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Community Advisory Board Minutes - June 2018

The NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board (CAB) met in Chicago and connected by videoconference to Springfield. The primary purposes of the meeting were to welcome new advisory board members who begin their new terms on July 1, 2018 and to provide input about whether NPR Illinois’ programming and policies meet the specialized educational and cultural needs of the community it serves.

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board Meeting
June 1, 2018

11:30 AM Call to order

Welcome - Randy Eccles, GM/Publisher

Roll call


222 North LaSalle Street, Chicago

  • Cindy Canary
  • Randy Eccles
  • David Kohn
  • Adam Porter
  • George Van Dusen

300 West Edwards Street, Springfield (conference video)

  • Deanie Brown
  • Sean Crawford
  • Jaclyn Driscoll
  • Kathleen Dunn
  • William Holland
  • Bethany Jaeger
  • Mario Jimenez
  • David Racine
  • Kent Redfield
  • Blake Roderick
  • Dick Schuldt
  • Mia Woods


  • Megan Pressnall
  • Karen Witter
  • Corrine Wood


  • Nice Bogdanovich
  • John Carpenter
  • Jon Davis
  • Robert Gallo
  • Timothy Killeen
  • Susan Koch
  • Brad McMillan
  • Laurence Msall
  • Stephanie Rhodes
  • Chuck Scholz

Following is a summary of key points, decisions and next steps for the Community Advisory Board.
CAB Membership

  1. The meeting on June 1 marked the first meeting of new advisory board members with first terms from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021:
  • William Holland
  • Mario Jimenez
  • Stephanie Rhodes
  • Mia Woods
  1. Outgoing members whose terms expired include Graham Grady, Eric Hadley-Ives and Rob Christie. All have been meaningful contributors to advisory board discussions and purpose of providing insight and story ideas to help explore and explain the public affairs issues affecting our state.
  2. The advisory board discussed the desire to honor and stay connected to past board members who honorably served. Considerations for a potential future policy or membership status include:
  • A status such as “ambassador” members may suggest a proactive role of past members to continue advocating for NPR Illinois, where as a “legacy” or “emeritus” member may be perceived as more passive and honorary.
  • The Urban League of Chicago establishes past members as “senior councilors,” who are invited to participate in all meetings as ex officio members and to attend Urban League events to stay engaged in the dialogue.
  • At least inviting past board members to an annual meeting of this advisory board could help them stay connected to the organization and its goals or needs.  
  • Also inviting them to serve as ex-officio members of committees could provide opportunities to draw on their areas of expertise.
  1. It will be necessary to better define the role and expectations of past advisory board members when developing a potential policy or membership status.

CAB Advise and Recommendations Report to University Board of Trustees

  1. In conjunction with receiving the Community Services Grant through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board must report annually to the organization’s governing body—the University of Illinois Board of Trustees—to suggest whether NPR Illinois’ programming and significant policies:

“are meeting the specialized educational and needs of the community served by the station, and to make recommendations that the CAB deems appropriate to meet such needs” (47 U.S.C. § 396(k)(8)).

  1. CAB members identified the following examples and suggestions for how NPR Illinois can meet the specialized educational and cultural needs of our statewide and regional audience:
  • One of NPR Illinois’ strengths is its role in convening the communities it serves around public affairs affecting everyday life and business. For example, NPR Illinois’ engagement strategy in the past year has included partnering with AARP Illinois to host public forums on the impact on daily life and businesses of a multi-year impasse in passing a state budget. The series of public forums has continued this year with an evolved theme of “Election 2018: Seeking Solutions.” The civic engagement events not only help educate the public about the critical issues that are at stake during the 2018 elections and the long-term impact of the state’s fiscal challenges, but the series of forums also engage people in a face-to-face conversation about potential solutions.
    • A “statewide issues survey” also is planned to explore issues and solutions to statewide issues, which also can be segmented by region.
  • Another strength of NPR Illinois is its programming that inspires curiosity and encourages the audience to learn about topics and cultures other than their own.

Areas where NPR Illinois could improve on meeting the educational and cultural needs of the communities it serves follow:

  • Continuing to better define the evolving community served by NPR Illinois (both statewide and regional needs).
  • Tap into the potential for broader coverage of statewide and local/regional issues through the newly expanded journalism staff, dedicating more time to exploring cross-cultural interactions and understanding of the diverse cultures within our state.
  • Prioritize diversity in stories, staff, advisory board members and supporters to be inclusive of cultural, geographic, generational, racial, ethnic and the full spectrum of perspectives among Illinois residents.
  • More frequently tailor “Harvest Desk” reports to the Illinois audience, the rural Illinois experience in particular.
  • Expand local coverage beyond Springfield to include more central, western, eastern or southern Illinois stories or perspectives.

NPR Illinois Update

  1. NPR Illinois’ strategy for its coverage of the 2018 elections is to focus more on the issues at stake than on the daily news cycle of campaigns. To date, no gubernatorial debates have been agreed upon by both candidates on public broadcasting and other commercial media stations.
  • One context piece the NPR Illinois team may wish to consider is the high level of turnover that will occur with the 2018 elections and the number of new faces who will hold public office since so many incumbents chose not to run for reelection.
  1. NPR Illinois will soon receive useful data from a nationwide NPR technology survey about how members use technology to consume their news and programming. National and local results will be shared and considered by this advisory board.
  2. A pilot of PodCamp@NPR will occur in Springfield this month to engage 24 students in producing their first episode of a podcast. The project incorporates civic education by having the students interview community leaders as subjects of their podcasts. The hope is to grow the program to serve high school students with Pod101 and adults with PodU, which would occur later next summer.
  3. The CAB then discussed from a variety of perspectives the state’s need to get back on track, not just fiscally, but also making Illinois a desirable place to live and do business. A discussion about what the future of Illinois looks like begs questions about transportation, economic development, population shifts, and fundamental changes to the state government such as redistricting, pension reform, civic education and other systemic issues.
  4. Potential story ideas were discussed, including the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial and opportunities for journalism stories to reflect on the state’s 1970 Constitution and opportunities—or challenges—for structural reform.
  5. Additional story ideas were discussed regarding the following:
  • Pension reform
  • Redistricting
  • State employee morale
  • The appeal of basic public services (police, fire, water, garbage) of those who immigrate to Illinois
  • Who would want to run for public office
  • Illinois’ adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment
  • The effect of President Trump’s tariffs on rural Illinois
  • The impact of the “Amazon tax” on local municipal budgets

Next Steps and Responsibilities

  1. Bethany will work with the NPR Illinois team to draft proposed terminology and expectations of a new category of past advisory board members. The advisory board will consider the proposal at the next meeting.
  2. Randy will summarize the CAB’s advice and recommendations for meeting the cultural and educational needs of the communities served. He will circulate the summary for the advisory board’s review prior to submitting a report to the University Board of Trustees.
  3. The next advisory board meeting is scheduled for the following:

Friday, September 7, 2018

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Springfield with videoconferencing options

AARP Illinois’ Legislative Office, 300 West Edwards Street

AARP Illinois Chicago office, 222 N. Lasalle Street (videoconference)

Contact NPR Illinois at 217-206-9847 for dial-in information


The meeting adjourned before 1:30 PM

Jaclyn has an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a BS in History form Monmouth College. Prior to reporting, Jaclyn was a social science teacher and department chair at Greenfield High School. Previously, Jaclyn reported for WICS Newschannel 20 where she covered a variety of assignments including courts, politics, and breaking news. She also reported at Siouxland News in Sioux City Iowa, the shared CBS/Fox television newsroom. Her internships included WGN and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago.
NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board
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Randy Eccles is thrilled to be talking with community members and joining them in becoming informed citizenry. Please reach out at randy.eccles@nprillinois.org.
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