Board Meeting Minutes – 5/7/20

Date and Time: Present:

Present by Proxy: Location:

Thursday, 5-7-20 @ 5:35pm
John Daniell, Lisa Loomis, Liz Levey, Ilse Sigmund, Rob Williams, Ned Farquhar, Brian Shupe, Keith Berkelhamer, Tony Italiano, Roger Nishi Ian Sweet (Liz), Dan Eckstein, (Liz), (Lisa)
Meeting was held over Skype

Welcome/Additions, changes to Agenda

  • Lisa opened the meeting @ 5:35pm
  • No changes to agenda.
  • Rob is expected later and Brian said he would have to leave by 6:30pm.

Public Forum
- No public present

Approval of minutes of 2-20-20 board meeting - John asked that his name be fixed

  • Ned made motion to accept the minutes as amended, John seconded. Motion passed unanimously with one abstention.

Open Board Seat Election
- Liz Levey’s seat is up. She expressed willingness to serve for another term of 3 years.

COVID-19 small business loan update: Lisa

  • Lisa gave an update on the PPP small business loan of $15,000 through Northfield Savings Bank. This loan can be used for payroll, rent, and utilities and is 100% forgivable if used for these items.

  • Lisa also advised there was a Facebook grant and a Google grant program – though these are out of money now, we should keep our eyes open for similar opportunities

  • PPP funds can be used for contractors, so our shooters can be paid from these funds. Fayston is talking about going to in-person live meetings. Other town boards are still meeting remotely.

  • Director’s 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 and Instagram followers.

  • The covered bridge cam is (still) the big driver of views.

  • Our FB likes are up (and cost per like has gone down to $0.12).

  • Referrals to our website from Facebook mobile are way up.

  • Twitter has been quiet, but Lisa will return to managing this feed.

  • Keith provided update on revenue streams
    Keith is projecting a $536 reduction in anticipated revenue streams for 2020.

  • Sponsorships: $4,232.50 in total for 2019. Projection for 2020 of $3,585 has been increased $71.50 to reflect net changes in sponsorships as a result of COVID-19.

    • Net gain $71.50

  • Live Streaming: $2,255 in total for 2019. Projection for 2020 was $4,015, and now is $3,307.50. The last 3 episodes of Mad River Valley Live were cancelled due to pandemic.

    • Net loss $-707.50

  • Production Services: $2,306 in total for 2019. Projection for 2020 is now $3,100, but Keith worried MRV Reality shows will not be produced in 2020. Keith has ideas (interview a local hero) which he suggested to Eric – to keep try to keep them producing.
    • Net gain $100.00
  • Discussion ensued regarding July 4th parade. What form might it take? How could we support the effort? Perhaps a parade with no spectators, and we can film and share live? We could leverage it into a fundraiser for community fund?
    • Warren Select Board is meeting soon and will decide whether parade is happening and in what form. Keith will follow.

    • Tony has an archive of past parades. He could air then for the day, or even the 24 hours leading up to live event.

    • Discussion ensued regarding Harwood graduation. Similar to 4th of July parade. We want to support it, but Vermont and HUHS will need to decide form it will take.

We will await VT guidelines and Keith will reach out to HUHS.

Keith provided update on the HD payback plan.

Any fallout form COVID has not yet hit. We will discuss in more detail at future meeting when numbers are clearer. Right now it looks fine.

Program/Technical Update: Tony

Studio report:
Tony reported that he has been plenty busy, even if we do not have the live shoots.

  • All the meetings have gone to Zoom except Fayston. He has shared these web meetings on live TV and uploaded to website. He has been helping (volunteer) with local church’s efforts to stream their Zoom services.

  • Tony has also been capturing government live stream via ORCA and is sharing that.

  • Some shows are continuing in a ZOOM format – others are on hold – others are being replayed (Yoga for You)

  • He has been continuing to archive video with extra time, including parades, all of 2019 and 2018, starting on 2017, and 2016 is the last year to archive. 2013-2015 are available on Vimeo.

  • Airing Fairbanks Museum MWF which has educational content for kids at home. Trying to keep content fresh.

  • Added a ticker feature to the bottom to promote programming.

  • Uploaded OLD DVDs going way back and can put those on archive eventually.

  • Tony can run all this stuff remotely, but he still comes in to the studio since he lives nearby and workspace is better.

  • We are lucky. Due to our small size the shutdown has not been too disruptive – we can adapt. When stay at home orders lift, we can strategize about how to safely shoot in the studio again. Start gradually and carefully.

    (6:15pm Rob Williams joined the meeting)

    Waitsfield Cable Update: Roger
    Roger gave an update regarding the Cable grant.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has people staying at home, and more of them are cutting cable.

  • Waitsfield Cable is watching this closely, but Roger warned we could see a reduction in our grant by $5500 or more.

    VAN and Legislative update: Keith

  • As a result of the summer PEG Access Study committee efforts, there was a draft piece of legislation to pay someone to do a study to assess alternative forms of funding for PEG stations.

  • Right now the legislature is only passing bills related to COVID-19. Study will probably not be funded this year.

  • There is a separate bill the Senate is planning to pass to pay $$ to essential workers. One category is non-profit. This money will be paid to people who have to go to work. The .case might be able to be made for PEG workers.

  • $$ goes directly to worker in their paycheck. $1,000 per month for two months.

  • VAN dues are going up from 0.33% of cable grant to 0.70%. We anticipated this possibility and have budgeted enough.

  • We already gave $500 to the Comcast legal fund, and do not plan to give more.

  • VAN looking into HD, and even a statewide channel in Jan 2021. The money to fund this is coming from the Comcast settlement. Tony expressed some skepticism on what appeared to be consolidation efforts by the state.

    (6:40pm Brian excused himself from the meeting)

    Financial update and Fundraisers: Keith

  • Keith reviewed the balance sheet and current P&L year-to-date.

    o New revenue stream? We are considering renting 1⁄2 of the office to Friends of the Mad River. They could have the front part of the studio. Under consideration for when lock down orders are lifted.

  • Everything is up in the air with regards to planned fundraising events (Flatbread, Pop- ups, November Event, Farmer’s Markets)

  • We are holding off on raffle as well.

  • We are looking into virtual music events.

  • Charitable deductions will be tax credits in 2020 which could help us in our efforts


- Ned made motion to adjourn. Rob seconded. Motion passed unanimously Meeting was adjourned at 7:10pm