Board Materials

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Decision-Making Options

 

Throughout KBOO's history, Board and staff have engaged in various styles of meeting etiquette and decision-making, including Robert's Rules of Order and consensus. Two pages follow that describe Roberts Rules of Order, along with a link to a KBOO-specific training document on consensus. More information available at robertsrules.org.

 

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Bob's Rules of Order

The Abbreviated RoBert’s Rules of Order

  1. A motion must be made and seconded by a Board Member before discussion can begin on any proposal for action.
  2. A main motion may be amended, tabled or either adopted, rejected or referred back to a committee for study or action.
    1. An amendment to the motion can be debated, amended itself, and finally adopted or rejected by a majority vote. If it is adopted, it becomes part of the main motion. If it is rejected, the debate returns to the main motion.
    2. A motion to table requires a majority vote. If a main motion is tabled, it cannot be brought up again at that meeting.
    3. The main motion (as amended) can be adopted or rejected by a majority vote. Once the main motion has been voted upon, there can be no further discussion of it at that meeting.
    4. A motion may be referred to a committee for further review if a majority of Board Members determines that further research is required on that issue.
  3. Debate on a motion (or motion as amended) shall end and the meeting shall proceed to a vote when any of the following occurs:
    1. The meeting facilitator has determined that the allocated time for the issue has expired.
    2. The meeting facilitator believes that sufficient debate has taken place on the motion and asks the Board Members if they are ready to vote. If there is no objection, then voting on the motion shall begin. If a Board Member objects to ending the debate, an immediate vote is taken on ending the debate. If the majority vote wishes to end debate, then the meeting proceeds to voting on the motion. If less than a majority vote, then discussion continues until the allocated time expires.
    3. A voting member “calls the question.” A vote is then taken on ending the debate. If a majority vote wishes to end debate, then the meeting proceeds to the voting phase of the process. If less than a majority vote, then discussion continues until the allocated time expires.
  4. A motion and second by Board Members to adjourn a meeting can be made at any time. There is an immediate vote, with no debate allowed. If a majority vote wishes to adjourn, then the meeting is adjourned. If less than a majority vote wishes to adjourn, then the meeting continues.
  5. The facilitator will grant non-Board attendees a reasonable period of time to speak. Non-Board attendees agree to address the meeting in a courteous and professional manner. Non-Board attendees that speak out of turn may be found “out of order” by the facilitator and removed from the meeting.
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Robert's Rules of Order Motions Chart

Based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th Edition)

Part 1, Main Motions. These motions are listed in order of precedence. A motion can be introduced if it is higher on the chart than the pending motion. § indicates the section from Robert's Rules.
§
PURPOSE:
YOU SAY:
INTERRUPT
?
2ND
?
DEBATE?
AMEND?
VOTE?
§21
Close meeting
I move to adjourn
No
Yes
No
No
Majority
§20
Take break
I move to recess for ...
No
Yes
No
Yes
Majority
§19
Register complaint
I rise to a question of privilege
Yes
No
No
No
None
§18
Make follow agenda
I call for the orders of the day
Yes
No
No
No
None
§17
Lay aside temporarily
I move to lay the question on the table
No
Yes
No
No
Majority
§16
Close debate
I move the previous question
No
Yes
No
No
2/3
§15
Limit or extend debate
I move that debate be limited to ...
No
Yes
No
Yes
2/3
§14
Postpone to a certain time
I move to postpone the motion to ...
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Majority
§13
Refer to committee
I move to refer the motion to ...
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Majority
§12
Modify wording of motion
I move to amend the motion by ...
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Majority

 

§11
Kill main motion
I move that the motion be postponed indefinitely
No
Yes
Yes
No
Majority
§10
Bring business before assembly (a main motion)
I move that [or "to"] ...
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Majority
 
Part 2, Incidental Motions. No order of precedence. These motions arise incidentally and are decided immediately.
§
PURPOSE:
YOU SAY:
INTERRUPT?
2ND?
DEBATE?
AMEND?
VOTE?
§23
Enforce rules
Point of Order
Yes
No
No
No
None
§24
Submit matter to assembly
I appeal from the decision of the chair
Yes
Yes
Varies
No
Majority
§25
Suspend rules
I move to suspend the rules
No
Yes
No
No
2/3
§26
Avoid main motion altogether
I object to the consideration of the question
Yes
No
No
No
2/3
§27
Divide motion
I move to divide the question
No
Yes
No
Yes
Majority
§29
Demand a rising vote
I move for a rising vote
Yes
No
No
No
None
§33
Parliamentary law question
Parliamentary inquiry
Yes
No
No
No
None
§33
Request for information
Point of information
Yes
No
No
No
None
 
Part 3, Motions That Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly.
No order of precedence. Introduce only when nothing else is pending.
§
PURPOSE:
YOU SAY:
INTERRUPT?
2ND?
DEBATE?
AMEND?
VOTE?
§34
Take matter from table
I move to take from the table ...
No
Yes
No
No
Majority
§35
Cancel previous action
I move to rescind ...
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
2/3 or Majority with notice
§37
Reconsider motion
I move to reconsider ...
No
Yes
Varies
No
Majority
 
For Fair and Orderly Meetings & Conventions

Provides common rules and procedures for deliberation and debate in order to place the whole membership on the same footing and speaking the same language. The conduct of ALL business is controlled by the general will of the whole membership - the right of the deliberate majority to decide. Complementary is the right of at least a strong minority to require the majority to be deliberate - to act according to its considered judgment AFTER a full and fair "working through" of the issues involved. Robert's Rules provides for constructive and democratic meetings, to help, not hinder, the business of the assembly. Under no circumstances should "undue strictness" be allowed to intimidate members or limit full participation.

The fundamental right of deliberative assemblies require all questions to be thoroughly discussed before taking action!

The assembly rules - they have the final say on everything!
Silence means consent!
Obtain the floor (the right to speak) by being the first to stand when the person speaking has finished; state Mr./Madam Chairman. Raising your hand means nothing, and standing while another has the floor is out of order! Must be recognized by the Chair before speaking!
Debate can not begin until the Chair has stated the motion or resolution and asked "are you ready for the question?" If no one rises, the chair calls for the vote!
Before the motion is stated by the Chair (the question) members may suggest modification of the motion; the mover can modify as he pleases, or even withdraw the motion without consent of the seconder; if mover modifies, the seconder can withdraw the second.
The "immediately pending question" is the last question stated by the Chair! Motion/Resolution - Amendment - Motion to Postpone
The member moving the "immediately pending question" is entitled to preference to the floor!
No member can speak twice to the same issue until everyone else wishing to speak has spoken to it once!
All remarks must be directed to the Chair. Remarks must be courteous in language and deportment - avoid all personalities, never allude to others by name or to motives!
The agenda and all committee reports are merely recommendations! When presented to the assembly and the question is stated, debate begins and changes occur!
The Rules
Point of Privilege: Pertains to noise, personal comfort, etc. - may interrupt only if necessary!
Parliamentary Inquiry: Inquire as to the correct motion - to accomplish a desired result, or raise a point of order
Point of Information: Generally applies to information desired from the speaker: "I should like to ask the (speaker) a question."
Orders of the Day (Agenda): A call to adhere to the agenda (a deviation from the agenda requires Suspending the Rules)
Point of Order: Infraction of the rules, or improper decorum in speaking. Must be raised immediately after the error is made
Main Motion: Brings new business (the next item on the agenda) before the assembly
Divide the Question: Divides a motion into two or more separate motions (must be able to stand on their own)
Consider by Paragraph: Adoption of paper is held until all paragraphs are debated and amended and entire paper is satisfactory; after all paragraphs are considered, the entire paper is then open to amendment, and paragraphs may be further amended. Any Preamble can not be considered until debate on the body of the paper has ceased.
Amend: Inserting or striking out words or paragraphs, or substituting whole paragraphs or resolutions
Withdraw/Modify Motion: Applies only after question is stated; mover can accept an amendment without obtaining the floor
Commit /Refer/Recommit to Committee: State the committee to receive the question or resolution; if no committee exists include size of committee desired and method of selecting the members (election or appointment).
Extend Debate: Applies only to the immediately pending question; extends until a certain time or for a certain period of time
Limit Debate: Closing debate at a certain time, or limiting to a certain period of time
Postpone to a Certain Time: State the time the motion or agenda item will be resumed
Object to Consideration: Objection must be stated before discussion or another motion is stated
Lay on the Table: Temporarily suspends further consideration/action on pending question; may be made after motion to close debate has carried or is pending
Take from the Table: Resumes consideration of item previously "laid on the table" - state the motion to take from the table
Reconsider: Can be made only by one on the prevailing side who has changed position or view
Postpone Indefinitely: Kills the question/resolution for this session - exception: the motion to reconsider can be made this session
Previous Question: Closes debate if successful - may be moved to "Close Debate" if preferred
Informal Consideration: Move that the assembly go into "Committee of the Whole" - informal debate as if in committee; this committee may limit number or length of speeches or close debate by other means by a 2/3 vote. All votes, however, are formal.
Appeal Decision of the Chair: Appeal for the assembly to decide - must be made before other business is resumed; NOT debatable if relates to decorum, violation of rules or order of business
Suspend the Rules: Allows a violation of the assembly's own rules (except Constitution); the object of the suspension must be specified

 

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KBOO Facilitation Training Rules

This was a 2009 training for all Board and staff. Both bodies used consensus for a short time afterward.

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KBOO Core Values

COMMUNITY:
local, accessible, empowering, welcoming, inclusive, participatory, involved
 
 
PROGRESSIVE PERSPECTIVE:
questioning, vital, uncensored, controversial, activist resource, educational, journalistic integrity, reflecting justice, peace, sustainability and democracy
 
 
EMOTIONAL MATURITY:
respectful, honest, fair, positive, peaceful, non-violent, engaging, open
 
 
DIVERSITY:
valuing, embracing, bridging, listening, understanding, giving voice
 
 
LEADERSHIP:
bold, exploring, independent, cutting edge, responsible, excellence
 
 
CREATIVITY
eclectic, traditional to experimental, idiosyncratic, innovative, iconoclastic, evolving, compelling

 

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How We Treat Each Other

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Creating a Safe & Caring Community

Our Goal
 
To foster a safe, healthy and welcoming environment for nurturing creativity, community and opportunities for personal growth.
 
 
Philosophy
 
Building Authentic Relationships: When we’re authentic we listen and share honestly with one another. We set reasonable boundaries and also give each other a chance to change. We share our joys, our fears, our challenges, and the stories that make us who we are. We tell our truths in a way that respects ourselves as well as the other person.
 
Gentle Personalism: All people are good, and when given the opportunity, we display that goodness. When we treat people as whole, we give each other room to be whole.
 
Conflict Resolution: We work to resolve all conflicts or at least agree on boundaries that work for both parties. We aim for engagement over avoidance and collaboration over compromise. 
 
Non-violence: We say “no” to any form of violence. This includes shouting, name-calling, belittling, physical attacks, making less of someone based on their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or spiritual practice as well as other forms of harassment, abuse and intimidation.. Non-violence asks us to stop verbal or physical violence in a non-violent way, confronting it with love and respect to promote the safety and well-being of all.  
 
Community Support: It is our responsibility to let each other know when we are doing harm to another person or a group of people, and we will provide support when anyone is treated in a hurtful way. This includes learning ways to interrupt violence, learning how to help both parties see how they could de-escalate conflict and providing mediation services. Part of our support is learning how to listen, to understand feelings and address underlying needs. KBOO staff are available help. We give people a chance to change (except in rare occasions of imminent harm), but if people can’t change, they will eventually be asked to leave.
 
 
Four Agreements
 
  • We always treat others with love and respect…or at least respect!
  • It is never OK to humiliate anyone.
  • We expect everyone in our community to treat others well.
  • We have a personal responsibility to resolve our conflicts.

 

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Nonviolence Questions and Answers

Common Questions about Nonviolence at KBOO

“Isn’t it true that sometimes you have to yell at someone to get their attention?” We have found, based on actual experiences at KBOO, that when conflicts appear to be resolved through verbal violence, what really happens is that the other person just withdraws and avoids the person who hurt them. They often go to others to share their story of the bad experience, and the conflict actually grows, even though it seems calmer for awhile.

 

“Should I call the police?” We avoid calling the police whenever possible. Is there a staff member or other person available who can gently help the person? Can it wait until later, or is there an immediate physical threat?

 

“I didn’t intend to humiliate them. I was ‘just stating the facts’ as I saw them.” Ask yourself, “Did I say it with love?”

 

“Maybe I should just “vent” to my friend or colleague.” Venting can be a good chance to blow off steam so that you can then deal with the problem directly. You may use venting to calm down so that you can come back tomorrow with an open heart. Gossiping or saying bad things about people will only make the problem worse. We will talk directly with the person who offended us, or get support from the appropriate staff or board person to do so.

 

“I don’t have a problem. They have a problem.” We will try to understand our own role in the conflict and how we can help de-escalate the situation and reach resolution next time instead of escalating. This is our opportunity for growth in conflict.

 

Maybe it’s better to just “let it go.” Sometimes, things aren’t a big deal, but over time, a lot of little things will build up.

 

“If I don’t deal with it right this second, nothing will ever happen.” It’s important to interrupt violence right away, but if we’re upset, it’s often a good idea to take time to cool off before we look for resolution. Wait at least a day before sending the angry e-mail. If you’re still mad, wait another day or run it by someone who is skillful in communications. If you or the other person is on the air or about to be on the air, ask yourself if this really has to be addressed right this second. You can always say, “I’m sorry we’re having a disagreement. I want to work with you on this later.”

 

“It’s my First Amendment right to say anything I want to.” We have a right as individuals to express our opinions, but we also have the right as a community to create safety and respect. How can we express ourselves without hurting others?

 

“Sometimes I get angry. You can’t expect me to never get angry.” We all get angry, we also all make mistakes, but we can choose what to do with our anger and with our mistakes. How do we address them with kindness towards ourselves and the other person?

 

“Should we ‘compromise’?; Can we just ‘agree to disagree’?” We can, and sometimes that’s the best we can do. But compromising or agreeing to disagree doesn’t really leave either party satisfied. Better still is to find a solution that give both people what they want—or even more than they wanted.

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Living up to Our Own Values -- Conflict Resolution at KBOO

Upholding KBOO’s values of peace, justice, democracy, human rights, environmentalism, multiculturalism, freedom of expression, and social change, the community is engaging in a series of skill building sessions, followed by an open forum for volunteers and staff to share their experiences, thoughts and desires for our community. Some refreshments provided, attendees are encouraged to also bring a contribution to a potluck following the training session.
 
We come from many places, express ourselves differently, hold different beliefs, but at KBOO, all participants create community together. Learning from each other and growing together is an essential part of “the KBOO experience”. It is essential to listen to one another and be receptive to what you hear. We are creating exciting, meaningful radio and community, all here, together, based on KBOO’s stated values—and for this alone, each one of us deserves the respect of all others. If we spend our time uplifting our co-created community, we will be uplifted in turn.
 
With so many passionate, caring and expressive individuals actively participating within an organization, conflicts will occur. In fact, they should occur, as conflicts illuminate areas that we need to look at, and learn from, within ourselves, and the community as a whole.
 
Most people have negative feelings about conflicts, and many try to avoid them—but this doesn’t really help in the long run. Conflicts that are left unresolved often fester and become fertile ground for feeling bad about another person, yourself, and / or transferred and generalized to the whole organization. However, compassionately and justly addressing conflicts can help transform us as individuals, and the organization as a whole.
 
Understanding the overall dynamics of conflict can help us address them more constructively.
 

Understanding Conflicts

Conflict arises when people disagree about something that is important to both / all parties. Each conflict is unique because it is entirely dependant on the dynamics of the parties involved at that time. Each person brings his or her history, and “hot buttons” or “pet peeves” that affect the conflict.
 
When conflict occurs, everyone needs to feel recognized as an individual, and respected as a human being.
 
When these needs are not met, things can escalate very quickly.
 
Because each person involved in the conflict adds to its dynamics, it is important to understand your own feelings about conflict and what “triggers” you, so that you can avoid escalation and help to bring the interaction to a resolution wherein all feel respected and valued.
 
What do you think of when you think of conflict?
 
What are your triggers or hooks?
A trigger or hook is a behavior that almost always “gets to you”. It can be a situation, a word or phrase, or body language. It is important to know what behaviors and words hook you, so you can become conscious of your response, instead of being caught up in your reaction. Take a moment and answer these questions for yourself.
 
To what words do I strongly react?
(e.g., name calling, “whatever”, “get to the point”, swearing)
 
To what behaviors do I strongly react?
(e.g., eye rolling, sighing, hand on hip, arms crossed, personal space issues)
 
To what situations do I strongly react? What are my pet peeves?
(e.g., being kept waiting, being interrupted, being ignored)

Insider / Outsider Thinking

One factor that contributes to conflict at KBOO is insider/outsider paradigms. People need to feel a sense of belonging. Insider/outsider group thinking is present in every community; here at KBOO it seems particularly problematic. The KBOO volunteer community has about 500 members currently; and while the number of volunteers actively participating in the station is relatively stable, there is much turnover. Some of you have volunteered nearly since the very beginning, while others may have jumped in last week. In these circumstances, it is easy to feel that everyone else knows what’s going on, that you are being deliberately over-looked and left out. We can all help to alleviate this situation. Don’t assume that others are more in the know, or that information is being kept from you; ask a staff person about the policy or practice of doing something. Say hello and introduce yourself to people you don’t know yet-- they may be new, or maybe you just haven’t met, because you’re on different schedules.

Useful Tips in Resolving Conflict

Either / or; right / wrong; hot / cold thinking and positioning within conflicts will block meaningful dialogue, and does not make room for the fact that all parties are valued, even if there is disagreement—to resolve conflict, try to avoid dichotomous thinking.
 
There are some basic premises that, when adapted, will help to mitigate conflict, and encourage the exploration of meaningful difference, leaving us all with an enriched community.
  • You can never know another person’s intention / heart.
  • Your experience is valid – and so is everyone else’s.
  • Everyone wants to be the hero of her/his own story.
 
Healthy conflict resolution takes creativity.
  • I want to win, and I want you to win, too.
  • I am right does not mean that you are wrong.

Resources used:

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2007-2008 Survey and Community Meeting Summary

 

KBOO Surveys & Community Meetings
December 2007-May 2008
 
 
SUMMARY
 
Through our surveys and community meetings, we reached core listeners and members who value KBOO’s independence, progressive views, diversity and local community connections. These listeners asked for better program and production quality with well-prepared, well-presented hosts and fewer technical mistakes: improve the radio basics. They’d like new programs with new voices, positive attitudes and exciting music mixes along with a better schedulewhile preserving their favorite shows. The website should have the basics like multiple streams, playlists and podcasts. More outreach and promotions was a frequent request. 
 
We asked specific questions about Democracy Now! and learned, not surprisingly, that people who currently listen like to listen at the current time but there are a number of options for morning and evening drive-time slots. We did learn that Democracy Now! is much more popular than previously estimated.
 
Please find more survey details at http://kboo.fm/node/7935.
 
Why do you tune in or out?
 
Listeners tune in for progressive views, political analysis and debate. They also enjoy learning something new, connecting with local communities and hearing diverse voices.
 
Listeners tune out because they don’t like the music, they don’t like the next program that comes on, or the host is preachy, unprepared or boring.
 
Members asked for an improved air sound with new voices, improved quality and professionalism, and more local & positive items.
 
How would you describe KBOO?
 
Our core listeners believe that we are true to our mission. Top picks were: independent, diverse, progressive, community and informative. The negative categories (such as irrelevant, monotonous, etc. ranked low). In community meetings, free speech, community connections, culture, local news and progressive politics were valued.
 
What would you change about KBOO?
 
This question drew rich responses with 547 participants offering 1,343 responses. The common themes were:
 
Program and Production Quality: Hosts should be objective and prepared, with a better presentation: not preachy, ranting or rambling. Hosts need to improve on radio basics including back announcing, controlling callers, introducing guests, cueing recording and mikes correctly, and—especially—speak clearly with a good radio voice. Listeners request more local news and “positive solutions.” The community meetings reflected the same desire for improved quality as discussed above, along with the idea of reaching more groups and combining local and global perspectives.
 
Format: With our format split, we often find that listeners either want more music or more public affairs. While 546 respondents tune in for hear progressive politics, 522 tune in for music. In the written comments, a common response was more music with a more interesting music mixStale programming came up in response to several questions: new shows, new hosts and/or new music mixes. Better organized programming but also more variety came up. This is a question for KBOO: how can we offer variety, but make the station listenable. 
 
Promotions: Listeners and volunteers want to see more outreach, advertising, events, work with community organizations and outreach volunteers. Virtually all respondents heard about KBOO through word of mouth or by randomly scanning the dial. This speaks to opportunities in advertising, outreach and Web. Outreach was a huge issue at community meetings.
 
Technical: While respondents generally favored KBOO over other radio stations, we were ranked lower on web presence and technical quality. Respondents would like better signal coverage (which is not available), and more online options. Many of the technical problems reflect training issues for on-air personnel and others are due to the fact that we cannot expand our signal strength or coverage area. For the web, respondents want first streaming, music playlists community calendar, archived show search and podcasts.
 
When would you like to hear Democracy Now?
 
Current listeners, want to hear it at the current time, no surprise. 
 
Looking at the Democracy Now online and paper survey: After 5pm, 8am and 7am are the second, third and fourth choices, but the choices are close. One question that this survey did not ask is whether the respondents listen to any radio at 7 or 8 am. The group is curious about this because the results do not match radio listenership or KBOO listenership patterns. Respondents broached several possibilities that we are considering such as going head-to-head with NPR, broadcasting outside of working hours or broadcasting twice per day.
 
In the member phone survey: 61% of our members listen to Democracy Now. If the program is moved, 8am and 6pm drive time are the top picks, but there is not one clear choice[1]. 42% would listen to news & talk at 4pm, but only 32% would listen to news & talk at 7pm. About half would listen to folk and roots at 7am.
 
While there are preferences for particular slots, 7-9am and 5-7pm slots all score relatively close to one another. However, we also learned that our listeners, like most radio listeners, are more likely to tune in during the morning than the afternoon or evening.
 
What are your five favorite programs on KBOO?
 
1.      Democracy Now! 224
2.      Music From the True Vine (Bluegrass) 145
3.      Joe & Abe (Talk Radio) 90
4.      Grateful Dead 87
5.      Presswatch (Public Affairs) 79
6.      Positively Revolting (Talk Radio) 74
7.      Evening News 73
 
The surprise here was Democray Now! because it doesn't do particularly well during the drive, but it was far and away the top choice among online survey respondents, and 61% of the members surveyed by phone listen to the program. As a side note, pledges for Amy Goodman tickets constituted 10% of our Spring Membership Drive total.
 
Most other KBOO shows appeared somewhere in the responses, but the top-tier responses are listed below. Overall, news/talk and music both appeared to do equally well. A more extensive analysis would involve membership drive analysis, Arbitron tune in/tune out data and other items from program staff.
 
About the Respondents
 
The Survey For Change drew 822 responses. This is a self-selected group. Promotions included KBOO website, e-mail, listener guide and airwaves as well as CNRG and IndieMedia mailing lists. The survey was also picked up by blogs at local newspapers.
 
Respondents are primarily dedicated core KBOO listeners. The largest number of respondents listen 4-10 hours per week (as opposed to many casual KBOO listeners who tune in fewer hours) and have been listening more than ten years. Overall station listenership is dropping, but respondents are listening to KBOO more than they have in the past and generally ranked KBOO superior to other stations.    Furthermore, respondents listen at home throughout the day, and not just in their cars or during drive time. At the community meetings, most attendees were current programmers, volunteers and staff with some long-time non-volunteer members.
 
Respondents are traditional radio listeners as who surf the web but are less interested in podcasts or mp3 players.
 
Half the respondents were 45-64 and 78% were European-American, and most earn under $40,000 per year. 18% identified as LGBTQ.
 
The Democracy Now! online and paper survey was distributed at the Amy Goodman event and on the website. This survey drew 421 responses.
 
Two community meetings attracted about 150 people. Current programmers, volunteers, staff and board made up most of the audience with a few member-listeners and a few non-members. Again, this was a core audience. Not surprisingly, their views largely followed the Survey For Change results (with even greater emphasis on community and outreach).
 
Finally 107 members (97 were current members) were polled in a random phone survey. This was an older and whiter group (91% European American and 61% ages 45-65).
 
About the Survey Group
 
Board Member Judy Fiestal led the survey effort based on input from KBOO staff and working with volunteers Patrik McDade and Genevieve Matthews, consultant Carri Munn and Station Manager Arthur Davis.
 
Where Do We Go From Here?
 
The station Program staff are developing on-air changes for this summer and winter. In addition to the surveys and community meetings, we are looking at non-listener surveys, focus groups, a Station Assessment by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, competitive analysis, programmer peer evaluations, staff evaluations, a variety of retreats and listenership and membership data. There will be a many factors, but we are committed to reaching more listeners while maintaining our mission and core values.


[1] Democracy Now change ranked by members in phone survey: 7am-15%, 8am-24%, 9am-15%, 5pm-14%, 6pm-23%, 7pm 9%

 

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2008 NFCB Assessment

Assessment of KBOO,
Portland Oregon

By the National Federation of Community Broadcasters
with Lewis Kennedy Associates

May and June, 2008

Executive Summary

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters with the help of Jim Lewis, Lewis Kennedy Associates, conducted a station assessment for KBOO in May and June of 2008. The following are the primary observations and recommendations.

KBOO has a lot going for it—there is significant community involvement with the station and genuine engagement from diverse communities. There is a commitment to having things change at the station and ensuring that KBOO is relevant and has an impact in the Portland area. On the other hand, KBOO has been losing audience and membership over the last couple of years. However, there is agreement on the need to make changes to reverse this direction. And the station is in the fortunate position of having a reserve fund that gives them the time to decide on these changes with a high level of participation and analysis rather than having to rush into something because of a funding emergency.

Based on an analysis of the data provided by KBOO and the in-person discussions that Carol Pierson and Jim Lewis had with staff, board and volunteers, we make the following recommendations.

Programming and Positioning

  • Identify target audience(s) for day parts that accomplish KBOO’s mission while providing an important audience service.
  • Launch a Campaign for Excellence for KBOO programming
  • Move Democracy Now! into drive time
  • Provide a consistent, quality news and information service from 7am until 7pm.
  • Use music in mid-day while high-quality information programming is being developed.
  • Consider using national programming and inserting local content if possible to assure consistent quality.

Development

  • Begin a structured major annual giving program
  • Test the concept of three shorter pledge drives instead of two long ones and determine the optimal length of each break
  • Have program host participate in breaks and set-up a standard outline that includes why to give (mission), what you get (benefits, premiums, challenges) and a call to action
  • Increase mail program for renewals, additional gifts, and lapsed donors
  • Promote planned giving options

More specific recommendations and details are in the report. KBOO is making some very important changes and change is never easy. We applaud your efforts and your process.

The Assessment

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) was hired by KBOO to conduct an assessment of the station’s overall operations with particular attention to programming and development. Carol Pierson, President and CEO and Ginny Z. Berson, Vice President and Director of Federation Services of NFCB and Jim Lewis of Lewis Kennedy Associates conducted this assessment by telephone, email and in-person visits.

Carol Pierson and Arthur Davis, Manager of KBOO had numerous phone conversations during early 2008 to plan the in-person visit and to share information about audience and fundraising. Jim Lewis joined these conversations beginning in May. Carol and Jim spent three days visiting the station and interviewing staff, volunteers and Board members May 27 through 29, 2008. The following are our appraisal and recommendations.

Background

In 1968 when KBOO went on the air, it was the primary community/public radio station in the Portland Oregon market, airing NPR, Pacifica and local public affairs and music programming. Over the last 20 years other noncommercial stations have focused on much of the programming that only KBOO carried: Oregon Public Broadcasting does a full-time news and information service that covers most of the state with NPR, PRI, APM and local news and public affairs programming; KBPS provides a full-time classical music format; KMHD has a full-time jazz service; and commercial station KPOJ carries the progressive Air America format including a local Portland personality. After some impressive increases in audience and membership (Listenership increased from 50,000 to 70,000 between 2000 and 2003; membership from 3,000 to 7,000 between 2000 and 2004) KBOO started seeing declines in 2004. Current CUME is 55,000 – 58,000 and membership has declined to 5,600 members. Fortunately during this period of growth the station created a reserve fund and started an endowment so that they have some resources to make improvements even though their income has declined from $790,000 to $620,000 this year. During this period they have lost much of their CPB funding and are threatened with total loss in FY 2009.

KBOO gets 81% of its budget from membership; 7% from underwriting/advertising; 5% SCA rental; and 3% interest income. The population of Portland is 700,000 with 1.5 million in the metro area. The demographics are 80% white; 7% Hispanic; 6% Black; 6% Asian; and 1% Native American/Hawaiian. The mission and goals of the station are to serve the underserved segments of the population so KBOO does active outreach and recruitment to communities of color and disadvantaged groups such as the homeless, teenagers, non-English speakers, and the gay/lesbian communities. Thirty percent of KBOO’s total airtime is produced by people of color: KBOO’s locally produced programming is 16% African American, 14% Latino, and 5% Asian.

Over the last year KBOO has put considerable effort into changing the culture at the station which was sometimes very contentious. Working with a local conflict management consultant the station has made considerable progress in developing a spirit of cooperation and an openness to change that is often hard to find at any radio station. There is widespread understanding and support for the importance of making program changes (for the first time in 10 years).

Programming

The most important issue facing KBOO at this time is the loss of audience. This impacts the station in several ways—fewer members, lower loyalty, and fewer membership dollars. In addition the station is having less of an impact on the community. For these reasons KBOO has committed to re-evaluating its entire program schedule for the next year. They have already instituted program evaluations and the entire evening block of programming is being overhauled—all programmers are having to re-apply for their programs.

The Board of Directors has set the following programming goals for the next year:

Improve Programming: Increase listenership to better serve programming charter and increase membership with quality programs and improved scheduling while reflecting our core values. Objectives: a) create consistently compelling radio. Use programs that work well as models to improve or replace programs that are not compelling or meet mission; b) make our programming decisions more flexible and proactive (recruitment, contracts, block reviews and/or renewals) develop ability to experiment; c) improve blocks and strips to better reach audience; d) address most pressing program issues during the coming months while gathering research and community participation for further changes; e) aim for our historical level of 70,000 listeners along with increased use of streaming and downloading.

The station has done two surveys for members and listeners (822 respondents to Survey for Change and 107 current and lapsed members for Democracy Now! survey) and held two community meetings with about 150 people participating. Based on the surveys about half listen to public affairs and half listen to music. Respondents described KBOO as “independent, true to its mission, diverse, progressive, community and informative.” There was considerable agreement that the station needs to improve how it sounds on the air. Hosts need to be better prepared, not preachy, and improve technical quality and radio basics. In addition, many mentioned that the scheduling needs to be better organized. Finally, there was a desire for more outreach and involvement with the community and a better website that enhances the programming and ties the station into the community.

KBOO is described as “doing what other stations aren’t” or an “alternative.” The station needs a stronger, clear, positive identity. I would emphasize local/Portland, information and culture, diversity, real, connector of folks/community. Bring Portland’s Communities Together, or something like that.

It is critical that you are clear on what audience you are targeting at different times of the day (see comments below). This is probably the most important thing to do in this process. If KBOO tries to serve everyone you will end up not serving anyone well. Programmers should have a good sense of who they are talking to when there are preparing and presenting their programs. And the schedule needs to be arranged so that the target audience is the same across the week and during that block of programming. Perhaps you could get grant funding to do a market analysis of what programming is needed in Portland. Once you are clear about who is being targeted, be sure that this information is understood throughout the station.

With these issues settled, be sure that your visual identity is consistent with your on-air identity and appeal to that audience.

On-Air Sound

KBOO sounds like it is very involved with the Portland community—from local content to community calendar announcements. This is a great strength. Unfortunately, the quality of the air sound is very inconsistent. Many of the survey respondents and community meeting attendees talked about the need to improve on radio basics, hosts that don’t seem prepared or are preachy or ranting or rambling. Talk show calls should be screened before they go on the air, callers need to be treated with respect but controlled by the host, and guests need to be introduced.

We recommend that KBOO launch a Campaign for Excellence On-Air. There could be three elements: Training; Feedback; and Recognition. KBOO has some excellent talent already on the air and there are trainers in the field that can help. Both Marilyn Pittman and Dick Brooks have been very well received in the trainings that they have done at stations and at the Annual Community Radio Conference. But in addition to outside trainers, meetings could be organized for different genres: talk show hosts, Radiozine producers (maybe live and pre-produced separately), news producers and readers, music hosts, etc. Programmers can share solutions, tricks, processes and give each other support and feedback.

It is also necessary for the Program Director and the AM and PM News and Public Affairs Directors to provide regular feedback (which I think does happen to some extent now). It may be helpful for them to have some coaching training which many non-profit support centers provide. This should become part of the annual programmer contract renewal process so that there are goals for program hosts each year. Ideally this will all happen in the context of people buying-in to the Campaign for Excellence.

Finally, it can be helpful to recognize a particularly well done show as long as it isn’t going to create bad feelings. This can be an example that other hosts can learn from. There could a discussion about what made it an exemplary program with advice from the recognized host and observations from other programmers.

Recommendations:

  • Launch a Campaign for Excellence to improve KBOO’s air sound using training and evaluations to help programmers create more compelling radio.
  • Talk show calls need to be screened to be sure that new voices are heard on the air and that the technical quality of the callers is okay. This doesn’t mean excluding people or manipulating the content as is done in commercial radio—just improving the quality. The programs are also stronger if there are guests rather than just opening the phone lines.
  • The news programs and Radiozine would benefit from consistent hosts who are excellent on the air. The morning news that I heard had interesting content but not very strong readers. Can/do Kathleen and Jenka anchor these programs along with the strongest volunteer readers?
  • Set-up a listserv for the talk show hosts so they can coordinate content; do the same for other programs in the same strip.
  • The orientation process seems quite good. It needs to be integrated into the Campaign for Excellence so there is energy and excitement about KBOO sounding the best it can on the air.

Schedule

KBOO has a mixed format with news and public affairs in the morning (7am-noon and 5-7pm) and mostly music the rest of the time. Some programs are in languages other than English and some are only on once a month. There isn’t consistency of content or sound from day to day or from program to program much of the time. Because radio in general has moved into single formats, listeners expect some consistency about what a radio station does each time they tune-in. Generally people use radio at the same time(s) each day and most often in morning and afternoon drive-time and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am until 2pm. Music listening is usually highest during the work days.

It is best if a station is doing the same type of programming during morning and afternoon drive-time. Weekends can be somewhat different but it is best to appeal to the same dominate audience during these times as well. Both consistency from day to day and the program flow (so that you aren’t driving listeners away) are important dynamics in audience retention and building. Stations can program for different audiences if they strip the programming so that there is consistency and take advantages of natural turn-over in the audience (end of morning or afternoon drive-time). You might want to look at a commercial station’s or OPB’s audience data to see when large groups of people turn their radios off as opposed to tuning to another station. It makes sense to put your strongest programming at the times that most people are listening. Also, determine what other stations are doing at various times. It may not make sense to put a strong program on when another station is carrying a very strong program that appeals to the same audience. You can pursue several strategies—going head to head with a competitor or counterprogramming—but in either case the stay clear on who you are programming for, who is the target? Remember, almost all listeners listen to other stations as well.

Spanish language programming presents particular challenges to the station. If the goal of the station is to keep people listening as long as possible, switching to a different language is a guaranteed tune out for much of the audience. On the other hand, if KBOO ignores this audience, what station is going to provide a critical media service for it? Making as much of the music programming bilingual as possible will make it accessible to the entire audience. This could be a first goal. Programming that must be in Spanish to reach its intended audience should be in a block outside of prime radio listening hours (6am-6pm weekdays and 10am-2pm weekends). I would recommend a large enough block to really pull-in the Spanish speaking audience and to precede this block with bilingual music programming. It would also be good to see how much of the Latino population in Portland is monolingual Spanish. It might be a better service to the entire audience to incorporate programming about Latino issues into the regular news and information programming so that the Anglo audience would be educated as well.

Recommendations:

  • The Talk Show strip is from 7:30am until 9am which is not a great time for call-in programs. People are generally very busy during this time or driving. I would recommend after 9am or just before afternoon drive.
  • Democracy Now! is the most popular program on the station according to the recent surveys. It should be scheduled during morning or afternoon drive-time. I would recommend airing it at 7am or 8am.
  • Radiozine has some strong elements but needs to be presented as a consistent program with a consistent host, if possible. The elements can be knitted together by the host and music that creates a unified context for the diverse elements.
  • Midday (mostly) music is kind of a jumble. If the station can develop a strong, consistent news and public affairs service from 6am or 7am until 6pm or 7pm I think this would be a very strong schedule. (See attached schedule possibilities and list of program sources.) However, it should be built slowly so that the content is compelling enough to compete with OPB and Air America. The strongest positioning that KBOO has is local since both OPB and Air America provide mostly national content. It is better to build slowly toward this than put on programming of lesser quality.

Process for Program Changes

The change process is already well underway at KBOO. The first group of changes is scheduled for August and involves the evening schedule and possibly adding an additional airing of Democracy Now! at 7am. This seems to be a good strategy. It will allow you to test how DN! works at 7am while planning the more challenging changes to the daytime schedule.

Changes to the daytime schedule are planned for January. It may be wise to map out the ultimate schedule that KBOO would like and then start making changes as the pieces are ready. The station needs to sound compelling and engaged in the community so that anyone interested in what is happening in Portland will want to tune-in. Most importantly, when they do tune-in, they talk to all their friends and colleagues about what they heard on KBOO yesterday. This is the best promotion that the station can get.

In the meantime, launching the Campaign for Excellence should start immediately engaging as many people as possible. There is plenty of evidence from the surveys, community meetings and declining listening to support the importance of this step. Perhaps KBOO alumni can also be used to help in this effort.

Website

KBOO has been investing in its website development using a part-time contractor as well as having a part-time staff position which it hopes to increase to full-time. Improvements in the website came up a number of times during the community meetings and in the survey. The site is being developed so that programmers can enter their own information and that this information will be on the web but also available for the quarterly program/issues lists that the FCC requires and other reports that are necessary. Priorities include: improving the program schedule and search functions; clarify ownership of content; podcasting; calendar improvements.

The website will continue to be a more important feature for interacting with KBOO listeners and bringing new listeners to the station. The efforts to make it more effective are to be applauded.

Our development consultant was intrigued by KBOO’s potential to use social networking software to more closely bind members to the station. Research by Audience 88 and 98 cited the extent to which listeners to a station consider themselves members of a community of values as a key discriminator in their listening and giving. In a word, public radio listeners display “tribal” characteristics. If that is true for a mainstream station, it is likely to be even more true for a progressive community station. Might KBOO benefit from using social software solutions to capitalize on this feeling of community, giving KBOO members the opportunity to meet on-line a discuss such interests as local progressive issues, alternative music, live performances, books, etc.? We regard this as an area for future exploration rather than an urgent current priority, but it is an opportunity that should not be lost. Costs to establish such a site are minimal and moderating some of these social forums could be a volunteer, rather than staff-intensive activity.

Recommendations:

  • Continue and increase investment in website. The powerpoint presentation on the NFCB website might be helpful in learning from the experience of other public broadcasters. http://www.nfcb.org/projects/projects.jsp#ima
  • Use news volunteers to post updated Portland news on the website as well as producing radio pieces. Have people take pictures to use with news content while they are out reporting. Have fresh news content 2 or 3 times each day.

DEVELOPMENT

Private support

KBOO raises most of its private support from individuals and businesses. The following sections place how KBOO performs relative to other stations and how it might improve.

Individual Giving

KBOO compared to other stations

At KBOO, individual giving means membership and membership means on-air fundraising and a sustained giving program. There is no major giving program to speak of, and the direct mail program is quite small and completely tied to the on-air program.

We have discussed with KBOO management team the limitations of comparing the membership performance of a community station to a “mainstream” public radio station. Because community stations do not program to maximize audience, they must spend more time on the air to reach their budget goals. Given this additional time on air, they convert more of their listeners to donors, but research suggests that they depress audience in the process. Moreover, because their audiences tend to be smaller than “mainstream” stations, their Arbitron audience estimates are more volatile.

Nevertheless, audience is the only standard we have for comparing membership among stations. The following chart compares KBOO FY 07 results to those for the 54 stations that use Target Analytics donorCentrics™ reports and three stations whose programming is “most like” that of KBOO. (One is a Pacifica licensee, another a community station.) The bars compare donors per cume listener, while the line tracks dollars per cume listener. The audience standard for all three is Fall of 2006—the first book in FY 07.

Audience Adjusted metrics - FY07 - chart

In this comparison, KBOO does very well at converting listeners to contributors—better than all 54 stations, better than the average of the three we selected for comparison—in fact, better than any one of the three. Revenue per listener is a different story. KBOO about matches the 54 station average, but falls well below the average of the three stations whose programming it most resembles.

Average Gift. The explanation for this apparent contradiction can be found in the following chart, which compares the average gift for KBOO and the above two groups.

Average Gift - FY 07 - chart

KBOO receives a lower average gift than the average of either group. Among all 54 stations, only four have a lower cumulative average gift than KBOO. This is particularly surprising in that the method by which KBOO raises revenue—which we call a “contributions” rather than an “annual membership program—is calculated to emphasize high gifts per member rather than high renewal. The result is a high average gift. The two stations that most resemble KBOO raised over $160 per donor in FY 07.

Gift Distribution. To determine where the opportunities lie, we looked at the range of gifts and revenue by dollar class of KBOO and the two station groups. This is somewhat problematic, in that the KBOO figures include only on-air drives and not giving through the sustainer program. Nevertheless, the differences are so striking that they are instructive.

KBOO has a far greater share of gifts and revenue of $1-$100 and $100-$999 than either of the other groups, but substantially less at $1,000 and greater. While KBOO may have more $1,000 cume gifts in the sustained giving program, the on-air figures are so low as to suggest to us that gifts of this size are seldom sought.

Revenue by Source. The following compares the sources of KBOO revenue to the average for the other two groups of stations:

Revenue by Source - FY07 - chart

In the above chart, on-air includes all revenue received via the web; some stations raise substantial income from web gifts received outside of pledge, both from membership gifts received throughout the year and through e-fundraising activity. “Other” includes all sources not included in the first three; some stations receive a considerable amount of revenue through telemarketing activities and more transom mail income than KBOO receives.

KBOO shines in sustained giving, raising 30.1% of its revenue from this source. It raises about the same proportion of revenue in on-air as all 54 stations, but far less than the three peer stations. In fact, two of these three stations are over-shifted toward on-air fundraising and it makes their programs very volatile. KBOO raises a smaller percentage from mail than the 54-station sample and slightly more than the three peer stations.

But the mail results are deceptive. If KBOO did not have its strong sustained giving program, it is probable that a larger percentage of this revenue would be received via mail. Given the high proportion of EFT payments, the program appears to be reasonably well balanced.

Renewal. The station reports a 60% renewal rate. If so, that matches the 54-station average. We were unable to independently confirm this figure. Even if we accept it as accurate, however, EFT clouds the picture. The station reports that 37% of its givers made an electronic payment in FY 08. (Not all of them are sustaining givers, but that is all we have.) Assuming for the sake of this example that 37% of KBOO’s members are sustainers and that they renewed at a rate of 90%, the renewal rate for the remainder of the file would be 42%.

By itself, this would be an extremely low renewal rate, but taken in isolation, it’s fairly meaningless. Renewal increases with longevity on the file, and the renewal rate for multi-year members—those who have renewed at least once—is often twice that of the first-year rate. Therefore, the overall renewal rate depends on both these rates and their proportion on the file. If the non-sustaining segment of the KBOO file consisted exclusively of first-time givers, a 42% renewal rate would be above average. (As we will see from the on-air figures in Gifts by Type, we know that such is not the case.) The higher the percentage of multi-year members, the poorer the true renewal picture is.

The true figure is guesswork. We don’t know the percentage of new vs. multi-year members, let alone their renewal rates. And since the percentage of true sustainers is probably lower than the percentage of those using EFT, the 42% estimate is almost certainly high. Given all these factors, we think it is a reasonable assumption that renewal is below average.

Gifts by Type: As the above discussion suggests, we were unable to obtain information on gifts by type. The station does report that its two on-air drives in FY 07 received 26-32% of gifts from new members, but on-air is not the entire membership program. The all-station average for all members in FY 07 was 30.3%, in the same range as KBOO’s on-air average. We had no information on the station’s overall proportion of new, renewing, and rejoining members, and the proportions of total gifts from all four gift types, including additional gifts. This is important information for KBOO to know. A majority of donorCentrics™ stations in FY 07 received more gifts from rejoining members than from first-time givers. Additional gifts have remained at about 22% of all gifts for the past few years. At KBOO, the figure is almost certainly lower, due to the fact that sustained givers are not asked to make additional gifts and must “volunteer.” But what proportion of non-sustaining members do so? What is the mix between new and rejoin gifts? Knowing this information can suggest opportunities.

Gifts per member. We were unable to determine gifts per member—an important indicator of the strength of additional giving in a station. The report we received recorded every sustainer transaction as a separate gift, making it seem that gifts per member were higher than they are.

Conclusions

We recognize the danger in suggesting that KBOO (or any station) should look like every other station, but a comparison of national trends and any local station can identify opportunities. The following appear to be the key trends and opportunities.

  1. The fact that members are high in proportion to listeners is both good and bad news … and for the same reason. It suggests that KBOO is maximizing the potential provided by its available audience. We know through CPB-funded research conducted for Audience 88 and Audience 98 that listening causes membership and KBOO itself accepts the premise by graphing the declining trends for both membership and audience.

    It follows that the single most effective way to increase membership is to build audience.

    That said, any program can be improved, no matter how successful or sophisticated, and we believe the same applies to KBOO.
  2. Conversely, the facts that revenue is only average in relation to audience and that the average gift is low suggests that there are opportunities in the program. Clearly, one opportunity is to increase the upper end of giving by seeking more gifts of $500 and above. There is no existing structure—“gift club”—to do this. Another opportunity may lie in additional giving, but we lack the data to show this.
  3. Renewal rates for non-sustainers are below average—how much lower we cannot tell. This represents an opportunity which we explore in the next section.
  4. Some of the above discussions about unavailable information may seem to imply criticism of station personnel, but—for those non-staff members who may read this report, such as board members—staff is well aware that there are metrics that are not yet being tracked following the recent software upgrade and have asked us what they need to know and why. To summarize, here’s the list:
    • Total revenue, members, gifts, average cumulative gift, average transaction
    • Gifts and Revenue by Technique (on-air, direct mail, sustainers, etc.)
    • Gifts and revenue by source (renewal mail, rejoin mail, etc.) and average gift for each
    • Gifts and Revenue by Type (New, renewal, rejoin, additional)
    • Gifts and Revenue by Dollar Class (Suggest $1-$50, $50-99,. $100-$250, $250-$999, $1,000+ because it’s become an industry standard. Okay to set up subclasses with them, e.g., $1-35, $35-$49, etc.)
    • Renewal rate overall, for new members, and for multi-year givers
    • Within the multi-year rate, renewal by longevity (2 years, 3 years, 4 and more years)
    • Gifts per member
    • Lapsed file by longevity (12-23 months from last gift, 24-35, 36-47, 48-60, and 60+)
    • If available from database, upgrade/downgrade by donors and revenue for renewing members. (We typically state this as a proportion of renewal income; e.g., upgrade revenue from renewing members was 3.6% of renewal revenue. It answers the question as to whether contributions from your renewing members are keeping pace with inflation.)

Membership strategy

The KBOO membership program is built around the two pledge drives—fall and spring. There are two drives per year, each about three weeks in length. In recent years, the station has had to extend one of these drives.

Pledge

Tracking is done by program rather than by day, so that it is not clear what patterns exist and whether three weeks is optimal. (Typically, drives start and finish strong, and sag in the middle. One of the tasks of the pledge producer is to reduce that sag by introducing new elements during the drive. In “mainstream” stations, the audience cumes (sic) so rapidly that, by the end of the first week, essentially all the audience has heard a number of pledge breaks. Thus, stations are making drives more efficient by using various devices to build the middle of the drive and eliminating on-air days. See Recommendations.)

We did not hear any on-air breaks. We were told that the station used to air breaks of from 3-7 minutes duration in each half-hour block, but has now moved to four 4-minute breaks. The change was made because breaks would begin to draft at about 4:00 in. No pledge outline system is used, but we are told that breaks are now “themed.” On-air hosts do not play the central (and often intensively competitive) on-air role that they do in many community stations. Until the recent structural changes, most hosts did not participate in on-air breaks, some physically leaving the booth while the break was taking place. Now they are expected to begin and close the break, but the actual break content falls to others, some of whom are not otherwise heard by listeners.

Pledge talent emphasizes dollar-a-day gifts and sustained giving in increments of $5, $10, or $20 per month. (Given this, the low average gift is somewhat surprising and is another reason for tracking the average gift by technique and source.) KBOO uses literally hundreds of premiums. Many, such as books and CDs, involve no purchase cost, but managing the volume in a small operation is a major departmental headache. The station’s experience seems to show that non-logo, program-related premiums are a “must” around music programs.

KBOO does use on-air challenge grants, obtained primarily from individuals, with only one recent grant obtained from a business. A typical challenge is $500, to be matched over a period of time. Grants are structured so that they will be reached, rather than requiring a stretch to achieve. (This may be good strategy, given the fact that the station is not programmed for audience flow and the resulting lower TSL. An NPR or all-music station can assume greater audience flow and thus can use larger challenges to achieve bigger goals over a longer period of time.)

Benefits

In addition to on-air premiums, benefits include a monthly listener guide (“delivered right to your door by a uniformed civil servant”—we like that touch), opportunities to serve on a station committee and to vote for the board, and a membership card. The membership card’s participants have not been seriously revised in two years, we were told. It offers discounts to a range of restaurants, music and book retailers, organic food purveyors, and a host of other businesses. A few performing arts organizations are included, but there is no strategic linkage with underwriting and the list has not been revisited in awhile.

Mail

A letter is sent out to current and past donors prior to both drives. The letter is a sweepstakes, rather than a renewal letter. As such, about a third of the first-page copy deals with the sweepstakes “offer” rather than the station’s “case.” As is also typical of sweepstakes appeals, the design of the letter is promotional rather than businesslike, using different typefaces and capital letters in a larger font within the copy. The mailing strategy is cost-centered—i.e., it goes first to current donors and then is backfilled with lapsed names until it reaches the line item for that mailing in the budget.

A letter is sent between drives to those on the lapsed file. (It was not clear how deeply into the lapsed file this mailing is sent.) In FY 08, only one of these was sent, but we were told that in most years two are sent. The letter lacked a strong “grabber” opening, had no PS (both are the two most important elements of a letter), did not make an ask on the first page, and dwelled at some length on challenges the station faces, including declining audience. The ask itself was “muddy,” by which we mean that it asked for both programming input and gifts.

Two add gift appeals are sent, one each near the end of the fiscal and calendar years. The summer appeal was a versioning of the lapsed letter outline above and shared its problems. We did not find a copy of the winter letter.

As the above suggests, there is no real renewal letter (and certainly no renewal series) and thus no opportunity to ask for upgrades. Response devices do not contain a personalized gift ladder, and it is not clear whether the station’s DonorPerfect software can generate one.

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is not used in the program.

Web

The website has a secure pledge form, located two clicks from the home page. Because web gifts are not separately sourced, it is not known how much traffic is generated, either during on-air drives or outside of them. We were told it is not well integrated into pledge breaks and that web giving is seldom, if ever, mentioned outside of pledge.

Recommendations

There are numerous recommendations we might make to improve this program, but they could prove overwhelming. We have focused, therefore, on a few key areas:

  1. For the coming year, test the concept of three shorter drives rather than two long ones. The excessive length may be driving audiences away. Three drives give the station one more opportunity to catch listeners during an available giving cycle. (How many days? We would consider the same number of days divided by three drives as a maximum. Given some of the other ideas here, could each drive run 12, rather than 14 days?) We recognize that the drive length is partly dictated by a desire to include every available program in each drive. We would structure the three drives to include every available program at least once a year—and some twice. Space them at approximate four month intervals. (See #8 below.)
  2. Track not just programs, but revenue and gifts received during on-air days in order to tune this approach. Is there a big dip in the middle which (a) needs to be specifically addressed or (b) suggests that some days are just not productive and can be eliminated?
  3. Test break lengths. A standard 4:00 is too low and will result in a sameness, in time. Test one break of 6:00 and another of 3:00 during each half-hour block. This would allow talent to set up a proposition—meaning a challenge grant, dollar goal, or member goal—during one break in order to maximize the call-in opportunity and to update progress on that proposition later in the half-hour. “Test” in this case means not an A/B test, but trying it out to see how it works and changing within the drive if it doesn’t.
  4. Set up some standard break outlines that rotate through standard break elements: why to give (mission), what you get (benefits, premiums, challenge grants, etc.), and call to action (call now with a gift of $x … or make your gift at kboo.org.)
  5. As the above suggests, integrate the web into every call to action, and make the pledge form accessible through one click, at least during the drive.
  6. Wherever possible, require on-air programmers to participate in pledge breaks on their programs. Listeners respond better to appeals from those who they feel they know than to voices that have no connection to the content. One way to do this is to promote internal competition for good pledge results through posting what each program has produced in some accessible place. (This must be carefully managed; at some stations, programmers go over the top in an attempt to outdo each other—stretching breaks and only going for high-dollar pledges.) Promoting this role must be accompanied by talent training. Just as KBOO would never allow an untested program host on the air, it should not turn responsibility for revenue generation over to people who have no experience of feel for doing it.
  7. Streamline premiums and benefits. The good thing about bad economic times is that it offers a readily accepted rationale for simplification. When small numbers of books are offered by writers for free, use them as pledge drive giveaways for drawings, rather than as premiums. Emphasize logo offerings in non-music blocks and narrow the selection of music items to a manageable handful that span the principal genres that produce pledges. As discussed in the next section, we also recommend focusing the membership card and taking advantage of underwriting relationships to the mutual benefit of membership and underwriting.
  8. With three equally spaced drives, establish a three-times-a-year mail program. Turning first to renewals, three months before each drive, send a first renewal effort to those due to renew four months hence. Send a second notice two months prior, and a third one month prior. (You are obviously mailing to fewer prospects each time, since those who renewed in the first appeal no longer have expiration dates within the range you’ve selected.)

    Make the focus of this series renewal only. We are asking for a renewal gift, and not for anything else.

    In the first two letters of the series, ask members to consider an increase in their gift. Generate the response device from a spreadsheet, rather than from the system (unless the system can generate a file asking for an upgrade.) The spreadsheet contains columns with all information needed by the mail house, another column with the last renewal gift (we will call this Column X), and three columns that contain a formula that asks for the next higher gift. (Microsoft Excel has a lookup wizard that can set up three ask ranges based on the value in Column X.) What we want is an ask string on the response device that requests a gift of approximately 2x, 1.5 x, 1.25x, and “other”, where x is the last gift. For example, if the last gift was between $40 and $50, the response device would present options for $100, $75, and $60, plus “other”, to be filled in by the donor.

    Code responses devices so that you can track response rates at a fixed number of days after the mailing—we recommend eighty, Tracking means recording the number sent each notice, the number who responded to that notice, the total cost and revenue from each segment, and the average gift for each. This is because we want to know how each renewal notice is doing—whether it’s making money, where they are holes in the renewal program that can be fixed through better copy or better packages, and whether it can be expanded.
  9. One month prior to each drive, mail a rejoin letter to donors who have lapsed over certain set periods of time. Make the focus of this series renewal only. (We never use the word “lapsed” or “former” to non-current donors. We want them to renew their support.) Again, nothing else should be asked of them, and the focus is on giving. We would recommend mailing to those whose last gift was 15-36 months during two of these appeals, and a third that mails to those who have been lapsed for much longer. Segment the lapsed file by month of last gift, and enter the code on the response device, so that you can track performance of each segment. The information to be captured for each segment is identical to that for renewal mail, except that we are tracking segments rather than notices. Over time, this will tell you which segments are particularly responsive. Mail more to the responsive segments, and less to those that are unresponsive. As with renewal mail, we want to become more efficient and identify opportunities for increasing revenue. An ask string similar to that above is not as important in lapsed mail as often the goal is simply to get the giver to reactivate. (In fact, many stations test below-minimum special offers to rejoins, just to get them back on the file. We believe this technique lies in KBOO’s future, after it has swept the lapsed file several times and begins to see marginal results.)
  10. Mail additional gift efforts to active members not in the renewal cycle prior to each drive. Continuing to mail the year-end and fiscal year-end appeals are fine if they do not conflict. One of these might be an annual sweepstakes mailing. The others should be focused on aspects of the case for support. One might ask for support for local news, another to support enhancements to music programming, etc. By carefully coding these appeals and the responses, the station can begin to identify segments that are particularly responsive to news, local music, etc. and have small constituencies within the file to approach for special needs in these areas.
  11. Begin a structured major annual giving program for those willing to contribute $1,000 and above. Donors at this level are interested in association and recognition more than premiums. Prospects are gathered on-air and by board invitations to those already giving whose pattern of previous gifts suggest they have the interest (measured by number of gifts or number of years on file) and capacity (measured by consistent giving above a certain amount, such as $250. Ample resources for how to implement such a program can be found on the CPB major giving website, http://www.majorgivingnow.org, which LKA developed. In addition, LKA will be conducting major giving web conferences for NFCB during July, August, and September.
  12. KBOO asked us to recommend whether it should market planned giving options. In a word, yes. We believe that this subject is too often overcomplicated by development professionals. Most planned gifts come to organizations via bequests. Securing bequests requires no expertise on the part of the organization. It requires a gift acceptance and gift use policy (examples are to be found at http://www.majorgivingnow.org) and marketing of the fact that KBOO is a candidate for planned gifts. Additional resources are to be found at another CPB web-based toolkit, http://www.pg-now.org, which LKA developed in concert with Oregon Public Broadcasting. Add a checkbox to station communications, including mail response devices, that says, “Please contact me about including KBOO in your will or estate plan.” Put little ads in the listener guide. Put a simple planned giving page on the station’s website. Mention wills and bequests during station breaks, particularly around those in which KBOO fulfills a unique mission or where it offers music programming of interest to older members of the audience. (We don’t mean Glenn Miller. We mean The Grateful Dead. Yes, friends, those of us who grew up in the Sixties are making wills.)

Additional resources

Some of this information has been rather technical, and we recognize that the membership staff is new to some of these concepts. An excellent guide to running and measuring a membership program is Fundraising Fundamentals: A Guide to Annual Giving for Professionals and Volunteers by James M. Greenfield, published by Wiley.

Corporate support

Underwriting and other business support is managed by a single part-time individual, the Underwriting Coordinator. He is budgeted at 25 hours per week, but currently works somewhat less than that due to demands of an outside project. He is responsible for on-air underwriting and guide sales and receives a lower hourly wage plus commission on all sales.

Total gross revenue from both sources hit a five-year high, $62,768, in FY 07; the net after commissions, but not including hourly salary, was $52,570 during that year. In FY 08, gross is projected to decline to $53,819 and net before hourly salary to $43,421—an 8.3% decline. The underwriting coordinator says renewal rates are down and cites the economy as a major cause, but, as noted above, it is also true that he has not devoted the full budgeted time to the effort.

There is great ambivalence about underwriting in progressive community stations. Historically, many stations have not accepted it. While this has changed at most stations, including KBOO, underwriting is viewed with some suspicion. The underwriting coordinator himself admits to “mixed feelings” about the revenue source, some of which relates to his belief that underwriters do not receive much “promotional utility” from it—in other words, that they do not benefit from increased sales. .

He cites several practical barriers to increasing revenue:

  1. The lack of “promotional utility” referenced above
  2. An inconsistent program schedule, which does not build the kind of audience loyalty that other public radio stations can call on
  3. Lower public awareness of KBOO as compared to other stations
  4. Internal factors, such as failure of on-air programmers to read scheduled announcements and a past failure to properly invoice clients. (He claims he had to call clients and ask them what they’d paid.)

He reports that he had some success with programmers providing leads to specific underwriters, particularly on Spanish language programming, but that he’s had pushback when he’s asked others for suggestions (see Individual Giving recommendation #6. There seems to a cultural disconnect here in which many programmers do not see the value of protecting the financial future of the station on which their program airs.)

In addition to on-air announcements, underwriters are credited on the web site and in the program guide. Both have generated leads. Other leads come from program hosts, as mentioned above, from interested businesses calling the station, and from what he calls “tepid” calling—making cold calls to businesses that already have some awareness of KBOO or a particular program. The station’s air is currently not used to market the value of underwriting, though it has been in the past, and there is no advertising budget to create awareness of the underwriting opportunity.

There is little cold calling because it has been found to be unproductive. As was stated to us in a memo “…if the most consistent givers … are doing so based on charitable motivations and their love of KBOO, … many, if not most …. are relatively “self-selecting.” While this may seem somewhat defeatist, many mainstream stations find that some of their best sales come from simply answering the phone.

One other opportunity is not used, however, and that’s the station’s Membership Card. Many stations that offer member discounts to businesses make those opportunities available only to on-air sponsors. (They also offer opportunities to non-profits, such as performing arts organizations.) There is an opportunity here to offer a tangible benefit to underwriters—traffic generation—while helping to update the Membership Card, whose list of participants has reportedly been neglected for at least two years.

There is great sensitivity over the appropriateness or acceptability of some underwriting within the KBOO culture. The stations underwriting guidelines prohibit accepting support from companies that “have been shown to” participate in a variety of activities and practices held to be socially irresponsible. The final guideline gives the board the authority to reject any company it “determines would be detrimental to the social responsibilities of the station.” Underwriting from a national bank doing business in Portland was rejected because the underwriting coordinator felt it would not go down well with management, staff, or board. Partly as the result of this kind of estimate, there are few generally known names on the list of KBOO underwriters. Most are professional services, clubs, co-ops, and a variety of boutique businesses serving the progressive community. By their nature, most have little to spend and, as the earlier quote suggests, underwrite for philanthropic, rather than marketing reasons.

Contracts tend to be rather small—most are under $1,000—so there is a built-in disparity between inputs and outputs. In other words, it takes a lot of work to raise a fairly small amount of income. The coordinator has a broader span of control than do most underwriting managers—including some tasks that no one in underwriting would be expected to perform. He is responsible for all aspects of the underwriting relationship except invoicing. He markets and sells underwriting, writes copy, schedules the spots, sends invoicing information to the accounting department, coordinates with programming and, with their participation, communicates new announcements and changes to on-air producers (a task which appears to involve negotiating with them to read the spots), maintains the current underwriting list for the guide and the web, examines the log for unaired spots, and handles collections if invoices remain unpaid. In sum, a disproportionate share of the job consists of process management rather than sales.

We checked the gross revenue received by KBOO with a community station in a fairly comparable market. KBOO revenue was somewhat better, if program guide sales are included. The sales effort at this station was more passive than that at KBOO. There, the development manager functions as the sales manager, and she is responsible for all aspects of fundraising except the capital campaign, so prospecting consists entirely of responding to inbound inquiries—answering the phone or responding to email requests generated by the web.

Recommendations

Given the limitations imposed on underwriting, it is a finite resource. There is no silver bullet here that is going to make KBOO an underwriting powerhouse. Nevertheless, there are several steps the station can take to improve revenue:

  1. If the position is budgeted for 25 hours, the coordinator should spend 25 hours on it—not 15 or 16.
  2. KBOO should test paying a finder’s fee to program producers who recommend businesses that sign up. The fee could be quite small—5% or so—but would encourage programmers to use the personal network they establish while producing KBOO’s programs to the station’s benefit.
  3. It should prepare more marketing-based presentation materials. The current materials are not graphically arresting, contain too much copy, and emphasize the station more as a cause than as a marketing opportunity. We are not suggesting it should not be positioned as a cause, but that the marketing benefits should get at least equal play.
  4. A broader conversation needs to occur on what will be considered acceptable underwriting partners. The line about the board having the right to reject any business it considers “detrimental” should be eliminated, in our view. A board’s job is to set policy. As the underwriting rule is stated, it is a management task. As stated, a case can be made that no automobile manufacturer, no matter how much it is now trying to be environmentally responsible, could underwrite on the station’s air. Is that what KBOO wants?
  5. There are greater opportunities for messaging from non-profits. There does not appear to be a deliberate non-profit marketing strategy. Many stations receive a majority of their underwriting sponsorship from not-for-profit companies, from performing arts organizations to advocacy organizations.
  6. Restructure the Membership Card to offer discounts to non-profit organizations and to only those for-profit businesses that underwrite on KBOO. This could be a significant benefit to many businesses, a service to members, could save the membership department work, and could provide a real marketing opportunity to the underwriting effort.
  7. Promote underwriting more aggressively on KBOO’s own air. The station needs to use its best marketing tool to market itself.
  8. Identify other areas in which the people skills of the underwriting coordinator can be used to make this a full-time job. We have often been struck by the fact that the skills needed for true major gift fundraising are more akin to those used by corporate support representatives than by membership personnel. One of our former colleagues at OPB made the transition from underwriting sales to major gift officer with almost no hesitation. The difficulty in such an arrangement is that major gift fundraising cannot be commissioned under prevailing ethical guidelines and that a conflict in time and interest could result in one activity being pursued to the detriment of the other. Balancing these pulls require the right person and close supervision and monitoring.

OPERATIONS/MANAGEMENT/GOVERNANCE

The primary purpose of this assessment was to look at programming and development. However, there were a few issues that came up during the process that seem worth highlighting.

Congratulations on the positive attitude toward change that has been developed at the station. This is a monumental achievement.

Some attention/training in decision-making would be helpful. This was mentioned during some of the interviews especially in staff meetings. Some clarity is necessary about when a decision has been reached and acknowledge what it is.

Coaching training for staff who work with and train volunteers would be helpful. This may be available through a local non-profit support center, such as TACS.

Improvements are needed in how the station looks. You want it to be welcoming but not so cluttered and a little more spruced up.

Evaluate the election process for the Board and how new Board members are integrated. Recommendations included having a retreat right after the election; develop an orientation process; create a Board manual; committee and Board agendas should be available a week ahead of the meeting; clarity on decision making.

Appendix

Possible Program Schedules

News and PA 6 or 7am – 7pm

Time Option 1 Option 2
6am The Takeaway (PRI) Music
7am The Takeaway with local news inserts Democracy Now!
8am Democracy Now The Takeaway w/local inserts
9am Talk Radio The Takeaway (PRI)
10am Radiozine Radiozine
11am Radiozine Radiozine
12 noon Local Public Affairs Talk Radio
1pm News & Notes or Tell Me More (NPR) Local Public Affairs
2pm Flashpoints News & Notes or Tell Me More (NPR)
3pm Various National & Local PA Flashpoints
4pm Democracy Now Democracy Now
5pm Local News and Free Speech Radio* Local News and Free Speech Radio*
6pm Local Public Affairs or Talk Radio Local Public Affairs or Talk Radio

* You might want to create a one-hour news block of local and Free Speech Radio News mixed together and anchored locally

Music in Mid-Day Option

7am Democracy Now
 8am Radiozine
 9am Radiozine
10am Talk Radio
11am Mixed formats and Local Public Affairs
Noon Music – AAA and World with a local focus
 1pm Music
 2pm Music
 3pm Flashpoints
 4pm Democracy Now
 5pm News – Local and FSRN
 6pm Local Public Affairs

Suggested Sources of Additional Programming

  • Listener Commentaries – Topic of the Week – use website
    • The Takeaway, produced at WNYC with PRI, NYT, BBC fed live at 3am-7am
    • News and Notes (NPR) African American focused but good general audience
    • Tell Me More (NPR) Also African American focused but good general audience
  • Pacifica station programs
  • Randall Davidson’s list of free programs (davidsor@uwosh.edu)
    • PRX.org

Similar Stations to Talk With/Compare Schedules

(contact information on NFCB website)

  • KFAI, Dan Richmond PD, Minneapolis MN
  • WMNF, Randy Wynne PD, Tampa FL
  • KPFT, Dwayne Bradley SM, Houston TX
  • WORT, Norm Stockwell OD, Madison WI
  • KBCS, Steve Ramsey SM, Bellevue WA
  • KGNU, Sam Fuqua SM, Bolder CO
  • WMPG, Jim Rand SM, Portland ME
  • KUNM, new PD, Albuquerque NM (does NPR but lots of local news)
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2011-2012 Budget

Please see the following three pdf files for the KBOO FY 2012 budget.

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AttachmentSize
KBOO FY12 Operational Budget - BoD Approved 9-26-11.pdf93.79 KB
KBOO FY12 Budget Narrative 9-26-11.pdf75.45 KB
KBOO FY12 Budget - Additional Detail 9-26-11.pdf76.82 KB

2012-2013 Budget

Please see the following four pdf files for the KBOO FY 2013 budget.

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AttachmentSize
KBOO Foundation FY13 Budget-Summary9-21-12.pdf50.9 KB
FY13 Operational Budget-Board Approved 9-24-12.pdf47.59 KB
FY13 Budget Adendum- Board Approved 9-24-12.pdf43.11 KB
Finance Committee notes from the budget retreats _draft_.pdf41.07 KB