Board Meeting Minutes – 2/20/20

Date and Time: Thursday, 2-20-20 @ 5:35pm

Present: Dan Eckstein, Lisa Loomis, Liz Levey, Rob Williams, Ned Farquhar, Keith Berkelhamer, Tony Italiano

Present by Proxy: Ian Sweet (Liz), Ilse Sigmund (Liz), John Daniell (Lisa), Brian Shupe (Dan)

Location: Mad River Valley Television offices, Waitsfield, VT

Welcome/Additions, changes to Agenda

  • Lisa opened the meeting @ 5:35pm
    • no changes to agenda

Public Forum

  • No public present

Approval of minutes of 9-12-19 board meeting

  • Rob made motion to accept the minutes as written, Dan seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Directors Report: Keith

See attached Director’s Report for all the details

Keith provided updates on social media and website data.

  • The trends highlighted in previous Director’s report continue, with growing YouTube views, subscribers, Facebook followers, etc.
  • Keith is pleased with the FB like campaign. For about $2 a day FB puts our “ad” in front of FB users who do not already like us, and also meet the criteria set by Keith (age, location, etc.).  Our cost per like is very low –  $.17 for 2019. Once they like us, our posts will feed to them – and this in turn sends more traffic to website and YouTube.
  • Comparing 2019 to 2018, website users are up 61%, video views are up 82%!
  • School and town meetings are still most viewed programs off our website
  • We can also see click throughs to sponsors – which helps sell those spots.

Keith provided update on revenue streams

  • Sponsorships:  $4,232.50 in total for 2019. Projection for 2020 is $3,585.  While a few might drop off, we do have 2 new sponsors, and Keith is optimistic about 2020 and expects totals to be higher than his current projection.
  • Live streaming: $2,255 in total for 2019. Projection for 2020 is $4,015.  The Mad River Valley Live show is boosting 2020.  Keith hopes we can keep it going in 2021
  • Production services: $2,306 in total for 2019. Projection for 2020 is $3,000.  Given Mad River Reality Show, and other TBD shots, Keith confidant we will make this.

Keith provided update on the HD payback plan.

  • We were supposed to pay ourselves back $9k in 2019 but most of our $13k surplus for the year was used to pay an unanticipated $12k Telvue bill. We could get back on track if we hit our projected $13k surplus for 2020 and the Lawson’s tip grant $$ comes thru

Board unanimously thanked Keith for his report, and for the success of the initiatives assumed under his direction.

Program/Technical Update: Tony

Tony reported that the studio is more and more in demand.  While he is able to keep up with it now, he is at the limit of what he can do in the hours he has.

  • In 2019 there were 38 community shoots, 61 studio shoots, and 27 people used the Community Bulletin Board. All up from 2018.  Tony brought out two stacks of papers, where each paper reflected a shoot, and 2019 stack appeared to be about 35% more than the 2018 stack.
  • Brief discussion of a grant we are requesting to help us cover costs of shooting the Tiny House Festival in 2020. We should know by April 1st.
  • More live to cable tv shoots are happening too. Tony reported that it can be more stressful, but it’s fun too.
    • Tony could use a person with a cable subscription to help him confirm quality during live shoots.
    • Hard to know when meetings will wrap, and Tony has to scramble to pop in the right item.
    • We now have the ability to run a ticker within a program on TV to notify viewers about such things as upcoming programs.
    • It was suggested that Tony/Keith remember to use social media to promote live Cable TV programs, perhaps noting replays will be available on

Rob shared that people who come to the studio as guests on his show regularly note how welcome they feel – and well taken care of.  All present agreed and thanked Tony and Keith.

Update on Public Access TV Concerns - Keith

 Update on rule changes by FCC

  • Stay was filed and now in appeal
  • Cable companies seem top be holding on doing anything drastic until this ruling is clear.

Long-term threat of reduction in cable grant.

  • Some discussion about how forward we should be online and, in our marketing/fundraising efforts, in describing how dire our future funding may be. In 2019 we saw a reduction in our cable grant versus 2018.
  • The trend has been down, for the most part, over the last few years. Will it continue? Evidence suggests it will but the question is how fast.
  • What other funding might exist if cable grant dries up? How might the state move to offset funding (internet tax?) should the cable companies fizzle away – or will the cable companies use the FCC rule change to effectively reduce how much they send.
  • With all these unknowns – it was advised we should be most careful with what we put online and in newsletters, but we should discuss on our talk shows, or in press release and begin sharing the lay of the community TV land.
  • Maybe start with a conversation with Roger on Lisa’s show?

Rob encouraged the board to be strategic about where our future income will come from.  We should be open to many models which were unappealing in the past, such as, subscription-based content, paywalls, etc.

Fundraising Update: Keith, Tony, Liz

Big raffle:

  • Whether an online pledge or a donation bucket at a pop-up event, all fundraising will be geared and steered through the raffle of a large nice TV. Tickets will be $10 each, and bundle prices will be offered.
  • Rob has an extra TV we can put in the MRVTV window.

New online campaign

  • Keith requested permission to proceed with Fundraising Group with an online fund drive.
    • Keith proposes a pop-up or “overlay” which will appear whenever someone comes to our website. It will call person to join the pledge drive, and if they donate, they will automatically enter raffle to possibly win a huge TV!
    • Pop-up will have button to allow them to click over to pledge page where we can offer PayPal option.
  • Discussion about how “landing page” on website should be worded. Committee will edit draft language and share before going live.

Series of events

  • Pop-up events – total of two, but will apply for dates in June, July and August, to allow for a rain date. Phineas Gage and Ms. Madigan are booked for the 2 shows. No charge – cash bar, possible food sales. Raffle sales will drive profit here
  • Lawsons tip fund – TBD – no indication yet on timing.
  • Benefit Bake in MAY
  • Farmer’s Market table will happen once.
  • Annual MRVTV Community Party – Friday before Thanksgiving(?). We are looking to have at Collaborative Brewing with live music (but a light sound) Not a dance party, more of a get together. We can start earlier, and our crowd mostly coming for early (not late) night

For all of the planned events above, Tony and Keith requested at least 2 board members sign up to help and represent.

  • Keith will develop sign up when specific dates are clarified.

20th Anniversary Party

  • Turns out we are already 21 years old. Ooops!
  • Instead of rushing to celebrate, Tony would rather wait for our 25th.
  • He would really like to make a movie – and dive into the archives and share clips and whole shows of note – to help us celebrate. That will take time, but be worth it.


  • Rob made motion to adjourn. Dan seconded. Motion passed unanimously

Meeting was adjourned at 6:59pm