Board Meeting Minutes – 1/24/19

Date and Time: Present:

Present by Proxy: Location:

Thursday, 1-24-19 @ 5:40pm
Keith Berkelhamer, Dan Eckstein, Ilse Sigmund Tony Italiano, Lisa Loomis, Liz Levey, Roger Nishi
, Ian Sweet, Rob Williams, John Daniels
Mad River Valley Television offices, Waitsfield VT

Welcome/Additions, changes to Agenda

  • Lisa opened the meeting @ 5:40pm

  • No changes to agenda

Public Forum - No public present

Approval of minutes of 9-13-18 board meeting

  • Some edits were suggested and made.

  • Dan made motion to accept the minutes as edited. Ilse seconded. Motion passed unanimously

FCC Rule Change - Kevin Christopher, VAN President

  • Kevin Christopher of VAN (Vermont Access Network) joined the meeting by speaker-phone. Kevin is also the E.D. for the Lake Champlain Access TV station.
  • Kevin reported to the Board on issues around current proposed FCC rules changes that would basically allow cable companies to greatly reduce grants to PEG TV stations.

  • Comment period ended 12-14-18. Opposition has been substantial with Vermont providing lots of letters and comments to the FCC commissioners. Sen. Sanders and Sen Leahey signed onto Sen Markey’s Letter condemning the changes. Peter Welch’s office is also signing onto letter from the house.

  • Most believe these rules will eventually pass. Some cable companies are cutting costs or trying to build revenue in advance of this massive change.

  • The Govt. shutdown has slowed this process, but eventually FCC Commissioners (3 Democrats, 3 Republicans) will move forward.

  • Expect the rules changes and then litigation (which will be paid for by CAPA) Unlikely Judge will stay the rule during litigation.

  • Board was encouraged to keep reaching out to legislators (VT and National).

Directors Report: Keith

  • See attached

  • Keith provided updates on social media and website data

  • YouTube: 2018 closed with 2862 subscribers. Then MLK storm came and we just jumped to about 3300 subscribers.
  • Web cam drives these numbers. Sponsors have reported contacts made as a result of their sponsorship of webcam. ABC News (national) asked if they could potentially add our cam to their ABC live feed on their digital platform.

  • Mad River Glen Show is going well and their 1st episode has risen to 4th most popular video during 2018 on our YouTube channel

  • #1 ranked YouTube channel among Public Access TV Centers in VT

  • Majority of views are from out of state and 42% are outside USA!

  • Facebook: Like campaign going well. Spending $2 per day to boost. Keith found much better response to super short video, vs still picture. This has resulted in more likes at about $0.14 per like. Keith projects roughly 7400 likes by the end of 2019.
  • Website: 69 page views a day. School Brd meetings are the most popular.
  • Instagram, Twitter, Newsletter reviewed. Slight drop off in subscribers to newsletter. Are people just deleting more emails these days? (e-mail fatigue). Also - With only 130 subscribers we are not reaching very many of the 2200 cable customers out there.
  • Dan suggested we do more to get that email list and reach out. - Keith updates: misc. revenue streams
  • Sponsorships: Total for 2018 almost $2000. Next year budgeted for about the same. Discussed rates and Keith warned against increases as he is having trouble selling Silver Digital packages.
  • Live Streaming: Total for live streaming services in 2018= $927.50. Projected for 2019>$1,500, counting only MRG show.
  • Production Services: Total for 2018= $ 875. Projected $500 in 2019 budget
  • Commission for Keith? Lisa reminded Board that we need to discuss and make plan for a sales commission – or other compensation increases for Keith as he grows these new income streams. *to be discussed further in a future meeting
  • Keith reviewed HD payback Plan (see report for details).
  • Project came in $8300 under budget.
  • Paid for by pulling from reserves ($30,798.55), capital ($7,690), fundraising ($13,211.45).
  • We will pay ourselves back over the next 4 years, and rebuild our reserves.

Program/Technical Update: Tony

  • This time of year is dominated by housekeeping, getting 2018 files on a Hard Drive, etc.

  • In 2018 we...

  • Aired 368 local shows and 252 VMX shows o Local group contributed content 11 times
    o We had 60 studio shoots.
    o Keith produced 30 shorts.
  • Our in-house programs keep ticking along, with Yoga for You, Plan V-TV, Today Lights Tomorrow, Armchair Travelogue leading content
  • New show ideas are out there. Board discussed interest in hosting our local Legislators for a morning coffee and call-in show.

Waitsfield Cable Update: Roger

  • Roger repeated his concerns around fewer cable subscriptions – something not unique to Waitsfield Cable.

  • There are currently approximately 2,200 Waitsfield Cable subscribers.

2018 Budget Review and Proposed 2019 Budget - Keith

  • Please see attached financials and notes.

  • Liz made motion to accept the Financial Report as written and approve the 2019 Budget as proposed. Dan seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Review Taste Place Videos: Keith

  • Taste Place has produced some great videos featuring local producers. Very high quality.
  • We have been asked to air them, but worry they are too promotional/marketing focused, making them inappropriate for Public Access TV.
  • It is possible the videos could be re-edited to suit our guidelines, or if they want to keep them as is they could be great 30 second (paid) commercials on Waitsfield Cable
  • Board asked to review all the Taste Place videos. Keith will fwd link to files for Jon Jamieson sponsorship ads, one not appropriate to air and another we edited to meet our sponsorship guidelines.

  • Next meeting: discussion of what constitutes a “call-to-action” and possible refinement of policy

Other Business

  • Liz asked for help with next year’s fundraising event. Keith will organize a meeting for those who want to brainstorm and help out.

  • We have an empty Board seat and folks were asked to consider possible candidates. Another Moretown resident would be nice.

  • We are hosting Chamber Mixer on June 18th


  • Liz made motion to adjourn. Ilse seconded. Motion passed unanimously Meeting was adjourned at 7:42pm