April 2017

Convened at 7:37 PM

In Attendance: Amanda Guest, Forrest Guest, Noel Von Joo, Tom Tierney, Mai Le, Eddie Codel

Absent: Ben Russo

  • Forrest: Send out Monthly Board meeting invite

  • Eddie: Contact Rusty and Brian Zisk at Soma.fm to see if they had any suggestions or interest in BFF.fm

  • Tom: Schedule a time to tour the station and get familiar with the processes

  • Forrest: Create a google sheets doc for fundraising brainstorming

  • Forrest: Explore pre-empting the broadcast periodically to run a brief ad/spot

  • Noel to find out how much it costs to put a sign outside the building

  • Amanda to find out how much we should charge to share ads.

  • Tom to look into business underwriting and full commercials to present a summary next month

  • Mai and Amanda to meet on seasonal fundraising campaigns

Amanda: Focus should be on fundraising. In light of the rent increase, we should continue to raise funds. We did our first benefit event last weekend April 14. We made $280, which was the door charge, plus two t shirts and sticker pack. There were a lot of tourists, since the venue was on Haight Street. The next benefit is on May 10th at Virgil’s Sea Room. It will be to bring back cocktails for a cause. Tom at Virgil’s invited a few BFF DJs to play. The target is 50-100 attendees. The door charge will be a suggested donation. We will be a portion of the signature drink. The event will be 6-9 PM. Mai: We should all promote it widely on the channels we have access to. Amanda: was thinking it would be good to do a raffle. She did research and saw that in the past, cocktails for a cause organizations that were successful did raffles. We have dance lessons, a photo portrait, and acupuncture sessions. Amanda would like to ask a record store if they want to donate, and a few other partners if they have items to donate. Amanda is working with two separate groups of DJs to put on BFF branded shows. Loud and Local already bring in local bands, and they are looking forward to working closer together. Mai: where would you host that? Amanda: unsure. We have invitations to throw shows at Amnesia, Make Out Room, Bottom of the Hill and other venues. Amanda is working with Erica Delgado, who works with the Bay Bridged and Different Fur. She’s interested in doing diverse shows - all women or people of color - and was interested in doing those under the BFF banner. There will be a discussion in the next few weeks. There will be a meeting with Luke in the next week regarding the pop up beer garden idea. There hasn’t been much progress since the initial discussions. However, we just need to pick a location and pull the permit. A few weeks ago, Amanda donated to the ATA fundraiser, and the ATA organization mentioned in the fundraiser that they got a grant from the displacement for the arts organization. If you go on the grant website, they show the money they have given out in the past few years. $15 million has been allocated by the city to assist arts organizations. They are paying for the ATA to make the space ADA compliant. They have also given money to the Roxie, and arts organizations that are very similar to BFF. Mai: are we ADA compliant? Noel: we would need to have a comprehensive inspection done. Mai: Is that what we are looking for? Amanda: they keep organizations in the city, so it could be for the secret alley, or could just be the impetus for the station to find another space. They are working to keep arts organizations within city limits. Mai: What do you think we would ask for money for? Amanda: BFF will not be able to afford to stay here after next year. We are at a tipping point, the station can’t continue to grow without assistance. If we stay on this plan, BFF won’t be able to be here next year. Amanda did a passive twitter campaign, and we have 18 new supporters at $10 a month, but it doesn’t fully cover the increase. Mai: I ask what we want because the only way to know what they fund is to look at what they just funded. ADA is a little clearer of an ask, and they have already done some of that. I could do an outline for you. Amanda: I could send you a link, and you can look at it.

Action Item: Amanda to send Mai the information

Action Item: Mai to review the information

Mai: If they show what they covered, you can see what they cover. Amanda: All the things I’ve said are things they have done. Mai: Who? Amanda: I’d need to get back to you. The spaces that moved were probably social services or cultural agencies. It looks like we should apply, and then if we are accepted, they can decide what they want to help with. Mai: In my experience, we should be more directed. Amanda: we should discuss once you’ve had a chance to review. Tom: You found something exciting and it may be helpful. Amanda: There may be value in getting exposure to someone in city hall. Also, just the application process has shown us some grant sites and given us guidelines for getting our documentation together. Eddie: Are you familiar with the Awesome foundation? Amanda: We’ve tried several times. Some discussion of Awesome foundation grants followed.Mai: I have a fundraiser I’d like to do. I’d like to throw an underground brunch and give any funds raised to BFF. At the moment, there is enough open space to make it practical.

Action item: Mai to plan the fundraiser, or present a plan at the the next meeting

Amanda: I got a call this week from SF Weekly, and we won station of the year. The party is May 18th, Amanda will DJ to get more Ads.

Action item: Forrest to reschedule the next board meeting, which is currently on May 18th. Eddie would be better for the 25ht.

Amanda: We can move to the next agenda item. Tom was asked to present some ideas around underwriting/advertising. Tom: I didn’t print it, but I can send the plan.

Action Item: Tom to send the plan to board members

Tom: This isn’t a set plan, but this is what I was thinking. Easy ones: underwriting. Underwriting is something you say that doesn’t try to provoke an action, rather something like “This Segment Brought to you By”, Commercials will try to get you to take a specific action. Other obvious ideas are sponsorships and

One idea that works is getting a sponsored blog. For example, Mission Mission has a partnership with Pop’s. Pop’s pays a monthly fee to have a sponsored post. A suggestion would be to propose our top 5 shows meet with the board to discuss which sponsors would be a good cultural fit. If the DJs are part of the process, this could make it easier to understand. Nothing final, but for $250 a month, you get a 30 second spot, and a lead in and lead out, and possible cross promotion. This may be a better solution, as some owners pay blindly to fund blogs. Eddie: do you have coupons or other tracking? Tom: No, we just pay them and assume we are getting value. I wouldn’t want to ruin the atmosphere of the station, but I think the DJs would be happy to help the station. At one of the past Board meetings, many of the board members were saying “DJs don’t do that”, but when I started the bar, many people said “bartenders won’t do that” but they are happy to participate. DJs have contacts and talents that they may be happy to lend to the success of the station. Eddie: what do bartenders do? Tom: Some of my most successful nights are when I have asked bartenders for their input. I’ve done some basic math. 7 days a week, 10 shows a day, 2 hours per show. $250 per show, means $18,000 per month. If we only have a 50% takeup rate, we may expect $9,000 per month. The problem with fundraising is that it’s not predictable. If you have a constant revenue stream, you have options. With the bar, I could only afford to buy the liquor I would sell. But it’s cheaper to buy in bulk, so ultimately I was unable to put my revenue to best use. It seems like a better idea would be to get shows to try to get invested. Maybe even offer a live show once a month. Research with other radio stations showed that an average price was roughly $0.47 per spot. There doesn’t seem to be enough to make that worthwhile. Mai: It seems like the sales side is the most difficult part of the proposition. Most DJs have a full time job, and even putting together an event is a stretch. Amanda: what I’d like to propose is to have 1 or 2 point people who would talk to the DJ and also talk to the sponsor. Amanda already says that shows can be sponsored, but there have been quality issues in the past. DJs have pocketed the money or not fulfilled their promises. Tom: I imagine there would be a contact person. One of my early radio experiences was going on the pitch in a bear costume. I don’t think it would be a big ask to go out on sales calls. Mai: I think that’s part of the problem. Some DJs may not be willing to contribute much. Tom: Maybe we should look into the quality of DJs. Amanda: we only have one or two ‘problem DJs’, but this will be a bit of an experiment. Tom: no matter what we do, this won’t change overnight. Over time, we will create a model, and see if we can spread it to the whole station. Amanda: We should pilot this program, and see if the DJs can use their connections to get sponsors. Mai: You suggested the 5 most popular shows, which makes sense from the sponsorship side, but maybe it makes more sense to focus on the shows with the most committed DJs. If we picked from the crew who was dedicated, we may have more success. This will probably be easiest for us to fulfill our promises. Amanda: I agree with that. If they aren’t interested, it may cause issues with the sponsor. It’s more valuable if they are more engaged.How do we put this in place? Noel: just trial it with a few shows. Amanda: we just need to identify a few shows, and identify sponsors that may be a match. Noel: maybe some shows already have a match.

Action item: Everyone to review Tom’s proposal, and be prepared to vote or discuss at the next board meeting.

Mai: Is there a concern with Roll Over Easy, since Luke works for the city government? Amanda: there are work arounds, like having Chris read it. Tom: Part of the reason I’m thinking about it this way is that the cost per spot is so low, and they have numbers to show how many listeners you are buying. We don’t have that, what we do have is personal relationships. These relationships will drive that, to get the money to start tracking things. The relationships are the most powerful thing we have. Mai: I think that though relationships are more valuable for a small business, the radio station are a little different. It’s more of a utility. DJs have complained to me because they have to pay. They have to pay to volunteer. It has a different feel than asking staff at a small business to take on additional tasks. Tom: From the financial side, you can cut dues or remove them for the shows with sponsors. Amanda: a few people may have forgotten that they are paying the rent. Tom: We still may be able to do underwriting. Amanda: I’d prefer that model, and it’s already in use for podcasts. Tom: if we’re going to ask for money, there should be some value for that. IF ‘s just “we’ll mention you at the top of the hour”, there isn’t much value as a business owner. If we give them pre-made ads, there may be more perceived value. Mai: I’ve done corporate fundraising, and that isn’t quite what they are looking for. They just want to be part of the idea that if you’re a cyclist, you like Adobe. The question is, are we able to sell BFF as an idea that someone wants to be involved with. Tom: I think it’s both of those. Mai: They may think that they want the value, but that’s not my experience. I could do prepare some graphs that show listeners. Noel: We may need to check with KQED and other public stations to see if they can underwrite to see what they can claim on their taxes. Amanda: if we do commercials, we have to figure out the cash value of commericals and they can only claim the remainder. The path of least resistance to me is to mirror the non profit model. Tom: If we choose to go that way (which seems smart), we may want to package it in a way that incorporates both of those ideas. In order to get a large amount of their advertising budget, we need to give them something in return. Mai: We can put together packages that show the advertising value at $100 and they can see the value. Amanda: I think it will seem custom for everyone. Mai: That’s what it will end up being, no matter what. If the price is $2,500, the sponsor may only be able to spend $2,000. Maybe we should rough out a package, and then we can create a powerpoint or PDF to share. Eddie: have you ever done Sunday streets? Amanda: we have tried twice, but the problem tends to be power. We tried to get information beforehand to see if we can run an extension cord from a store, but they weren’t very good to work with. Eddie: it seems like a good way to get the name out. Tom: do you ever use the live events to raise awareness? Amanda: we bring the merch to every show we do. Tom: maybe we should get DJs to hustle, and try to sign up listeners. Amanda: we’ve never solicited memberships. Maybe because we didn’t have a good platform for that. Mai: we have the capability to do that? Amanda: Commit Change supports that but we haven’t done any sort of push for it. Forrest: we haven’t had a lot of engagement for people to hustle during the live events. Mai: board members are also an important part of the process. For Bike to Work Day, board members were at all of the stations. Amanda: It’s been difficult at events, because sometimes the volunteers treat it like it’s a party, rather than an event that they work at. Forrest: the last item we have is to set the date for the board member open house. Does anyone have a feeling for when would work? Amanda: Forrest and I will be out for most of June, so June would not be preferable. Mai: We should keep in mind the two ideals - trans lady person of color and someone with money to contribute. Tom: August? Does it need to happen soon? Noel: Mid July? Mai: Thursday? Sunday? Amanda: how about a weekday evening? Tom: Thursdays are usually good for that. Forrest: Early evening? Late evening? Amanda: rather than the may board meeting, we could have the open house then. Forrest: May 18th? It’s memorial day weekend, but that’s monday. Also, we’re only giving them 4 weeks. If they have plans, we aren’t going to win. Amanda: I selected the initial board, so my ideas are tapped out. I’d like to offer to put on the event, and have you all invite people. Mai: Like invite 10, and hope 3 show up? Noel: would they buy in to be on the board? Mai: That’s the usual model. Tom: do you know how much you want new board members to contribute? Amanda: Mai and I had discussed it, and it should be a meaningful donation. This may be a sliding scale. Mai: something like 2-5% of your income for the bicycle contribution.

Action Item: Board members to invite as many people as they think they need to to get 3 people to attend.

Closed at 8:50.