June 2020

June 25th 2020, San Francisco


Prior to the meeting, please add items for discussion here:

  1. Review Agenda & Vote [Ben]

  2. Vote on previous minutes [Ben]

  3. Vote on new Board Chair [Amanda]

  4. Vote on new board member: Caryn Kesler [Amanda]

  5. Spring fundraiser review [Amanda]

  6. Update on Initiative 5: Secure Home for BFF.fm [Amanda]

  7. New partnership: dublab [Amanda]

  8. Update on Besties Bash [Eddie]

  9. Open for public comment

  10. Any other business?


Scribe: Ben Ward


  • Amanda Guest, Executive Director, General Manager

  • Ben Ward, Secretary, Technical Director

  • Tom Tierney, Vice Chair

  • Erika/Eddie Deldago


  • Caryn Kesler

18:15 – Agenda & Minutes

Board unanimously votes YES to proceed.

Board unanimously votes YES to approve May minutes.

18:19 — Board Chair

  • With Will Craven having termed out, we need a new board chair.

  • Amanda: Reviewing the situation, we previously split the “Board President” role from my role when I was made an employee, out of concern for it being a conflict of interest. However, upon consulting with external advisors that isn’t really the norm; in the start up phase of an organization it would generally be the leader of the organization at both levels.

  • Amanda: Also noting that in the time since, I have continued to perform the actual duties — signing official documents and so forth.

  • Amanda: So I propose that we go back to the old way, with me as President and Chair.

  • Amanda: I would also like to set the board up to help any other member of the board develop the skills needed for them to server as president in the future to work on a succession plan, which may be more appropriate in the future.

  • Tom: I didn’t fully understand why these roles needed to be separate in the past, and from an efficient standpoint it doesn’t make sense to have it any other way while we’re in such a fast-paced environment. I wish it had been this way all along.

  • Ben: We had also discussed merging the Secretary role into Chair, since there had been some operation overlap in meetings. I’m not strongly wedded to this though. I would like to serve as President at some point, but I agree that at this stage of the organization’s development, it simply makes more sense to have Amanda in the role.

Amanda: I would like to raise a motion to merge the position of Board President and Chair of Board.

Tom: I second.

Board unanimously votes YES.

Amanda will now assume the role of Board Chair as part of her president role.

18:30 — New board member, Caryn Kesler

  • Amanda: I would like to propose Caryn as a new member for the board. She was the first BFF.fm DJ, has been with the station for 7 years, and is someone I’ve wanted to join the board for years. I would propose she join as Creative Director, she’s previously contributed to the website design, annual report design, and is working on the design for the upcoming BFF.fm podcast platform.

  • Tom: “Why do you want to join the board now?”

  • Caryn: I’m at a point where I can commit more time to things outside of work. Amanda has been asking me for so long and I’ve always been interested in it, but work has changed recently that makes it viable so it feels good.

  • Ben: “What would you like to learn by being on the board?”

  • Caryn: I’ve never been part of this kind of organization. Everything professionally for me has been marketing and tech, so I think it would be really exciting to see what I can contribute to something where monetization isn’t the number one priority. I’ve never thought about creative things from a non-monetizations standpoint, so to apply my skills to a different scope.

Amanda nominates Caryn Kesler to the board. Ben seconds.

Board unanimously votes YES.

18:45 — Spring fundraiser recap

  • Amanda. A success! Ended up raising over $11,000. Some corporate matching hasn’t come through yet so it may bump up a little more. Beating out goal of $10k.

  • Key lessons from this time around:

    • We’ve done spring/summer fundraisers in the past and they’ve not been terribly successful — last year’s Summer Sustainer was really flat and we didn’t understand why.

    • Things against us this time: Global Pandemic. We wondered whether we should even try to raise money right now. Especially as we’d hoped to replicate the success from the winter fundraiser with big events.

    • We had to reply a lot of targeted email, sent a lot more than previous campaigns. In trying to accommodate the global situation, we picked target amounts for previous donors that felt like a less significant request, was well personalized but did not get too granular.

    • The vast majority were asked for $10–$15; most respondents gave at least double was asked for.

    • We’re under the impression that a lot of our backers have the means to support us more than they have, and the current situation is making people very aware of supporting organizations like ours. We can look to further refine how we engage with them in the future.

    • Got great community participation too: Listener voicemails, bands recording jingles to promote the fundraiser.

    • Will continue working with Josef to refine how we engage with our biggest donors most effectively. Got feedback from one that the drip-drip of email engagement works; combination of the fundraiser outreach and the regular BFF.fm Newsletter.

  • Original goal was to raise between $15–$20K; but we split it into Spring and a follow up around the 7th Birthday. So, in the week around that, we’ll try and have a quick and effective raise for another $5K+

  • One goal was to increase engagement from DJs — that was hard this time around. A lot of people are just trying to get through the pandemic, so it’s understandable.

19:00 — Update on Initiative 5, Permanent Home.

  • A side effect of the pandemic is that there’s a flood of commercial property coming onto the market as companies move out of commercial spaces.

  • We had one candidate location to investigate, but we had ideological issues with the landlord regarding their history of aggressively evicting people from homes in the Mission, and we refuse to work with them.

  • However, we’ve developed relationships with the realtor and that’s opened up some more possibilities.

  • We had originally predicted that we would get into a new space within 3-5 years, but the state of the economy is such that we might see realistic opportunities much sooner.

    • In preparation for that, working with Josef to draw up two budgets for a move, so we have medium and large-scale funding plans in place ready to execute on if a space open up.

    • Josef has previously been able to secure very significant grants from local governments for local arts organizations.

19:07 — Working with Dublab

  • Dublab have been around since 1999, one of the established names in online radio. Amanda met with them to learn about how they got to where they are, looking for whether we could work together, learn from their success and so on.

  • They just got an LPFM, they have 4 employees and 4 others working with them. Seemed really well aligned with the kind of organization we could grow into.

  • We would like to work together, perhaps on some events, or merch. We agreed to come back to that.

  • Learned about Mixcloud Pro as a streaming target. Could be some interesting things to do there.

19:18 — Note on marketing

  • With Will leaving the board, we’re short on a lead for our Marketing Committee.

  • Amanda will follow up with people about how we fill that gap.

19:22 — Update on Besties Bashes

For the next one:

  • We’re trying to arrange the next virtual bash — bands are booked, we need to work with them to get the recordings done. We’ve exclusively booked black artists.

  • No target date in mind for the next one, given the extra pressures these artists in particular are under.

  • Tech-wise, we’ll probably use YouTube next time to compare to the experience using Twitch, and try to get us over 100 followers.

    • Also, noting on YouTube, when we met with KEXP earlier in the year, they have invested a lot in their YouTube channel.

Reflections on Virtual Bestie Bash #1

  • Really pleased with the quality of the production.

  • Around 90 people watched it live (non-concurrent), ~30 people watched all the way through. Pretty comparable to a regular Bestie Bash, so a nice balance.

  • All the recordings are up on YouTube now — launchpad for our own YouTube channel.

19:40 — Note on Fundraising

  • One note that we are not expecting to meet our grant goal, most grants are going to organizations in more dire straits and needing support to survive, so we’re getting rejections as we’re doing OK.

19:45 — Corona Studio Access

  • We have started to allow limited access to the studio for a small number of DJs have been unable to do shows from home.

  • Maximum 1 or 2 per day. Spaced out. Cleaning regime for the space, masks must be worn, protection pads for headphones.

  • Secret Alley has their own check in rules and number restrictions

  • In general, we will continue

19:53 — A minor digression about Animal Crossing

  • Ben got a Switch. We resolve to visit each other’s islands.

  • Tom makes no such commitment.

19:58 — Meeting adjourned.

The next meeting of the BFF.fm board is scheduled for 6pm on July 16th. See https://board.bff.fm for more information.

Action Items

  • Amanda

    • Meet with Ben to discuss priority Tech projects and Tech Committee goals.

    • Continue to work on goals plan.

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