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Advisory Board Minutes - March 2016

NPR Illinois Advisory Board Meeting
March 10, 2016


  • Chuck Scholz, Chair 
  • Deanie Brown
  • Sean Crawford
  • Jamey Dunn
  • Kathleen Dunn
  • Randy Eccles
  • Bethany Jaeger
  • Rachel Lattimore
  • David Racine
  • Kent Redfield
  • Dick Schuldt
  • Karen Witter


  • Cindy Canary
  • Robert Christie
  • Dave Kohn
  • Diane Lopez Hughes
  • Chris Mooney
  • Blake Roderick
  • Corinne Wood

3 PM Call to order
Welcome - Randy Eccles
Roll call  

Budget Impasse - No appropriation at the time of the meeting, with no clear plan.

  • NPR Illinois could see zero funding (with any higher education funding going to core programs).
  • Audience Survey indicated 6-8 items most likely to be cut (all these cuts could realize up to $100,000 in savings):
    • RIS (Reader Information Service)
    • Car Talk
    • Prairie Home Companion
    • APM (American Public Media programs)
    • BBC
    • HD Broadcast
    • Classical stream
  •  NPR Illinois will move forward with key initiatives.
  • Art Council grant (prior $17,000) was not renewed (the station continues to run the funding credits from the previous grant cycle).

Regional Journalism Collaborative (RJC) Update

  • CPB funding program for the RJC – Urbana is the lead station.
  • Participating stations:  Urbana, Springfield, Macomb, Carbondale (may change due to the budget impasse).
  • McCormick Foundation was approached in February to help fund the CPB grant with resources to hire one full time person for engagement, and one graduate student to assist.
  • Engagement activities include two approaches:
    • Follow high school graduates as they vote for the first time.
    • Civic education provided to middle school students.
  • Illinois Issues is being considered as a platform for the collaborative (no final decision yet).

Local Content - New and Expanded Programs

  • Adding a new program:  The 21st (produced at WILL/Illinois Public Media) – will be a weekly program.
  • Expanding Illinois Edition and will have ready for state-wide distribution.  WILL/Illinois Public Media will begin running the program beginning May 2nd.

Education Desk Engagement Activity

  • Moderated event was held in Suggs Studio on  March 2, 2016.
  • Invited and included a variety of education leadership.
  • Top Issues for the state:
    • Funding higher education.
    • Funding formula & equity (how funding impacts communities).
  • Sean Crawford moderated the event.

University of Illinois Strategic Plan Discussion

  • Meetings have been held on the three campuses to solicit ideas.
  • Draft plan has been completed.
  • Discussion returned to budget issues surrounding higher education.

UIS Center for State Policy & Leadership Annual Report

  • Review.
  • Concern over the budget and there is no one single solution.
  • Discussion of a letter of support from the board.  It was suggested a joint statement of support for the entire board would be helpful.  Bethany will draft a letter.
  • Letter will be reviewed by all and sent to the Chancellor to show our value and the impact we make (financial, reach, regional-central IL, donors, students, community and state leaders).

Round Table Discussion and Story Ideas

  • Higher education reform – Il does not have the power for reform (like New York and their in-tact state-wide system).
  • What is happening to private schools in Illinois (Monmouth, Knox College, and others)?
  • Tier pension system for teachers (6 years into tier 2), looks like a horrible system for teachers.
  • Role of education with K-12 charter schools.
  • Role of community colleges for the most vulnerable students.
  • Survey for bi-centennial activities in Illinois, what has been done to develop these possibilities.  Has a bi-centennial group been appointed and what is happening?
  • How does a brokered convention work & the impact of the Electoral College.  What is a super delegate?  What is the delegate proportions in Illinois?  How to understand the rules?  Vermont Public Radio did a nice piece on caucuses, might look to that for ideas.
  • Redistricting – what are the totals and what does the map look like.
  • How is state tourism being impacted by the budget impasse (Governor’s conference on tourism is coming up).
  • Impact on social service agencies and the long-term impact on those seeking services in Illinois.
  • How is the budget affecting hospitals in Illinois and what is the long-term impact.

Next Meeting

  • June 9, 2016 conference call.
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