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“I became a journalist to revisit difficult stories in complicated places. To labor on stories worth telling because they carried a truth we might be ignoring. To dig, find and hopefully do justice in the re-telling.”
 
- Adriana Gallardo, Journalist
 

One of the many great pleasures I have had in my work at NFCB is reaching out to inspiring people and inviting them to join our board. You can’t re-tool an organization without building new structures and that’s what we’ve been doing.
 
This month I want you to meet Adriana Gallardo, truth seeker, truth teller, accomplished journalist, and secretary of NFCB’s Board of Directors. I excerpted the quote above from Adriana’s recently published essay entitled “The Lucky Ones”. In the essay, Adriana brilliantly crafts her origin story through the lens of the tattoos she wears on her body. It embodies her process of understanding the world inside of her heart, and the world around her. In her day job at ProPublica, Adriana works to dig, find, and do justice as her quote states. In her spare time, she helps NFCB move forward and stay grounded with her stalwart advice and penetrating savvy about how to create resonance with our members.
 
All of the NFCB board members have remarkable stories to tell about the lives they lead and a through-line they all share is their passion for public media and the transformational power of finding your voice. The newsletter this month is chock full of voices. It is my fervent hope that you will connect with us in reading the newsletter and that you will also bust a move and join us at the 2019 Community Media Conference in June. The early bird registration deadline is March 15 and the hotel is filling fast, so time is of the essence.
 
Treat yourself to the company of inspiring journalists like Adriana. Learn from your peers and from world-class experts in the field. Ernesto has put a great program together for you. You are worth it, and so is the work you do.

Sally Kane, CEO
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
skane@nfcb.org
 
 

2019 Conference is on the horizon

Community radio’s oldest and best-known gathering happens June 18-20 in San Diego, CA. We’ve got dynamic speakers and new features in the schedule to make this a stellar event.
 
There are many reasons to register now. Featuring tracks on content, revenue, engagement and organizational capacity, the conference is your opportunity to learn, network, and get the inspiration you need. Since last month’s newsletter, more features added to the conference include:

  • A Tuesday morning pre-conference panel, led by Native Public Media, examines emergency preparedness in Indian Country.
  • Veteran human resources consultant Jeannie Smith signs on to lead an intensive on HR for community radio leaders.
  • A State of Noncommercial Media session, led by data whiz Dave Sullivan, explores national listenership figures and fundraising trends you can share locally.
  • Radio Boise General Manager Jessica Evett joins the Volunteer Engagement discussion to share how this award-winning station creates a positive volunteer culture.

Check out the complete conference schedule here. For ongoing updates, you’re encouraged to subscribe to NFCB’s weekly and/or monthly newsletters.
 
Conference sessions will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in the Bay Tower, 1590 Harbor Island Dr., San Diego, CA 92101. You can register for your hotel room at a discounted rate here through May 20th. Our conference venue is located just minutes from San Diego’s famous sites, including Balboa Park, the historic Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and more.
 
Our recently announced keynotes are sure to make your conference experience in this outstanding city all the richer.
 
Author Nina Simon will be our Wednesday keynote. Her bestselling book, The Art of Relevance, has created waves by pushing nonprofits to consider how we can matter more to people. Drawing from a well of experience gained at the helm of the MAH museum in Santa Cruz, be ready to have the ceiling taken off your brain as you absorb Simon’s concise and penetrating formula for how to take participation to a whole new level.

Nina Simon's recent TED Talk.
On Thursday, longtime communications attorney John Crigler will share his insights on our medium’s past, present, and future. Crigler’s decades of work for community media has made him a legend. From representing community radio in the courts to the Federal Communications Commission, Crigler is regarded as one of broadcasting’s great champions of the last 50 years. He’ll bring his trademark wit to the stage to brighten your time in San Diego. If you’ve heard his name, but never met him, or hadn’t caught up with John Crigler in years, this keynote will be a rare moment to catch the now retired legal giant and former NFCB board member on stage.
 
Over its history, NFCB’s conference has welcomed hundreds of managers, stations, producers and community radio faithful. What has made this event so enduring? Incisive conversations and practical, hands-on learning to help your station do more with what you have. Legal panels have helped you get the answers you need. Networking with peers has helped colleagues like you to solve ongoing challenges and to work smarter. The sessions for the 2019 conference, covering on-air fundraising, optimizing events and crafting morning programming, among many more topics, are intended to keep your station relevant and interesting to your audience.
 
Only a few weeks remain until the close of early bird registration. This is the lowest conference rate available. You can register for the 2019 conference HERE. Registration will close on June 10th and we expect a full house, so don’t delay.
 
Immerse yourself in the experience by staying at the host hotel. There are experiences with colleagues you will want, money you will save on rideshares, and quick breaks you will need. All of that is only possible when you stay at our host hotel. Book now to reserve your room today.
 
We look forward to seeing you soon.
 
 

Tristin Tabish, KRCL

Tristin Tabish has worked in public broadcasting in Utah for more than 25 years. She received her M.S. in Communication from the University of Utah and taught writing and public relations for the U of U for 10 years. Tristin’s career launched in 1991 at KRCL 90.9 Community Radio in Salt Lake City, where she managed the music station’s development and fundraising activities. She took a membership position with the University of Utah’s NPR public radio station in 1997, and worked in membership, marketing and most recently as KUER’s Content Director. In 2017, Tabish accepted a position at KRCL as the station’s General Manager. When Tristin isn’t listening to the radio, she enjoys traveling, camping in the Southern Utah desert, and rock collecting.
 
What is your first memory of community radio?
 
My best friend and I were in our early teens and our much cooler older sisters had discovered a radio station called KRCL. Of course, we started listening too.

Tristin at KRCL, 1995
My community radio gateway show was Behind the Zion Curtain, a Saturday night punk rock show on KRCL. The show’s name was a nod to Utah’s alcohol restrictions, at the time there had to be a screen (dubbed the Zion Curtain) that prevented customers from seeing alcoholic drinks being mixed and poured.
 
After departing from KRCL for a time, what qualities brought you back?
 
I missed being active in the KRCL community. I became an official public radio news nerd during my 20-year tenure at KUER and was fortunate enough to have learned a lot about how a public radio station works and how an organization can evolve over time. I missed being connected to music and with KRCL's legacy of civic engagement. I wanted to take what I’d learned at KUER and see how some of those ideas and strategies could work at KRCL to help the station thrive.
 
What most excites you about KRCL right now?
 
The people! The volunteers, staff, board, the musicians and activists and all of our community partners ... there’s an electric current that’s embodied in the station and to be plugged into that is exciting and invigorating. We’re celebrating our 40th year of broadcasting and we’re shining a bright light on the station’s history this year. I’m looking forward to digging up historical items from our wayback machine!
 
How have you cultivated good volunteer and community relations?
 
Our listeners love putting a face to the station, so it’s important for us to be visibly present and interact with our neighbors and friends throughout Utah. Last year we sponsored 50+ community events throughout the state, and at many of those events we broadcast live and/or staffed a booth. We couldn’t do this without our corps of 200+ volunteers. Tonight we’re taking them bowling as a way to say thanks for everything they do!
Tristin at KRCL, now
How have you navigated programming demands as your city and media options have grown?
 
KRCL is available in more places outside of the radio than ever: people can listen to our programs on-demand, they can stream us online or listen live with our mobile app... and so it's important to us that we're meeting their expectations every time they're with us. We've done member and listener surveys, collaborated with public and commercial radio consultants, kept up on industry research and best practices, remained open to feedback from our community and used old-fashioned gut instincts to navigate programming demands. Framing decisions through the lens of our mission statement has helped keep us focused.
 
If you could encourage another station to steal one of your successful ideas, what would it be?
 
Create a unique niche and then promote the heck out of it. Our midday feature, Women Who Rock (WWR), highlights music from women across genres every weekday at noon. The feature has built a following through live interviews and performances with local musicians, a daily curated set with artists ranging from Nina Simone and Janis Joplin to M.I.A. and Lucius, and a killer logo. Several months ago our midday host, Eugenie, sent a WWR T-shirt along with a get well card to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was recovering from a fall. Then this happened.
The idea is to build excitement around one thing that you do and share it. Who knows who will respond!
 
What is the biggest puzzle you have experienced as a manager that you have found a solution for?
 
So many problems are solved with a really good accountant. We hired our accountant shortly after I started at KRCL and she's been instrumental in helping us improve how we operate as an organization.
 
What is something that didn’t work out as you hoped, and what did your station learn from it?
 
Audience numbers can be tough. We throw our hearts into the station, only to see a significant dip in cume now and then. My program director and I remind each other that audience numbers are one tool to quantify the station's impact and that they don't reflect the entirety of our public service. Audience data is an ongoing source of personal growth for both of us!
 
If current-you manager met new-manager you right now, what would you share with her?
 
You’ll be surrounded by the most incredible network of people cheering you on and willing to help you in all the ways that they can. Accept their help with an open heart!
 
 

Covering healthcare

According to Gallup, 71 percent of Americans believe the healthcare system is "in a state of crisis." That number is identical to the number of Americans polled shortly before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 with negative views of the nation’s healthcare system. What’s more, respondents say Republicans and Democrats both shoulder nearly equal blame for the current healthcare morass. Nevertheless, Americans are increasingly of the opinion that government should be more involved in healthcare matters.
 
In short, the view is unfavorable and has not changed in nearly a decade. Delving into the why and the stories behind it may be a new engagement opportunity for your station.
 
The simmering dissatisfaction with healthcare is rooted in many perceptions as well as realities. Debates over the Affordable Care Act, views of drug companies, and hospital billing are among the top subjects that generate opinions. In addition, the cost of medical care and coverage is creating stress for many more Americans. Skyrocketing bills are pushing people to make difficult decisions related to their lives and health statuses. Healthcare access in rural and Tribal communities exposes many more disparities, including fewer doctors and a need to travel farther, at added costs and lost work hours. No matter where you live, chances are there is an untold healthcare story your station can bring light to.
 
As the 100-year-old Commonwealth Fund states, more attention to the healthcare crisis is needed. “The free flow of information is essential for identifying and correcting the underlying systems failures. Transparency is also the key to successful—and ethical—responses to patients when things go wrong. It is the cover-ups that lead to lawsuits. And transparency is essential for accountability, to show the public that the hospital or system responds ethically to its failures. Internal transparency begets external transparency—and vice-versa.”
 
Healthcare in your community offers your radio station a chance to talk with nontraditional audiences, as well as your loyal listeners, in new ways.

Some methods for talking about healthcare in your city and/or town include:
  • The Center for Health Journalism offers your station tips on covering health care costs. Reporter Sarah Kliff started investigating this issue after discovering emergency rooms’ massive facility charges being passed on to patients. “Starting with a personal story can make the stories on an otherwise abstract issue really resonate with readers. For example, in her recent ER piece, she opened with a man who experienced back pain after moving furniture. His quick emergency department visit delivered a $3.50 muscle relaxant and an overall bill of $2,429.84.” Kliff’s efforts for Vox have yielded a large health care billing database being offered for your local use. Just complete this form to get access.
  • Journalist Chad Terhune shares his techniques for covering health care on the Association of Health Care Journalists website. His Bill of the Month series revealed the extent of health care billing locally. “The high school teacher in Austin, Texas, got a bill for $108,951 from the local hospital that treated him for a heart attack last year. That was an astonishing amount, particularly since he had good health coverage through his employer and his insurer had already paid the hospital nearly $56,000.” By the way, Terhune’s coverage got the hospital’s owner to erase the debt.
  • Speaking of tips, Politico’s Joanne Kenen recommends seven ways for your station to approach healthcare reporting. Top of the list? Looking at drug costs versus out-of-pocket costs (better known as what you pay). “That cost ends up being distributed elsewhere,” Kenen said. “It might go into our insurance premiums, and we’re all paying an extra dollar or two dollars or whatever. But it’s not actually bringing down the cost of the drug.”
  • If you are interested in veterans and covering the impact of surgery on communities, an essential resource is the Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program, a sizable database of medical procedures conducted by Veterans Affairs. While the data is public, access to it is protected due to privacy concerns. Learn more here.
  • Do schools in your community still have school nurses? Layoffs and increased workloads have made the hiring of school nurses a centerpiece of recent California teacher strikes. The National Association of School Nurses is now collecting data on how much work is involved in campus healthcare. Where school nurses fit in your city or town, and school district funding for them, might be a fresh approach for your coverage.
  • Journalist’s Research suggests coverage of obesity must expand the narrative to reflect societal factors. “Research suggests that a great deal of coverage has focused on personal responsibility, though increasingly environmental factors and individual factors out of one’s control, such as genetics, have received more media attention. Findings conflict as to whether shifting the framing of coverage of obesity has the ability to shift individuals’ attitudes toward its causes.”
  • In September, a provision of the Affordable Care Act will see the release of information on payments made by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to all U.S. doctors. You can get a head start looking at this information now, however. ProPublica has released Dollars for Docs, a database of payments made by 15 companies that report this information publicly. This represents billions of dollars paid overall. ProPublica encourages stations to do localized reporting and allows you to download the data.
If you are interested in growing your community radio journalism and programming, you are encouraged to register for the 2019 Community Media Conference. The conference takes place June 18-20 in San Diego. With tracks on engagement, content, revenue and organizational capacity, this is the gathering to attend to amplify your station. You can register here today.
 
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