KZYX Board Goes To Point Arena

by Sheila Dawn-Tracy, September 21, 2016

In response to requests from South Coast members, the KZYX Board met for the first time in its twenty-six years of existence in the town of Point Arena. Directors Clay Eubank and Jenness Hartley were absent due to work responsibilities.

Public attendance numbered fourteen of which half were local residents, including the presence of the Mayor, Jim Koogle and the City Manager, Richard Shoemaker.

After informing those present of the recent Board decision to use Roberta's Rules of Order to run its meetings, Board President, Meg Courtney announced the Board decision to hire former General Manager, Diane Hering, to act as Interim General Manager until a permanent replacement was found.

Courtney read Hering's GM report which explained that due to her recent recovery from serious medical challenges, she is unable to drive long distances or work into the evening.

Hering, who was hired in early August, has held meetings with each staff member to get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the station.

Staffing Changes

Former Operations Manager, Jerry Fraley resigned in late August. Hering's offer of the position of Interim Operation Manager to Rich Culbertson for a three month period was accepted, effective August 26th.

Bookkeeper Dan McDonnell rescinded his resignation, staying on to bring much appreciated continuity to the station's finances.

Valerie Kim has replaced Hering as Membership Coordinator, a position she held during Hering's absence. She has been trained in the use of the Allegiance software and is updating membership information due to the issuance of security improved 'chip' credit cards.

Alice Woelfle-Erskin will remain as Program Director. Under Dechter's leadership, the position was split and budgeted into two part time positions as Woelfle-Erskin can not work full time and someone was needed to cover the morning operations.

Freelance reporter, Jason Morash, was added to the News Dep't. to keep the station updated on fire emergencies in Lake County.

Website

The ability to manage the station website has deteriorated. Conversion to a new web platform provided through NPR is expected in October. Hering is considering hiring help to keep the website current until then should budget revisions provide sufficient funds.

Facilities

The two rooms at the newly rented Ukiah studio are currently empty as the production equipment was provided by Dechter. As she and her husband have decided to leave the area, new equipment must be purchased. To be functional, news staff will require a small mixing board, computer equipment and a set of microphones. Culbertson has been tasked to help get the news production studio up and running.

Finances

The annual audit required by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to receive the Community Services Grant has been done with the help of accountant, Frank Goeggler and independent auditor, Jamie Walling. 70% of the grant money is expected in November.

The fall pledge drive is scheduled for October 15th through the 23rd.

Courtney stated that staff member, David Steffan will create a Gig Guide for anyone who wants to produce a fundraising event. Committee Reports

Personnel

Director Jane Futcher reported that at the end of the six month GM evaluation, it was mutually agreed by both Dechter and the Board that she leave her position as GM. Nothing further could be divulged due to restrictions requiring personnel confidentiality.

Treasurer's Report

Director Stuart Campbell reported on the actual revenues and expenses for FY 15-16.

Current station assets: $97.9k-- Liabilities: $120.3k

Account's payable-$47.3k of which $35.3k is owed to NPR for assorted fees and services.

Line of credit payable: $45.4k

Expected cash receivables-(pledge donation and underwriting revenue)-- $69.3k

Campbell also stated that when the website is upgraded, MCPB's 990 tax forms will be posted although that has not been a general past practice. Requests for copies of forms for FY 2014 and FY 2015 can be obtained by email, BOD@kzyx.org.

Requests for information on upcoming fundraising events can also be obtained though that site.

CAB (Community Advisory Board) Report

The CAB is currently in the process of formalizing communications between the Board and itself. Public input to the CAB can be received through the website: cab@kzyx.org. Public meetings with the CAB have yet to be scheduled. Public Comment

Due to a light agenda, the Board responded to questions asked during public comment. Additionally, for the first time, the Board allowed members to respond to their answers in what approximated a discussion format.

King Collins asked if the Board had considered any other methods of organization. While he was happy at the effort to create a Ukiah studio, he wondered why the public was excluded from any discussion leading to the decision. He also asked if the Board was developing a Strategic Plan for a long term station vision.

Peter Reimuller was concerned about a statement made by short term Program Director, Raoul Van Haul that indicated a problem with station infighting. He thought the Board should be more transparent about station dynamics. He would also like to see more connection and collaboration with other stations in regard to program scheduling.

Yasmin Solomon wanted to know why the Simple Living membership rate of $25 was not announced during pledge drives or given as an option on donation requests. She thought promotion of an affordable membership would attract more members. She also stated that one hour a week for listeners to communicate with each other was not enough. She did not want to use that hour on Thursday evenings for CAB or Board interaction, believing that a separate program slot should be designated for each of those purposes. She pointed out that in the past both Board access programs and General Manager Reports had been given regular air time.

CAB member, Tom Melcher felt that an interactive on air CAB program would be an efficient way to reach all residents of the County without incurring transportation expenses involved in scheduling public meetings.

I asked why I had not received a response to my written request for the minutes of several committee meetings including the Executive Committee as these meetings are intended to be open meetings. I also wanted to know why Lorraine Dechter announced the return of Safe Harbor permitting adult material on late night shows when the Board had previously stated that management did not have the authority to make policy changes. At a prior meeting, the Board President had also stated that policy changes were the purview of the Bylaws and Policy Committee. However, in the two years since the committee system was reinstated, that committee has only recently had its members appointed and has never met.

I gave a copy of my recent article regarding transparency to Director Middlebrook as he had expressed both the need for transparency and a desire to heal the rift between the Board and former station volunteers who desired inclusion. I proposed that the Board create a Truth and Reconciliation Committee where former volunteers who had been excluded from all nine of the other committees would be charged with working out a grievance procedure that was fair and unbiased in management's favor.

Questions were raised about strengthening the signal to provide better reception to the South Coast. Steffan responded that repeater frequencies required an FCC license and were difficult to obtain though there was a possibility of purchasing an already existent license.

Board Responses

Organization Alternatives? The FCC requires four full-time positions to qualify for grant funding. Courtney did not see how the station could afford to pay its programmers.

Both Directors Azzaro and Middlebrook agreed that Simple Living memberships should be announced and promoted more extensively.

Courtney maintained that Safe Harbor was a management decision in direct contradiction to what she had previously stated.

On transparency, Middlebrook stated that although Board members had confidentiality restrictions, individuals were free to speak to the public about their experience as former employees.

The next Board meeting will be on October 3rd in Ukiah. Location TBA.

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