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AIR Board Meeting 26 July 2000

The Meeting came to order at 5 p.m. ET July 26th

Steve Rowland (President & Chair)
Kathy Gronau (Treasurer)
Dolores Brandon (Exec. Director & Secretary)
Steve Spencer

Flavia Potenza
Dmae Roberts
Rebecca Rumsey
Sue Schardt
Steve Robinson

- A quorum was not present but we were not voting on anything so it wasn't an issue.
- Minutes of last meeting were approved.
- Treasurer's Report had been posted prior to meeting and no questions were raised.

The Agenda:
1. AIR Board expansion

Three new members accepted nomination to three openings on the AIR Board. Given the absence of challengers, we need not hold a formal election.

Janet Dagley Dagley, Tanya Ott and Maureen Jackson are officially members of the AIR Board. We are very happy to have them aboard: they are serious self-starters, determined to bring a lot of upbeat energy to their tenures in service of the AIR community. They are also each quite savvy when it comes to new media technology.

Candidate statements appeared in the may/June of AIRSPACE.
Effective October 1 their 3-year terms will begin.

2. AIRSPACE Editorship

Sue Zizza has tendered her resignation as of January 2001, and we are in the process of selecting her successor. We are sorry to lose Sue Zizza. AIRSPACE never looked soo good: Six issues a year always on time! She will be working closely with her successor to see that the transition is smooth. Two candidates have submitted their applications.

Steve Rowland suggested we consider moving to an all-electronic version of AIRSPACE. It could save AIR a fair amount of money: the printing and mailing aspect of getting AIRSPACE out is the most troublesome, (and the aspect of the job potential editors balk at). Today more and more organizations are giving up paper versions of their newsletters. He suggests AIR create it in a pdf file, this way members can print it out if they prefer to read paper, but retain it on their hard drives.

For the moment AIRSPACE will remain as is, but we will seriously revisit Steve's idea with the new editor.

3. AIR's Annual Meeting 2000

Report on the planning activities that are taking place leading up to the staging of the AIR Annual Meeting 2000 on-line As a test project AIR is pioneering an approach that could set an important precedent for other small organizations. We are emphasizing the R&D aspect of on-line meetings and as such funding is being sought from CPB.

Rogene Eichler West, and Maureen Jackson are actively involved in the technical side of our experiment: they are researching, and choosing the software that will enable us to both stream presentations as well as hold on-line moderated discussions. Sue Schardt will be our principle moderator, although we are likely to need more than one person as we will be staging more than one discussion.

The meeting will be a half-day (four-hour) event tentatively scheduled for October 21.

The Annual Meeting Agenda will be set by AIR's Exec Committee.

4. Fundraising:

Report on developments re the MacArthur proposal that was submitted last April. The proposal asked for three-year support - it was a comprehensive proposal in which we asked them to support us in three areas - general operating support, the mentor program, and the retreat. The centerpiece of that request is the mentor program.

I have been in touch with Alyce Myatt of the MacArthur and have been asked to submit some follow up documentation. We will know if we are to be funded by October 2000.

National Science Foundation
We are preparing a proposal which will be submitted to the NSF for special science oriented expansion of the AIR Mentor Program.


Dolores Brandon will be attending the PRPD this year as AIR's official representative. Kathy Gronau graciously donated frequent flyer miles for her travel and AIR will pay the conference fees etc.
6. Site evaluation for AIR Retreat 2001

Visit to Asilomar: Dolores will take the opportunity on my way back from the PRPD to visit Asilomar the site where we are likely to hold the AIR Retreat in 2001. This visit will help us determine the suitability of this venue and allow her to make the proper selection of facilities.

We have been strongly encouraged to apply for support from the CPB. Jeff Ramirez is making himself quite available conversations are already taking place on that proposal

7. President's Report.

Steve Rowland gave a detailed report on recent meetings and conversations with PRI and NPR

A conference call meeting occurred recently with Bruce Drake, Ellen Weiss and Deborah George talking to Rowland and Brandon about how we might build better communication between independents and NPR.

Bruce Drake agreed to appoint an NPR representative to attend the AIR Annual Meeting. (AIR is planning to hold a Q&A session that meeting & we will be inviting a panel of acquirers to answer questions from the membership)

Drake expressed some concern that NPR reps would not welcome at the AIR meeting.

Ellen Weiss reported that LOST & FOUND SOUND was specifically created to bring more independent voices onto All Things Considered. Weiss suggested NPR is working on other ideas for shows that will provide more air time to independents.

There did seem to be a little misunderstanding as to who independents are and what kind of programming they want to produce.

Weiss suggested independents don't want to do shorter type features but prefer to do longer form feature work.

We reminded her there are (at least) two categories of independents: those who do long form and those more aptly referred to as freelance reporters who are quite happy and eager to do short news features.

One problem AIR faces when advocating on independents behalf is we often have to hear complaints about members of our community. Just as AIR members have their complaints regarding individual editor attitudes and poor follow up, NPR editors and executives cite their own bad experiences with individual independents. Obviously we can only try to deal with creating better avenues of communication, AIR cannot be responsible for, nor should we be expected to defend the irresponsible behavior of some of its members.

Bruce Theriault approached AIR for support with an application he was filing with CPB. Kathy Gronau and Steve Rowland are in conversation with hi= m on that. The grant is for new media content development. It is better not to say too much publicly about the details as we are still in negotiation.

Steve Spencer had a lot of good information to share regarding content, independents, networks, stations and new media.

N.B. The main thing as the world of radio moves to new media independents must talk. Steve urged that everyone really think about his Presidents Message in the June issue of AIRSPACE.

Steve is trying to figure out the best way to get a working group together to deal with the rights and rates issues that loom as independents move into new media. We simply cannot be asked to give our work away for nothing. How we negotiate fair agreements for the rights to broadcast our work is of paramount concern

Minutes prepared by Dolores Brandon
Meeting adjourned at 6:30 ET

Addendum to the Minutes (from Jay Allison)

A quick note for the historical record, since these are board minutes after all: Ellen Weiss and ATC did not "create" Lost & Found Sound. It was conceived and produced independently. ATC was chosen as the broadcast partner because of Ellen's willingness to hold a weekly slot for the pieces and to dedicate staff and resources to the project. Finally, it is a collaboration, involving many independent producers and artists working alongside NPR hosts and staff, but the project's creation, administration, primary production, editing, fundraising, publicity, etc. all come from outside NPR, which is an important distinction for AIR to make.

It's true that Dave and I mercilessly harangued Ellen Weiss and Bruce Drake (I think they're on this list and can testify) about opening up ATC to more adventurous work, new voices, different ways of telling stories. We suggested a "slot" for such work. It didn't evolve exactly as we pitched it, and we probably still disagree about aspects of style and substance in the NPR news shows, but Ellen and Bruce have been steadily receptive to the discussion and finding ways to act on it.

Also at the same time, the Kitchen Sisters and I were independently developing "Lost and Found Sound" and, in a way, it ended up filling that conceptual slot, but it's my contention there needs to be a lot more.

I know Ellen and Bruce are still keen on keeping the shows fresh and continuing to experiment with the inside/outside relationship. They realize independents help make the show sound surprising and alive.

At that time, a couple of years ago now, Ellen issued a call for independent work which was sent to the PAG list. It's hard to say what came of that and whether the system was set up properly within NPR and whether independents responded with good material. Perhaps NPR could answer that. My personal interest is in not just independent work, but vital work from anywhere--independents, NPR producers, artists, college stations, community radio, the internet, off the streets--and in finding ways to help it get to public radio and make public radio better.