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AIR Board Meeting 27 June 2002

Minutes: 27 June, 2002


Minutes of the AIR Board Meeting
June 27, 2002
Noon ET
Meeting held via conference call on the bridge line

Present
Steve Rowland - AIR Board President
Janet Dagley Dagley - AIR Vice President
Kathy Gronau - AIR Treasurer
Dolores Brandon - Executive Director/ acting Secretary
Kerry Donahue
Maureen Jackson
Dmae Roberts
Joan Rabinowitz
Sue Schardt
Sid Selvidge
Steve Spencer

Absent
Tanya Ott
Matt Payne
Steve Robinson
Barry Rueger

Chair: Dolores Brandon

Agenda: What role should AIR play in future advocacy activities?

To talk about what AIR's role should be vis a vis what's been happening on CPAG in reaction to the Jay Kernis/NPR letter. For example: Do we want to set up a voting mechanism on AIR's website as per Jay Allison's suggestion? What role do we want to play vis a vis the fund NPR is setting up? What role do we want to play in relation to efforts to get radio producers added to the Conyers bill HR4643

Background:
Given that debate and response to the Kernis Letter was, at the time of this meeting almost behind us, the Board discussion focused on defining a role for AIR in the future.

The AIR Board was prepped for the meeting with a summary (prepared by Dolores Brandon) of the significant issues debated over the last few weeks on CPAG as well as the "revised" Letter from Jay Kernis related to rights.

Discussion Highlights:
The AIR Board did NOT debate any aspect of the Revised Kernis Letter. We were only concerned with defining AIR's role.

1. Dolores Brandon asked for a reading of AIR's Mission Statement.
Janet Dagley Dagley read it:

AIR creates opportunities for and represents the interests of audio producers across various media. AIR fosters the development of the producer community in the service of the open exchange of ideas.

The second half of the Mission Statement appears to offer the best guidance in relation to advocacy activities in particular.

Board members were asked to articulate a role for AIR in a word or phrase:

In a few simple words we basically affirm AIR's role as follows:

"To support, facilitate, represent, convene and champion public radio's independent community"

Expanding on the points made: i. it is very important that AIR create opportunities for ALL producers to speak openly and freely on issues that concern them professionally. It is essential that AIR serve its entire membership.

ii. AIR should not support or act to effect or encourage partisanship of any kind within its membership; we must do all we can to encourage the broadest expression of opinion within the independent community.

iii. It seems important when talks do occur with the various acquirers that AIR select those members who are known to and work frequently for the respective entities. NPR for example has no obligation to hold conversations on issues of rates and rights with producers that don't work for them. AIR recognizes it is in the best interests of the independent community to have high profile, veteran producers sitting at the advocacy tables. AIR also believes it is important to include emerging and new producers in these conversations, as we must do all we can to encourage the next generation of AIR leadership as well as talent.

2. NPR's Proposed Independent Fund.
Referencing the $20K Independent's Fund: we would like to see AIR have some say in the use and distribution of that money although we believe AIR should NOT seek to administer the fund; that be left up to NPR.

3. Conyers bill HR4643.
Referencing the Conyers bill HR4643, it was suggested AIR do what it could to facilitate research and support.

Janet Dagley Dagley and Dolores Brandon shared that they had met with Robin White, Tatiana Schreiber and Jonathan Tasini in the hour preceding this Board meeting.

Basically, Dagley Dagley and Brandon believe it would be positive and valuable for a group to organize to pursue getting radio producers named in the Conyers bill. While it is unlikely AIR will ever choose to actively organize producers in collective bargaining, we believe AIR should do what we can to enable producers to have the option which current anti-trust laws prohibit.

Dagley Dagley has offered to host discussions leading to action on the Conyers bill at her website BIGLISTEN. Robin White will take the lead on this. These discussions will be open to anyone who chooses to be part of this initiative. Like the CPAG four, this will be an ad hoc group.

4. Maureen Jackson was interested in using AIR's election software to poll the membership on various issues.
While everyone agreed this would be important and helpful, it was also acknowledged that polls have to be well designed, care must be taken when designing the questions. The issues being debated on CPAG were complex and multiple. AIR didn't feel it had the time to get that voting mechanism in place for the NPR Letter debate. However, we basically agree, we want to consult the membership via online polling in the future.

Conclusion: Although No Motion was advanced, there was a consensus of opinion within the AIR Board on each of the points.

Meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.

Minutes prepared by Dolores Brandon

Addendum:
A directive from the MacArthur Foundation unequivocably states "Under United States Law, MacArthur Foundation monies may not be used to pay for attempts to influence legislation."

It's a two page directive.

While AIR would NOT under any cicumstances be paying anyone to lobby/influence legislation with MacArthur monies, given that MacArthur funds are used for basic operations, pending clarification AIR must completely distance itself from the Conyers legislation effort

Brandon will call the MacArthur Foundation and clarify what action, if any, AIR is permitted to take in this regard. For example, it was suggested that AIR support research, and perhaps issue a letter supporting inclusion of the radio producers in the Conyers Bill language.