Ask the President: Bill Kling discusses new MPR building

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Minnesota Public Radio president Bill Kling is in the MPR studios to talk with host Gary Eichten about the station, the new MPR building, and topics on the minds of MPR listeners.

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(00:00:10) And good morning. Welcome to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten. Glad you could join us you drive by our studios here in downtown st. Paul. You will be treated to the gentle sound of jackhammers pounding away on the pavement those folks in the hard hats are not Intrepid MPR reporters digging for news. They are construction workers doing some of the preliminary work on the new 41 million dollar Minnesota Public Radio headquarters building groundbreaking is scheduled for June 22nd Work is expected to be completed in about two years. Well, Minnesota Public Radio President Bill Clinton has come by our Studios today to talk about the new building and take any other questions you might have about what's going on here at Minnesota Public Radio. This is ask the president day great chance to learn more about what we do and why we do it. And so we invite you to give us a call with your question six five. One two, two seven six thousand. That's our Twin City area number. Five one two two seven six thousand outside the Twin Cities 1-800 to for 22828 or as always you can send in your question or comment online. Just go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question Bill. Welcome back. It's nice to be here. Why do we need a new building? (00:01:29) Well, we ran out of space in this one girl, we built this building in 1979. We ran out of space and excuse me you 1995 we started looking at 1995 at ways in which we could expand it. And the only thing we could do at that point was to rent space. So we're now running a full floor over in the piper Tower. We've got two floors in the building to the north of us and one of the problems is that we've got a staff that's working for a Communications company that's trying to make programming and they're not working together the people who are working on a web version. Over radio program in some cases are in the building to the north of us people working on the radio version or in the building in the middle of the people that are working on marketing and presenting that to the public are in the building to the South. So the kind of interaction that makes for good programming just isn't occurring people don't see each other. They don't bump into each other. Secondly. It's very inefficient. We are renting space in buildings that are on the tax rolls when we're a nonprofit organization. So we're paying real estate taxes when we're not required to and it just is time to find a way to bring the whole staff together in one space. We didn't think we could do it in downtown st. Paul but the city came through and and enabled us to to close Ninth Street, which we will do and build the building straight north towards the Capitol building and it when it's done it'll have More Studios, we're out of Studio space as you probably know when you try to do production. It'll have more production rooms. It'll have more editing Suites all the things that go with the newer ways in which we now develop programming will be added in that building and it'll mean that we do more programming better programming probably a much more creative spirit in the company because people with creative ideas will be seeing each other which will make a big difference. (00:03:40) How will this be paid for is money is membership money being used for this the way the the stories of come out. It sounds like it's a private Capital campaign type thing so that the average Joe is $120 membership contribution is not being used for this. Is that (00:03:57) correct? No, the membership contributions go into the annual operating budget. We've raised about 33 million dollars from foundations from individuals. Corporations we hope to continue that but these are always funded by people who really believe in them who believe in the vision and who think that an organization or institution can make a difference. So if you look at the major museums the major theaters the major orchestras their major universities, they're all doing Capital campaigns in order to improve their programs in their facilities most often their facilities and they've had donors that have ranged from fifty million dollars in some cases for the universities to 15 million for some of the Museum's. We don't have any in that range yet the might be one listening today. We would love to talk to you but it'll come from people who feel strongly about making sure that NPR has the kind of production Center the kind of factory to make the best programming we can make that Will serve 700,000 people who live all over the state of Minnesota. (00:05:12) All right, let's let's get to our listener questions right away. Bell. First one is an online question from Mark and st. Paul and Mark asks does Minnesota Public Radio have National aspirations? How does expanding mpr's National profile serve minnesotans who are funding this growth? (00:05:33) Well, it's a it's a complex answer we have been Doing National programming since National programming really became possible. We started in the late 70s producing programs that we thought were important for Minnesota to have a Prairie Home Companion was a great example of that. It was one of the first that we did sound money was one of the very early programs these were programs we wanted to have but we couldn't afford the budget to do those. Well can't be supported by a single public radio station. But when you send them out nationally and you charge stations to carry them which we do you can aggregate enough money to do a good job in providing those National program. So it comes down to our number one reason is that we want better programming for our audience and the best way to do that is to share it with other audiences and help them pay for it. Second thing that we found is that we have been able to identify new Talent people know that we're a national Producer so they come to us with new ideas and programs that wouldn't exist. Otherwise programs many of which I hear about all the time wouldn't exist. If we hadn't been doing that and had attracted the idea or the talent the people that want to come and make that program. So they're all kinds of benefits to listeners in Minnesota because we're doing it. There are also lots of benefits to stations around the country and one of our one aspect of our mission is to strengthen public radio nationally to the extent that we can add value to two stations elsewhere by giving them strong programming that they can't develop themselves. They're better and public radio is better. It is able to increase its resources and overall as you've listened to it since the early 70s when we first got together and said, we want a national program called national public radio and we formed National Public Radio. There were six or seven of us that were To to aboard to do that and we created All Things Considered today people would say well, of course you did. I mean, we we expect all things considered we expect Morning Edition. Those are some of the benefits of Thinking Beyond just what we need to do locally though local is very very much on the Forefront of our agenda. (00:07:59) This is ask the president day a bill cling Minnesota Public Radio president is here in the studio great opportunity. He comes by periodically great opportunity to take get your questions in as to what happens here at Minnesota Public Radio why we do the things we do and also if you have suggestions about things that were not doing that we should be doing. This is a great opportunity to get your comments M65 12276 thousand or 1-800-222-8477. You can use our online service Minnesota Public Radio dot org is our web address and then click on send a question. Another online question for you Bill Judith from Minneapolis says didn't we just have a membership Drive? How many are there during the year and we'll add on to that Sue's question who says your pledge drives are torture a nun PC term at the moment. I know she says they're tortured a listen to do they have to be so long and so intrusive. (00:09:06) Well, we keep hoping we'll find another way to do them. Actually. I thought that the the membership drive that we did in February was one of the best I've ever heard. It really had much more to do with the rationale for supporting public radio and a little bit less to do with premiums and tote bags and other things but the answer the first question is there are two major fund drives a year one in the fall and one in the early spring. At the end of the fiscal year our budget year ands, June 30th and to make sure that we have a balanced budget. We almost always have to have a short membership Drive. There's a difference the the Spring Drive of the February Drive can be seven or eight days. The drive in June is just to tidy up the Loose Ends and that tends to run three days something like that for days. Whatever is necessary to balance the budget. So we do it to have a balanced budget. This is an organization's had a balanced budget for as long as anybody can remember 25 or 30 years and that's a good thing and it's because listeners have have been very responsive. Could we find another way to do it? We keep thinking about it. We keep thinking that if we just said use the internet become members on the internet it would work. Well some do Some of our projections indicate that maybe as many as 30% of you would do that but 10 million dollars a year for the support of this public radio station comes in from membership contributions, and the only way that we've found to get people to join you and I suspect both of those questions came for people who are members to get other people to join you and and support the organization is the membership Drive. (00:11:00) Lots of questions have come in bill on the online already about Bob Edwards who will be on over the noon hour. We should note and then the long and the short of it is why was Bob Edwards replaced as the host of Morning Edition? And what was Minnesota public radio's position on the decision by national public radio replace him. (00:11:25) Well, we weren't consulted. We don't we didn't know any more about it. Then what you knew when you thread it in the Heard it on the air. I think it's going to be a great question to ask Bob when he comes in at noon today. One of the good things is you'll have access to him. Bob isn't gone and Bob is going to be a senior correspondent. Juan Williams for example is a senior correspondent and I find some of the most thoughtful interviews that I hear on all things considered in Morning Edition are coming from the work that that Juan is doing I'm expecting the same from Bob. So we're not really losing and we're just shifting him and national public radio has admitted to everybody that they didn't handle it very well, but everybody comes to a point at some time when you've got to make a change and they felt that it was time to make a change and they they did it. Did they misjudge it a lot of people would say, yes. Are we still going to have Bob and have his value and public radio he we will that's the good part online (00:12:27) question from Dave and Rochester why no full-time internet streaming. Yo of both the news and music networks, almost every other major NPR affiliate National Public Radio affiliate. Does this well a lot of (00:12:42) them? Want to put the money into it one of the things you need to understand when you stream audio on the Internet. It's like a it's like a big hose, you know the broadcast when we when we broadcast out of a transmitter doesn't make any difference whether there's one person listening or a million people listening. It doesn't cost us any more. We pay the same amount electricity to run that transmitter on the web. It's like a garden hose and each person that uses a stream of programming if you're listening to our music on proton on the web you're taking a little bit of the water out of that hose and when 25 people start using it, you gotta buy a bigger hose and when a thousand people start using it, you gotta buy a pipe it costs the producer for each one of those users almost like a moment. It's almost like you're making a collect call to us to listen to our content and we decided that That until we find a model that enables you to pay for that. It was not a good use of our members money to be streaming audio now that there have been a lot of changes. There are more economical ways of doing it than there were a couple of years ago and we're looking at that it's much less expensive to cash things on the web so that you can come in and click on something. We did you could this this interview for example will be on the web and you'll be able to listen to it on your own time that doesn't cost very much but streaming costs quite a bit and we really have to think hard about making those expenditures you say a lot of other stations do it. A lot of them are parts of colleges and universities where they actually don't see the expense. It's part of the college and university internet budget and they don't really have any need to pay for it we do and we're careful (00:14:47) of it Susan your question for Bill Klein. Oh hi, mr. Cleg. I'm a I'm a total fan and longtime member and my radios are only two 91.1 in the car and at home and I listen all day. I specially Speaking of faith and Splendid Table and I only have one big pet peeve about Minnesota Public Radio. And that's what I find your local stories when reporters do a longer format story about Minnesota issues. I find they just drone on and on I find them to be really painfully repetitive and I just find myself clicking the radio off. I just would love to see a better editing and Tighter, you know, get to the point have a long interesting feature about Minnesota, but boy, you know, tell it to me just a little little speedier. I think (00:15:31) well, I understand what you're what you're referring to. Sometimes it's driven by the clock and we've recognized that here that will have a three-minute opening in one of the news magazines like all things considered and we've got to fill it and sometimes we allow the story to go on longer than we should we've criticized that internally ourselves. It's we are tightening it up. We are trying to get to the specific point without The value of the story. Sometimes we have a little more information on a story than an individual listener might want but there are listeners out there who are dying to learn more about it. And there's a trade-off between between the two repetitive notice. There's not much of an excuse for that. We're also as you may know telling you regularly that you can go to the web and listen to a longer version of the interview. So there are ways for us to get around it. Appreciate your comment and we are not unaware of it (00:16:30) James your question. Hi Gary. Hi Bill. I'm wondering what happened to Don commercial radio seems like there's such a proliferation of basically commercials for business and corporate sponsors, and I'm wondering if there's any way to reduce that or cut back on it. (00:16:47) Well, it's one of the key elements of support for our local programming here. We receive about 5.6 million dollars a year from Underwriters. We don't have commercials and in commercials say come on down by one. Now. This is the hottest product on the market. We can't qualify the products. We can't call you to action to go and do anything about it. We can describe them. The FCC felt that was a kind of a middle ground that would allow us to generate money in sufficient amounts to increase the quality of public radio and it made a huge difference that was done in a commission that that I was a part of in the mid-80s and the FCC had the option of allowing full commercials. They could do that any time they wanted on public radio. I recommended against it, but I did say that just being able to mention the name of an underwriter was Just not working. They wasn't worth it to Underwriters to say this program is made possible by General Mills period so we came up with something. We called enhanced underwriting that it lets us describe the product or service but not to to get into the hard sell commercial and I think if you listen, you know, some of us listen to public radio so much we don't listen to what's happening Elsewhere on the been tuned over to some of the commercial stations and you'll see an extraordinary difference 17 minutes out of the hour of Hard Sell commercials. So I think it's a pretty good balance and to me to be able to use that underwriting money to strengthen. Our programming is a good trade-off as long as we keep it in check and don't don't take it too far and we examine the announcements all the time every once in a while one slips through and I'll shout and scream about it or somebody else on the staff will that we think has gone too far. And they get turned back to what they should be. Mike your question. (00:18:53) Yes. Good morning. I really like NPR and I'm a little concerned and my question is why are you accepting money from Walmart you Town Tim PR is building a community and Walmart. If they are underwriting you has very questionable labor practices. They destroy communities they engaging discrimination and then way your to me at no better than politicians that will accept money from any source as long as you get the money. That's my question. (00:19:20) Well, first of all were not Minnesota Public Radio is not the Walmart underwriting that you here comes from National Public Radio National Public Radio doesn't accept advocacy underwriting. They won't accept an ad that that is for a political cause or for a controversial subject, but their ads for Walmart are pretty straightforward their underwriting announcements. Are you have a very strong opinion of Walmart National Public Radio would probably tell you that it's not their job to go in and look at every issue of a how a corporation operates their legitimate corporations that are being allowed to operate their meeting the requirements of the SEC for listing their stock on the stock exchange. And where do you draw the line between who should and who should not be allowed under I think of the number of opinions that people in our audience today, there are 700,000 people in Minnesota alone listening to Minnesota Public Radio this week think of the number of opinions that they would have on who should or shouldn't be allowed to underwrite. So we've drawn the line ourselves. It's saying no advocacy messages, but and we haven't been offered the opportunity to have a Walmart has an underwriter National Public Radio is made that judgment and they made it on the Is that they don't believe Walmart is advocating for any cause they're simply supporting public radio. (00:20:57) Let me put together a couple of online questions having to do with bias in news coverage. First of all, Chris from Plymouth says, I'm always trying to get friends to listen to public radio, but often I get the comeback quote. It's just liberal bias. Chris asks, how do I defend against that? Meanwhile, we've had some other online questions suggesting that we are catering Minnesota Public Radio is catering to Republicans and Carla from Minneapolis says, how do you respond to the criticism that fair and balanced reporting can actually mean just more noise and less truth? (00:21:35) Well, that's quite a bunch Gary to throw at me and you'll find new employment tomorrow the I told people this was (00:21:45) going to be the last broadcast today. So (00:21:48) those are such complex questions. I had a call the other day from a supporter of ours who is a self-described conservative very strong conservative and he said, you know, I I suddenly realized that what I was asking you every time I called you to complain about a report that you had I was asking you only to broadcast things that I already agree with. He said it took me a long time but I got there now. I now understand what you're doing. Your you are giving me perspectives of people across the board so that I can make my own decisions. I know what other people are saying. I'm getting much more value out of what you're doing. And and I Now understand you are right where Should be in terms of what I need from you you're helping educate me on what others are saying. So he kind of got it instead of saying I just want to listen to things from people that I agree with. There's not much point of that. You already know what you think. If you want to know you want that thought challenged if you want your thinking in any way broadened by hearing what others are saying on either end of the spectrum, then you can get that we think from the from the views that we provide but I did just pick up something that was published. I just got this about a half an hour ago. If something was published in Newsday, which I think I consider a pretty solid newspaper in New York, May 25th. If you want to look it up on the news day website, May 25th, 2004 and they got an article. It's his Watchdog group report. Most national public radio sources are conservative and they do a whole series of analysis saying It individual Republicans were NPR's most popular sources overall taking the top seven spots and frequency of appearance and they go on and on. NPR we think is balanced. If I had to be honest with you, I'd say we get more criticism that it it tends towards liberal points of view then that it tends towards conservative. But here's a study saying it actually is more conservative. I think the answer is it's doing just what the listener who called me said and had learned himself. It's presenting the entire scope of perspectives so that we can learn and we can become smarter better people and we know what else has is being discussed. It's awfully important if you're going to have a democracy that functions. Well, you really need to understand the Spectrum the spectrum of opinion. So I hope we're doing that. Well, and I think the fact that Justin your questions Gary we had someone saying we were too conservative or in the hands of the Republicans. And another that said we were too liberal and In the hands of the Liberals says to me we're giving both without any intention on our part to take anyone's side. We just want you to hear what people are saying and hear their positions (00:25:01) Minnesota Public Radio President. Bill Clinton is our guest this our a midday. This is ask the president day on midday your opportunity to get your questions into the president company find out what happens here. What's happening here at the radio station and why also great opportunity to make suggestions. Give us a call six five. One two, two seven six thousand or 1-800 to for 22828. You can also use our online service go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question and we'll get to more of your questions here in a couple minutes programming is supported by blandin Foundation based in Grand Rapids dedicated to strengthening rural Minnesota communities through its leadership development programs grants and public policy initiatives health Porting is supported by Fairview University Medical Center where together with University of Minnesota Physicians clinical Innovations are discovered in used for the benefit of patients. They care for more information at 1-800-805-3030 special about Minnesota Public Radio. You hear it during all things considered this week finds Vice President Dick Cheney in the spotlight only here at during weekend edition. Every answer today is a familiar phrase and the form of whenever you listen, it's their financial support from (00:26:18) listeners. It makes all the (00:26:19) difference do something special today contribute online at Minnesota (00:26:24) Public Radio dot-org. (00:26:29) Let's catch up on the latest headlines years got a Cunningham gotta thank you. Gary. Good morning. Federal officials will use a news conference this afternoon to draw new attention to some Terror suspects. They've been pursuing for months. They've said new intelligence indicates terrorists may be planning an attack in America possibly linked to high profile events coming up in the summer jurors deliberating murder charges against Oklahoma City Bombing conspirator. Terry Nichols have asked the state judge for a dictionary, but the request was denied the panel began its deliberations this morning in Oklahoma after hearing to starkly different versions of nickels role in the 1995 blast. The defense says he was manipulated prosecutors say he was a mastermind Nichols faces 161 counts of first-degree murder from the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. He's already serving a federal life sentence for involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy the u.s. LED multinational Force sent to Haiti will try to help get Aid to victims of severe flooding officials now say 500 people are dead and hundreds are missing. I made the In Haiti and neighboring Dominican Republic Searchers collected a hundred corpses in a town about 30 miles east of the Dominican border in Regional news Governor. Tim pawlenty is meeting today with dfl Senate leader. Dean Johnson plenty says, he's going to encourage Johnson to hold a vote on the gay marriage issue. The republican-led house voted to let Minnesota residents decide whether to ban same-sex marriages by the dfl LED Senate defeated the proposal in committee and blocked efforts to bring the bill to the floor Senate leaders. Say the amendment shouldn't be on the table during a special session a pawlenty and his Republican house allies want the issue discussed. If a session is called the forecast for Minnesota calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms Statewide today with high temperatures ranging near 55 along Lake Superior to near 75 in the southwest right now in Rochester. It's sunny and 56 Moorhead reports Fair skies and 63 skies are sunny and Sioux Falls and 61. It's sunny in Duluth and 56 and in the Twin Cities Sunshine a temperature of 61 degrees Gary. That's a look at the latest news. Thanks Greta. About 25 minutes before twelve over the noon hour national public radio's. Bob Edwards is going to join us. Bob is out with a new book about the patron saint of broadcast journalism Edward r-- Murrow book is titled Edward r-- Murrow in the birth of broadcast journalism. Bob will be here to talk about the book and I'm guessing that you folks will have some questions for Bob about his career as well. Of course, he for the better part of twenty five years was the host of Morning Edition. He is now a senior correspondent at National Public Radio. So that's coming up over the noon hour this hour of Minnesota Public Radio President Bill Clinton is our guest and he is here to take your questions about Coach goings-on here at Minnesota Public Radio. We have a full Bank of callers. So I'll give you that number here in a couple of minutes, but you can send in your question online if you prefer there are web address again is Minnesota Public Radio dot-org click on some to question. Let's get back to the caller's Leslie. You're next. Yes. I wanted to know what happened to sound money. I've known. In the last three months the programming has really changed and I'm an avid MPR listener and I've been very disappointed. It's such a strong program and it really has been kind of the Everyman guide for financial matters. And I find that it is appearing more and more like People magazine and I want to know what that's about why that decision was (00:29:51) made. Well, we decided to put some money together with the finance team that produces Marketplace. So it's now produced out of studios in Los Angeles. Chris Farrell is still very much a part of it answering your questions. I think I'd agree with you that it's a little less tactical in terms of answering specific listeners Financial questions. What we're trying to do is make sure that it has a large enough audience to survive and sometimes the very specific question and answer programs that the that Narrowly on what do I do with my mortgage kind of thing are interesting. They're always interesting to me, but they're they're they're not likely to draw a large enough audience. So what we're trying to do is balance stories of more general interest with specific questioning and I'm not sure we've got it quite right yet and I'm glad to have your comment on it will pass it along (00:30:47) Cheryl your question. I first of all wanted to know what happened to Tom Chilton and then I really like what Kyra still has done with some money. I like the piece and I've enjoyed what Marketplace does and so I wanted to say that I like the variety of of what you've done with some some money and I was hoping that it would continue. I think I raised all is very Innovative. I think in terms of Tom Shelton. I think he's on a special assignment right now Bella not absolutely sure of that. (00:31:23) But you know that I don't know either. I didn't know that that he was missing too. John the courses as Saint Paul native, so we do try to stay in close touch with what happens to him a terrific reported for national public radio. And I suspect that we can get you the answer. (00:31:40) I think he's writing a book got a message here that there's some some rumor and speculation that he's busy right now writing a (00:31:48) book and I think he's working in Boston for WBUR while he's doing that. I don't know what the plan is whether he'll be back or not. But I if he's not back we'll miss him (00:31:58) anyway, so then you got a also got another comment on sound money with a with a endorsement of how the program has changed. Let's see. Here's an online question sort of related to that Mark from st. Paul's has recently MPR Minnesota Public Radio has retooled several programs is the goal to expand the audience. Will you sacrifice quality in order to appeal to a larger audience? (00:32:27) I don't think we will ever sacrifice quality. I think there are lots of definitions of quality. You just heard two. I mean, I think it's very interesting that we heard two people commenting on sound money who had different views of it. So no, we're not. We know what's happening in commercial broadcasting we hear it from you. We see it ourselves the fact that the president's address the other night was not carried by the major networks. Just another example of what is happening when consolidation and media has public companies which are very bottom line Focus trying to maximize the profits as they should for their shareholders, but it does take a toll in terms of public service and and particularly in terms of the quality of news programming we're doing just the opposite were making major investments in increasing quality. We have a project here called public. Inside journalism, which is attempting to find the smartest people in our audience and believe me, you are an awfully smart group of people to contribute to our knowledge base about any subject that we're reporting on so that we don't find you sitting in your car shouting back at your radio saying that's not the entire story or you missed a piece of that. We want to get that in early. Our commitment is very very strong to going in the opposite direction of what's happening to our commercial counterparts were solidly in support of strengthening the quality. We're trying to do it at a level that we can afford and the more support that we get from underwriting from membership from foundations from individuals that the higher the quality will be because our economic model is different. We don't have to generate funds for shareholders every dollar that's generated for this company goes back into the program product because there's nowhere else for it to go. So that's what that's the way we look at it. (00:34:25) Mike your question not so much a question as a comment that President Clinton I think it is right on the money when he says there is a good balance of reporting both from the liberal and the conservative Prospect perspective. I am consider myself to be quite conservative. And when I started listening to Minnesota Public Radio, I kept waiting for the Liberals plant that I hear from everybody. But in fact, it's possibly one of the best new sources for forming an opinion not only because of the balance but because of the more in detail story, you know, the longer reporting gives people more details and allows them to form a more educated opinion (00:35:09) appreciate that and you know that you're exactly right about the length of the stories, but that also is one of the things that causes some people to be concerned if you hear something you don't agree with And it's longer than usual you get more upset. So that's why I think we hear so many people saying you're too far this or too far that and labeling us so easily we are trying to give you a good solid understanding and we take the time to do it. Well (00:35:39) Barbara is on the line from Rochester Barbara go ahead place in just my concern is that every time it gets really windy in the Rochester area, whether it's raining or not. We lose our signal and it gets really annoying and I'm just wondering I moved here five years ago and became a member and it's been going on the whole time and I'm just wondering is there no one in the Rochester area that has complained about this. Is there no one monitoring the signal for you guys to know what happens. Okay, and then let me add on to that bill as you you know, we got a number of online questions here about the situation in Winona people complaining about the about the reception and (00:36:17) Winona. Well, let me answer both of them. First of all, we have two transmitters in Chester you should be getting an absolutely clear signal the wind has no impact whatsoever that I know of on it. We have not had complaints about Rochester. We do have a staff of five or six people in Rochester full-time that are listening we have monitors here, which tell us there's a great big sign in on the floor above Gary and me that currently is saying all systems. Okay, but if the Rochester transmitter were to go silent it would immediately say that on the on the the banner so that people would rush around and find out why so I don't know what's happening there, but we'll check it out and and see as far as Winona goes we've had a lot of questions about how to improve the signal in Winona because the transmitters from Rochester don't get down into the Winona Valley well enough we have boosters in Winona down in the valley, but the boosters aren't picking up the signal consistently well, And so what we're doing is studying a plan to move to a new site across the river in Winona where the reception for the translators for the little boosters will be solid and they will then push the signal back into Winona. It's so far the tests look very good. And if they continue to perform the way they are now, we'll be moving the translators over there. As soon as the FCC allows us to and Winona will be much happier (00:37:53) online question from Steve and st. Paul who says what possessed you to sell 1330 AM. That's a am stationed in the Twin City metropolitan area. For those of you not familiar. Steve says what possessed you to sell thirteen Thirty a m-- to yet another religious group when Al Franken and Catherine land for were in need of a Minnesota Outlet. (00:38:13) Well, we're really not terribly concerned about Al and we sold 1330 because it was a commercial business that we had started to support Minnesota Public Radio. We came to a point in valuation of that property where it was worth more in terms of an endowment than it was in terms of an operating entity. We could make more money on investing the sale proceeds in the permanent endowment from Minnesota Public Radio and taking a five percent return on that then we were actually making on on the operation of it. So we decided it was the right time we sold it to the highest bidder and the beneficiary of that is Minnesota Public Radio Al Franken and just going to have to figure out his own solution to his broadcasting problems Carrie. I did want to follow up on that blast Rochester question. We we have a satellite dish and I didn't I didn't understand this that is that can't be Fixed to the roof of our studio building for some reason and apparently when the wind is too high too strong it moves. It blows it a little bit out of position and when it does that it isn't seeing the signal anymore and there are times when the transmitter does go silent because of that. I didn't know that and it seems to me that that is something that can be fixed. So thank you for reporting it and we will find a way to fix it. And you know what there are a hundred thousand stories like that with 35 transmitters around the state of Minnesota and probably 40 or 50 microwave systems 18 or 20 translators and we have a wonderful technology department. They don't always know (00:39:57) everything I shouldn't have laughed but I call I could think about where the (00:40:01) golfers are used to chewed through (00:40:03) the broadcast cable and knocked a whole network off the air. This is a true story. Okay, Richard your next go ahead, please. Yes, when and how do you disclose your (00:40:12) financials? We disclose them on our website. If you go to Minnesota Public Radio dot-org, you can find all of the information about the company the mission statement the audited Financial reports anything that you need to know and if you don't see it there, you can send me an email or write me a note and I'll be sure that our Chief Financial Officer sends you a full copy of the audit which is fully available in disclosed. Anybody who wants it (00:40:42) now what those financials disclosure compensation (00:40:46) they do as does the 990 form which we file with the FCC art with the IRS every year that tends to be printed every year in the newspapers. It's also available if you go into something called guides to I think it's If I remember right you can look up the 990 of any nonprofit organization in the country and see exactly what their people are paid. (00:41:13) I wanted to ask you a question Bella another one that will get me fired here. This has to do with the filing that Minnesota Public Radio joined last month. I believe it was asking the Federal Communications Commission essentially to back off and it's cracked down on what it considers to be indecent programming. Why did Minnesota Public Radio get involved in that are we now in favor of indecent (00:41:37) programming? No, and we are very clear about that in the filing. What we were concerned about is that the rush to be on the politically correct side of some of the well it started with Janet Jackson in the Super Bowl was going way too far and it was it was becoming a very dangerous Rush towards censorship. There is a First Amendment. There is a freedom of speech right in this country. And and there are there are sensible regulations and there are regulations that just go beyond anything that that makes any sense. So seeing people rushing to Define exactly what you could say how you could say it. It never works. I mean you can find hundreds of ways any kid in a high school can find ways to get around any definition than anybody could print and what we were saying is we are not in favor of morning shock-jock smut radio matter of fact, I can't imagine that people get away with it to the extent that they do that audience is actually go for it, but they they get huge audiences in our case. We were saying this is headed towards a type of censorship that is not healthy for this country and we want it to be re-examined before it goes any further. Either so that's why we did that (00:43:10) Bell clanging is our guest this our president of Minnesota Public Radio. This is one of our periodic periodic ask the president questions here on midday your opportunity to ask your questions about what's happening here at Minnesota Public Radio. Not a lot of time left, but let me give you the phone number six five one two, two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight our web address if you want to send in your question online is Minnesota Public Radio dot-org Kelly has used the online feature Kelly from Rochester and it's and says it seems the number of female announcers has decreased is Minnesota Public Radio becoming a boys (00:43:48) club. Don't think so. One of our newest announcers is Carrie Miller. She will be doing mid-morning starting June 7th. She's been a solid journalist at Channel 11 television in the Twin Cities for the last eight years and she will be doing a terrific job. I'd I haven't got a current analysis of how many of our announcing staff and on-air staff are male versus female, but I think we are extraordinarily well represented and balanced (00:44:20) Russ. So your question, but more comment than a question to appeal to a wider audience. Maybe I'm not quite sure what the hell you do this but what on programming from say Pacifica Radio Network, which was aired locally. And then also maybe one of the am real conservative talk shows and to get again to appeal to a wider audience and Um to serve to serve a wider audience, that's my comment. (00:44:54) Thank you. We were always interested in New Perspectives. We tend not to pick up programming from people who have branded themselves the left right or otherwise, we would not for instance think it useful to bring Rush Limbaugh on and have him be a regular commentator on this station. He's got his own platform and he's made it very clear which side of the fence he's on Pacifica has made it very clear over the years that it's on the other end of the spectrum far left and we're not sure that we can trust the reporting that is done there. We don't know them well enough so we tend to go for sources that we've identified where we have where we're certain that what we're telling you is as accurate as it can be and and then we prefer to do that then to Others that that we don't know well enough to be able to make that (00:45:53) judgment Rick is on the line with a question right? Go ahead. Rick you're on the air. Yeah. Hello. Yes. You're on the air. Yeah. I just wanted to call him that because he programming you might be able to get a few more people interested in MPR all of the programming on some of the station wasn't classical music. There are some of us out here who's been accused of hiring a hundred and ten who don't necessarily listen to classical music all the time. Okay, I'll go off and listen to what you have to say about that. Maybe a folk show for a show. All right. Thanks Rick. (00:46:34) Well, we've got is you know the Morning Show on our we have one channel that's dedicated primarily to classical music all over the state of Minnesota. We do have the morning show which is a very eclectic folk Bluegrass just about any kind of music that's on there is one category though that we talk a lot about which is world music and we have some The kids within the company for finding a way to do more of that kind of music. It's an evolving discussion. Lots of interesting ways of where and how it should be presented but I don't disagree with you that there is increasingly a broader spectrum of Quality Music we can't do everything the stations that that are one hour of Bluegrass followed by one hour of Opera followed by one hour of of country music fail because there never would anybody expects them to be when they tune in so we don't want to fall into that trap, but we do we don't disagree with you at all that there are some forms of music that we should be thinking about how to include in some (00:47:41) way this raises the question Bill about satellite radio. How is that going to affect Minnesota Public Radio (00:47:47) the satellite radios in national service, we have our national programs on the Sirius satellite channel. You can pick them up if you want. It doesn't tell you anything about where you live. It doesn't tell you anything about the artists that are performing in your community. The theaters groups the broadcasts of the Minnesota opera or the Saint Paul chamber orchestra Etc. So we're much more on our classical music side much more locally and regionally oriented than any Satellite Channel ever will be we can tell you the everything from the temperature to the local news to to the weather the tornado warnings Etc. So it will be a component in the diversity of radio that's available and that's why we've put some of our programming on it in some cities. It's going to be more popular than in others. It depends on the mix of programming that you have available cause money you've got to spend ten to thirteen dollars a month to pay for it and we seem to have a challenge getting people to understand that concept as much as we would like, but it'll be there and we will be a player. With it, but we really believe that local programming telling you about the community you live in both on the new side and on the Arts and classical music side is the key to good radio reg Sho your question, (00:49:11) please yes. I am so disappointed that the Savvy Travelers not on anymore. I have a brother-in-law from Coon Rapids that he feels the same way. And I wondering we would like to know what we can do to get it back started getting back again. (00:49:29) Well, if you were Joan Kroc, you could give us 200 million dollars of she did to National Public Radio and we'd have a budget that we could enable us to do all kinds of things that you might like. I bet you're not and the problem was that it is much as we all liked it. And as long as we tried to keep it afloat. It just couldn't make it you remember if you were listening earlier. I said, sometimes we get a program that we want to have by sharing it with other stations around the country and having them by it. Not enough stations bought it to help cover the cost of producing it. So it became a negative 2R. We just we couldn't justify the amount of money that we had to put into it just for our local audience. And that's why we with much regret. We had to take it off the air. But if there if an underwriter came along and said we want to under write this program for a reasonable amount of money, it could be (00:50:25) resurrected not a lot of time left but a couple of more online questions here for you Bill. Number one from Glenna. Glenna says, it seems that MPR is going a bit of far afield with purchasing radio stations in California and houses on Lake of the Isles, please (00:50:40) explain. Well, we didn't purchase a radio station in California. We took on a lease of one which has a very modest lease payment to Community College Los Angeles doesn't have a very strong public radio by the standards that those of us in Minnesota are used to they don't have a dual-channel full-time news and full-time classical music service release. They didn't have what they now do we put a channel together with the supporters from California is a very strong board. They're very strong support coming in from the audience. Since now where it's serving that Community really well, so we're pleased that we were able to do that. It's a compliment to the Production Studio we have there and it's enabling our own National programs to be heard. Well, they're on the Lake of the Isles house. We got a wonderful offer. We got a huge contribution to our Capital campaign and my was our initiative to say we'll take this on and sell it and before there's any upside to the sale the contribution will be even larger. So it was a good thing to do and I assure you the board of directors Minnesota Public Radio was very much aware of what they were doing and it was something that over the long term will benefit this organization and in about a (00:51:58) minute here, if you would Bill Scott from Edina says, what's your vision of the role of MPR in 10 years more of the same but bigger and program initiation finances area (00:52:08) served well to do that in one minute is difficult, but one of the things we're doing is thinking about How content gets to people it isn't just radio anymore. It's through iPods. It's through iTunes. It's through the web. It's through the computer. It's through satellite radio. It's through events that we have lots of ways that we want to bring you more information more arts and performance programming that serves you. Well, we also are strengthening the quality of what we're doing. We have a very big initiative on to strengthen the quality of the news and information programming that we present. It's called public Insight journalism and involves the public in it for the first time. And if I had more time Gary, I'd tell you a lot more about it. (00:52:55) Well, we'll do it another time. Then you can talk some more about that. Thanks for coming over (00:52:59) glad to be here (00:53:00) Minnesota Public Radio President Bill clang joining us here in the studio for our ask the president program a periodic feature of midday. By the way, we will package up all the online questions anyway and passed them on to Bill and to the other managers here, so they get a chance. It's to find out what you folks are interested in now. We're going to take a break for news headlines. And then when we come back should be another interesting hour here on Minnesota Public Radio National Public radio's. Bob Edwards will be in the studio. Former Morning Edition host. He's out with a new book about Edward r-- Murrow, you've talked about the book in his career right after the news programming is supported by pic Wisconsin and the McGuire agency serving Physicians dentists in hospitals with professional liability insurance and Risk Management Solutions in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest on the web at Pi C This is Minnesota Public Radio.


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