMs, WBUR is back on top.

In May WBUR had an AQH share of 3.7 and a weekly cume of 370,000.  During the same period WGBH had an AQH share of 2.7 and a weekly cume of 302,400.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Commercial Triple A Go 96.3 was expected to get a Baseball Bounce as the flagship station for the co-owned Minnesota Twins, but It doesn’t appear to have happened in May.

In April, when we reported about the battle between Go 96.3 (KTWN) and 89.3 The Current (KCMP) [LINK], The Twins were in last place in the very competitive American League Central Division. In May they woke up and began playing very well.  Today they are almost leading the Division and have become the hottest sports ticket in town. 

Observers thought Go 96.3 would benefit but, in the May Nielsen Audio PPM data, they remained steady with a 1.3 AQH share.

Noncom stations 89.3 The Current, KNOW, KSJN and KBEM all declined slightly.  CCM station KTIS was up a bit.

NEW YORK

All four major noncom stations (WNYC, WFUV, WQXR and WBGO) were all down slightly when comparing May to April.

LOS ANGELES

Jazz format KKJZ was up a bit.  KPCC, KUSC and KCRW all declined slightly.

 CHARTS FROM THE MARKETS DISCUSSED ABOVE
Courtesy of StationRatings.com









Wednesday, June 10, 2015

SALLY KANE: COMMUNITY RADIO’S EXCELLENT NEW LEADER



A couple of years ago the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (“NFCB”) almost closed up shop. Beset with past poor leadership, debts and burned bridges, two members of the NFCB Board told me folding NFCB was a “50/50” option.  But that didn’t happen.  Sally Kane became NFCB’s CEO.

 
SALLY KANE

ACTIONS NOT WORDS

Since Sally became NFCB’s CEO in early 2014, NFCB has shown new vitality. It seems be playing a larger role in the public media conversation.  This is a good thing because community-based radio has the potential to become a bigger factor in American society.  Sally gets it.

She is a refreshing change from the lengthy verbal screeds found in Old-School community radio like the wordsmiths at FORWARD KUSP [LINK] Sally knows from first-hand experience that mere words don’t pay the bills.

MEET SALLY FROM PAONIA

Sally Kane is living an amazing public media life. Back in the late 1970s, her mom and dad were among the founders of KVNF. (Her father is US District Court Judge John Kane.)

Sally grew up knowing that money doesn’t grow on trees. The early years of KVNF were hand-to-mouth – pledge drive food, filling in for absent volunteers and managing cash flow.

After high school, Sally moved the big city: Fort Collins.  She graduated from Colorado State and went into the restaurant and catering business. Then, changes happened, as Sally says in a quote I found online:

I closed the cafe down when I was 9 months pregnant with my second child. because it had my name in the sign I wanted to close it down rather than lease it or try to manage it off site. The experience gave me a great set of skills that I have used over many years in book keeping, cooking, delegating, and customer service.

Not long afterwards, Sally moved back to Paonia. She eventually became General Manager of KVNF.

SUCCESS IN A SMALL MARKET MEANS ATTENTION TO DETAILS

KVNF and repeater KVMT, Montrose serves much of the western third of Colorado. 



This is rugged, beautiful country where wolves outnumber humans. I’ve heard it called Poverty With a View.  It is also an extremely competitive radio market.

KVNF faces full-power repeaters of Colorado Public Radio’s News and Classical services.  KVNF succeeds by being hyper local, providing many of public radio’s best national programs and hanging out the Welcome Sign for new people and ideas.  And it is working.

While Sally was GM she led a capital campaign for a new facility and launched a local news department.  According to IRS filings, KVNF is a larger organization than NFCB. [KVNF 2012 Revenue = $450,000; NFCB 2013 = $390,000]

SALLY AT NFCB

NFCB is currently sponsoring Regional Meetings for member stations. [LINK]  Guest speakers at past Regionals have included some of best and brightest in the public media biz: Sue Schardt from AIR, John Barth from PRX. These folks are doers not talkers.

I don’t know Sally Kane but I respect her leadership. If anyone can help community radio find sustainability and renewed purpose with better book keeping, cooking, delegating, and customer service, it is SALLY FROM PAONIA.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

NEW PROGRAM REVIEW: WBUR’S “YOU’RE THE EXPERT”



Last week WBUR debuted a six-week trial run for You’re the Expert, a weekly hour that that combines science and comedy.  Chris Duffy is the host. [LINK].

CHRIS DUFFY, GUEST & PANEL

You’re the Expert is the latest program using the live-to-tape production method.  In some ways You’re the Expert reminds me of Wait, Wait combined with Science Friday.

The show is taped in front of a live audience at MIT.

In each episode Chris Duffy presents an expert who specializes in a specific field of science.  The chosen expert is questioned by three comedians appearing on a panel.  The interplay is sometimes smart and sometimes silly – a good time is had by all.

LIVE-TO-TAPE IS THE WAY TO DO LIVE RADIO

Doug Berman, the guru behind Car Talk and Wait, Wait, perfected live-to-tape for public radio. Using this method, the program is performed in front an audience as if it is being broadcast live. After the raw performance, the audio is edited to clean up mistakes, delete dead zones [I call these C-Span Moments] and make it radio clock friendly.

QUICK REVIEW (BASED ON ONE PROGRAM)

I like You’re the Expert.  Quizzes are fun. I am a life-ling learner like most NPR News listeners.  The show is nicely edited and has a contagious voyeuristic vibe that makes you wonder what will happen next. Like Wait, Wait the conversation is intelligent. The jokes come quickly and  naturally. The host – Chris Duffy – could be Peter Segal’s younger brother.  This is a good thing.

On the Needs Improvement Side, this is a one-note program based on a very, very narrow branch of science.  The episode I heard concerning Forensic Archeology started out strong but began to hit morbidity about half way through.  Enough already.

The producers need to put some additional elements into the hour.  Changes of pace will help keep the show sounding fresh

Overall, You’re the Expert is a welcome addition to public radio. The good folks at WBUR’s ilab  [LINK] asking folks like me who the podcast to take a survey.  Here are my responses:

1. Which episode did you listen to? Who was the Expert?
"Forensic Archaeology" featuring Kimberlee Sue Moran and panelists Wyatt Cenac, Jo Firestone, and Zhubin Parang

2. How did you listen to the show(s)? PODCAST

3. Was the science interesting? Answer on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being "No" and 5 being "Very interesting." 3
Description: https://www.surveymonkey.com/i/t.gif
4. Was the show funny? Answer on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being "Not funny" and 5 being "Very funny." 3

5. Did you enjoy the host, Chris Duffy? Yes

6. Was this show the right length? Too long for one topic

7. If you heard it live on 90.9 FM, was it at a good time of day and day of the week for you to listen?  Does not apply
8. Would you listen again? Yes

9. Would you recommend it to a friend? Maybe


10. This is a pilot season for the show. Do you feel it merits continued development by WBUR?  
YES!

Monday, June 8, 2015

STORY UPDATES


• KUSP

Previous Reporting:

SPEECHLESS IN SANTA CRUZ: KUSP UPDATE


I saw this editorial cartoon in the Santa Cruz Sentinel that sums up the current situation at KUSP, Santa Cruz:




The cartoonist’s message seems to be: We supported KUSP for years and now you are going to sell-out because you owe a lot of dough to NPR.

I see a different message.  Do you?  Here is my point: If you lived in Santa Cruz and could afford to financially support only one public radio station, would you choose KAZU or KUSP?

KAZU



KAZU is flying above KUSP because what KAZU is doing works.  They provide reliable NPR News programming and excellent local coverage. They are here today and will be here tomorrow.

KUSP



As the cartoonist depicts, KUSP is a Ship of Fools. The Radio Survivalists who govern the station have run it into the ground. Now, they promise more of same. Their plan is described at KUSP FORWARD [LINK] looks like a 1980 grant proposal full of aspirations, wishful thinking and NO DETAILS.  Here is a sample:

KUSP Forward is proposing the station adopt a vibrant, community‐based program model that celebrates the music, arts and local news, building on the great shows already on air and reflecting the uniqueness of our home communities. Financial stability will be achieved through scaled‐down efficiency, increased reliance on volunteers, and strong local support generated by more local connection.
Sounds nice but it is totally pataphysical, which the Urban Dictionary defines:

It is a parody of the theory and methods of modern science and is often expressed in nonsensical language. A practitioner of 'pataphysics is a 'pataphysician or a 'pataphysicist.

Would you give your money to a pataphysicist?

• THE RISE OF PRX AS A PROGRAM DISTRIBUTOR


An Anonymous Comment:


Two things: First, remember that by moving to PRX, a show is offloading a lot of the cost of maintaining a highly reliable content path from the show to the station...in the form of an enterprise-grade internet connection. Many pubradio stations are on college campuses and already have enterprise-grade internet, but not all. And those that need to provide it themselves (usually via fiber) often find it can be incredibly expensive; usually around $1000 to $2000/month. Second, shows have self-distributed on PRSS for many years. For the one- or two-hour once-a-week shows non-live/file-delivery shows, it's quite economical for all parties involved.

KEN: Thank you for this insight.  PRSS is a good choice for many program producers. I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that PRX is not reliable. According to what I’ve heard, there have been very, very few problems with the PRX distribution system.

• MARIJAUNA RADIO

E-mail comment:

Previous Reportimg:

SMOKIN’ 94.1 – WHERE HITS JUST KEEP ON (cough) COMING


My name is Maranda Harris and I'm the newest joint jock for KHIGH radio here in Colorado Springs. I just came across your Blog and wanted to say thank you for spreading such a positive message about our station. We are not promoting drug abuse but awareness and it is so great to know others support what we are doing. We are currently getting fcc transfer back to air to am but they've thrown fm as a possibility, either way we are not going anywhere!


KEN: I am glad to hear about the public service you are providing. Joint Jock – love it. My Joint Jock name is Ty Stick.

Readers have sent these Joint Jock name suggestions:

Bud Weed
Mary Jane Piper
Stony Baker

Your suggestions?