Minutes of the MRV TV Board Meeting 4.8.2014, MRVTV studio, Waitsfield VT
Present: members Dan Eckstein, Michael Hock, Lisa Italiano, Lisa Loomis, Liz Levey, Brian Shupe, staff Alex Maclay and Tony Italiano, Rob Chapman from ORCA, and videographer Samantha Burns. John Daniell, Adele Nicols and Rob Williams had sent proxies.
1. Welcomes and any additions to the agenda: Lisa opened the meeting at 5:15pm and Alex introduced Rob Chapman who gave us on overview of his background and current position as Executive director of ORCA Media in Montpelier. We heard about his work taking on covering the Vermont statehouse, board development, cable company contracts, and other PEG access issues. The Board was very grateful forRob’s time and sharing of his accumulated wisdom.
2. Approval of 12-12-13 minutes: The minutes of 12-12-13 were approved with a clarifying addition of “such as HD technology” in the technology update sectionregarding purchasing newer technology.
3. Election of board members- The slate proposed was moved with the exception of Adele Nicols, who has moved from our area. She will be replaced by a local resident, potentially from Moretown, (yet to appointed.) Rob Williams and Liz Levey were each re-elected to another 3-year term.
4. Station Programming Update:
We have been scheduling a lot of Vermont Media Exchange programming. More than 50% of our programming is from outside sources. Since the start of 2014 we have aired 77 VMX shows, 71 MRVTV shows, and 16 shows that have come to us from elsewhere.We don’t have the level of community-produced material that we had previously, even last year. The VMX material is good. Examples of programming are Hildene, the War of 1812, and Statehouse coverage of bills on GMO labeling. The interface costs money, and after two years, according to Rob, we are going to have to figure out how to afford it. Things that stations are downloading are of general interest, and well produced. LisaL. mentions that we don’t want the percentage of material produced by MRVTV to fall below the 50% mark. Alex reminded us that on Channel 45, 90%+ is local content, with all the town meetings and local select and school boards accounting for a lot of time.Tony agrees that it is MRVTV’s job to continue to encourage and produce local content. When we meet on an annual or quarterly basis, Liz suggests, this is a metric we can have to review, as Alex reports all this on an annual basis in our AMO report for the Public Service Board. There just aren’t as many local happenings at this time in comparison with other times. And it basically comes down to “What’s out there, and who’s going to shoot it?” This is a concern that we want to keep addressing as we move forward.
Note- Alex added this update from her programming report: Video camp is scheduled July 21-25 and is for kids ages 9-13, with the VCF Small & Inspiring grant application focusing on summer interns from high school or older to do more intensive videos for the river and path- A grant decision not until mid May will require us to explore potential kids before that. Also, we are always on the lookout for new videographers to cover our town meetings and school sports.
5. Financial Update:
Bank News: Alex had researched our current banks and holdings and stated that while we used to get a better interest rate from institutions that are not “bricks and mortar”banks like Everbank, we are not currently getting that much as we do not have a lot there. We should take the Everbank money out when the Northfield CD matures and put that and more money into the Northfield Bank. They have similar rates to whatAlex explored online. If we had to take it out, we would pay a penalty, but it isn’tmuch. The board agrees that we should move the money into a Vermont bank. And we will switch our checking account and our money market account into Northfield Bank also, with the ultimate goal of having all our money in Northfield Savings bank. We will also invest more of it in CDs with staggered length of terms.
YTD: Alex noted we should be at about 25% to be on track for the first quarter. Cable receipts are good. Contract labor is right on in terms of the amount budgeted. Insurance is high because it is lumped and spread. In our high heating line item, our current deal may not be great based on the amount of fuel we use. We will investigate a prepay arrangement or join a fuel buyer’s club. It has been a cold winter. Everything else is pretty much on target for the year. The board agreed that Rob Chapman’s ideasabout capitalizing rent might be something to look into.
6. Waitsfield Cable Contract:
Alex will be talking with Greg Epler-Wood at VAN about some of the contract language and issues that need to be updated. MRV TV gets 15 minutes gratis, and the board approved a bit more. The last contract with WCVT expired in 2012. We have extended it by mutual written agreement each year since. The board wants to have a pre-meeting to talk about what we want in the contract, and then send a formal letter to Roger at Waitsfield Cable. Our goal is to have the new contract in place at the end of the year.
7. Technology Update:
The master control rewire: Bill M. to come and assist Tony in May after vacation. We experienced some website issues. Tony worked with Joanne to clean up the website and also had to purchase new virus software. Joanne Knight our webmaster, wanted to move our website to be served through her. However, we resolved the issues with the communication between our website and GMAVT, and we will see how things progress.
Collaborations continue/or have begun with:
Hannah’s House, WWSU, Rotary, Yestermorrow, Mad River Glen
Question: We have to consider what we learned from Rob today. If we move to the TelVue Cloudcast, how will that affect our collaboration with organizations? Also what about archives if the content isn’t searchable?
Tony will work with Chris Welsh to build a console for the rewired system. Studio usage has been slow. Sal has come back. Board discussed taking on doing shows.
Other business: Next Meeting: Thursday, June 19th, 2014. All board members to confirm on their calendars. Lisa adjourned the meeting at 7:15pm.