April 2021

April 15th 2021, San Francisco

Agenda

Opening Items

  • Review Agenda & Vote [Ben]

  • Vote to approve previous minutes [Ben]

Discussion Topics

  1. Consideration for Board: Brandon Paski

  2. Committee Updates

  3. Review Action Items

    1. Everyone should have reviewed the strategic plan beforehand.

    2. Scavenger hunt sponsorships.

    3. Tinitivities.

  4. Reviewing/revising the Strategic Plan

  5. Tom’s departure, and position of Vice Chair

Closing Items

  • Open for public comment

  • Any other business?

Minutes

Scribe: Ben Ward

Present:

  • Erika Delgado, Events Director

  • Amanda Guest, Chair, Executive Director

  • Caryn Kesler, Creative Director

  • Jenn Lemon, Treasurer

  • Ben Ward, Secretary, Technical Director

Guests:

  • Brandon Paski

18:11 — Convene, Vote on Agenda & Previous Minutes

Vote YES to approve the March minutes.

Vote YES to adopt the proposed agenda.

18:12 — Consideration for Board: Brandon Paski

Amanda: We had one vacancy on the board, prior to Tom’s resignation after month’s meeting. Brandon applied to us via our LinkedIn job posting.

Brandon’s introductory blurb is copied here:

Hello BFF.fm Board Members!

My name is Brandon Paski and I've always had a passion for radio and new music discovery. In 7th grade, Kim Vestal, a radio DJ for the now defunct 105.7 FM KARA, came and spoke at my school. When I realized that DJs were actual people, I knew I wanted to work in radio. I caught the music bug and started playing in bands in high school. Once I was in college, we started putting on shows in the south bay and hit the road. I spent the next 8 summers either playing on a DIY self booked tour or volunteering with my friend's bands. I've worked for an indie label managing various projects, was an assistant to the booking agent and I volunteered and DJed at KSCU.

While at SFSU getting my degree in Radio/TV, I started working part time at LIVE 105 and slowly worked my way up to Marketing, Promotions and Events Director. My collective radio experience spans over 20 years and I would love to keep it going and help BFF.fm grow! I once had a professor tell me, "If you love music, don't get into radio. Radio has nothing to do with music." I absolutely hated that statement and always tried to keep that in the back of my mind throughout my career. Radio is about music... but not only music, it's about serving the community. I think you have built something special here that can serve the community and I would jump at the chance to be a part of it. Thank you.

Amanda: Brandon has a lot of really relevant marketing experience that is a big gain for BFF, and has experience from the industry that we haven’t had present on the board before. We want BFF.fm to be a professional-grade radio station, but not fall into the traps of a commercial station, and is something that Brandon and I shared sentiment about.

Brandon: I did work in commercial radio, street team at Live 105, oversaw brand transition to 103. Started out in college radio. My passion has always been about radio, I love radio, I love the community aspect, I love that it’s local. The internet can be a little different but still focused on the community. I’m a musician as well; have played in bands. I had taken some time off and was now looking to get back involved in a project. Plus I was jealous that BFF.fm kept winning at the SFWeekly awards.

Amanda: I love a good “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em story”.

Caryn: What would you like to accomplish in this role?

Brandon: Talked with Amanda about the station priorities. I think you’ve got a great plan. I would like to get the word out more; brand awareness, differentiate from terrestrial radio, grow listenership, grow interactions with listeners. Find ways for the station to get more involved in the community.

Eddie: What is your favourite local band right now?

Brandon: A friend is working with Andrew St. James. First that comes to mind! I’d love to help boost local artists too; find opportunities to get them more involved in our shows. Maybe a street team.

[At previous role] I was the promotions director, I had some direct reports, with other departments to set up promotions and giveaways.

Caryn: In your mind, how long does it take to get marketing strategy planning in place; how long do you think it would take at a place like this.

Brandon: It could take a month, three months depending on weekly time commitments. I’d want to explore what you’ve already done. I’ve been looking at the social media that’s been running. I’d want to see what Google ads and social media ads that have been running, look at what’s working or not working so well, and build on that.

Ben: What would you like to get personally out of serving on this board?

Brandon: Volunteering is something I’ve been trying to do a lot more of. I’m involved in local clean-ups, etc. Being able to volunteer in radio is a great opportunity, and for BFF that I already know and think is great.

Amanda: Can you describe one idea you’ve had that you could apply to BFF now?

Brandon: I’d love to partner with local venues, see if we could get a name attached to an event, build on the Besties Bash and work to get the station out there.

Brandon: I still have all my contacts from when I was working in radio; I know things like working the poster room at the Fillmore is work that something of our scale could get involved with.

Caryn: Can you say more about your experience with online marketing?

Brandon: I have previously worked with Google Ads and social media targeted campaigns for promotion of the [Live 105] station. Doing targeted marketing through social media, which I’m sure changes rapidly, but I’ve got the fundamentals.

I’d also love to meet and talk with DJs and volunteers to learn more about they could get involved — maybe they’re a photographer whose work we can use — and look for ways to get people involved.

Amanda: Yes. I would like to get more serious about recruiting people to the marketing team. For example, I was speaking to someone who would like to be more involved in social media. I figured we’d have this conversation first.

Brandon: A frustration I found with commercial radio was the obsession with listener metrics and how that limited the music played.

Board vote YES to proceed to nomination

Amanda nominates Brandon Paski to the BFF.fm board, Ben seconds.

Board votes YES (unanimous) to have Brandon Paski join the board.

Welcome, Brandon! Amanda will follow up about next steps.

18:46 — Committee Updates

Events

Next week is the Besties Bash. Lee has been helping, emailing all the musicians, collecting all the videos. Amanda has booked the next two Bashes (a load of bands weren’t available for May, but could do June!) We have 3 for each, looking to see if we can add one more to each.

Do we think by June we’ll be considering in-personal events again? The rules suggest that indoor events will be possible again. We won’t be able to do anything until the Secret Alley opens up for hosting the events. Would be open to considering new concert opportunities outside, where our requirements for safety might be lower.

California expects to lift all restrictions on June 1st.

Our virtual streams have had higher attendance than our in-personal events used to. We’d like to come up with a plan to be able to stream the live events when we go back to it: Would require some equipment purchase, probably paying engineers.

Jen has a contact for an outdoor event in the summer that we can reach.

Marketing

We have Brandon now! He’s got a lot of ideas to get started on.

Fundraising

We don’t have a Tinitivity for April lined up yet. Might look to set up a small $250 target to replace some PA equipment.

Looking preliminarily likely that we’ll get a grant for $11,000 to replace our loss during the pandemic. There’s a summit in June to confirm this, which if we pass it we’d get money in late September. Would be our first grant!

Still waiting for feedback for some other grant applications. SF Grant for the Arts still pending which we’re excited about.

Met with Ben about the “Besties Pages” idea for our late spring campaign which will be focused on raising $10K and restoring some of out ongoing donors.

Scavenger Hunt: Reached out to lower tier sponsor prospects to try and expand the sponsor base. We have $7500 in commitments from different businesses. We think with our $500 sponsor level we can get a lot more, but we need leads. We can definitely afford to run the event with the amount sponsored so far; right now a break-even amount in terms of return, so everything we gain on top of this is to the benefit of the station. Currently exploring ways to integrate live music into the festivities. Going to proceed with the post-pandemic assumption that it’ll be safe to do things outside.

Caryn has reached out for further input into the fundraising plan for the hunt.

Tech

The “Get Involved” page is fully implemented, ready and waiting for Amanda to finalize the content in Creek. It can go live whenever; and will just require a small site update to add links to it elsewhere in the template.

No update on analytics. Ben will note to follow up with BenGG before he goes away on vacation.

Next technical upgrade is to enable bi-weekly scheduling in Creek. Almost ready to ship (handling dates and times is always annoying.) Next project after that is probably the Besties Supporters page, once the design concept is ready.

Board Development

We’ve added Brandon. Also still actively recruiting for Development Director. Some people are interested, but are taking some time to review our strategic plan so no timeline for bringing them on yet. Getting closer.

Music

We now have a Local Music Director — Devin Lane. Once he’s settled in he’s keen to do an outreach effort to local bands with a survey. We’d like to learn how people feel they are supported by various organizations in the Bay Area, try to identify how we might help bands out in a more meaningful way. And we’ll ask them questions about the scene in general and post-pandemic prospects. Goal is to get more local bands channeling music for playback on the station, live bookings, etc.

Finance

No updates this month.

19:18 — Reviewing/revising the Strategic Plan

Purpose of this discussion is to decide what we want to do with the strategic plan. It was written a few years ago, pre-pandemic. Especially in light of the pandemic and its impact on fundraising, we are now out of sync with the stated year-over-year goals. For example: We said within 3 years we’d have two additional staff, we said within 5 we’d have our own space.

The plan was for 3 years, and so we’re scheduled to fully revise the plan by the end of this year. Here, we want to review where we’re currently at against the plan, and consider if we perhaps just want to “patch” it, and offset the renewal by an additional year.

The published plan is available on handbook.bff.fm for BFF.fm members, and can be accessed via board.bff.fm for the public.

Initiative 1: Collaborative Model

I think we’ve found that a lot of DJs are really content doing their show and don’t have much capacity to volunteer beyond that.

We need to look for volunteers beyond the DJ community. Should we consider a plan for growing the volunteer base that goes beyond DJs.

We have established the board committee positions, but the committee themselves are not staffed as we would have liked.

We have other people getting involved too, but lots of opportunities to be more coherent in how we grow.

Initiative 2: Fundraising

This is where we largely got killed by the pandemic. We also strategically altered some aspects with outside advice (e.g. growing Besties by big numbers was deprioritised in favour of looking for large donors, but large donors didn’t emerge.)

Probably didn’t get the return on investment on our outside adviser as we’d hoped. But, in general, we likely just just need to try and get back on track here. Opportunity now with Jen as new treasurer to dig deeper into the financial planning, maybe build out some incremental steps.

Initiative 3: Audience Connection

Again, probably just need to tidy this up a bit. We don’t have a marketing strategy, although we have a content marketing strategy. Emergent work with blogs and podcasting, for example.

But, though we’ve made some progress that checks off items, Amanda stresses that we should keep this as an initiative, because we haven’t fully realized it yet. Still work to do.

Initiative 4: Local Focus

We’re making progress. A lot of community and local engagement efforts are delayed by the pandemic but there’s opportunity as things reopen.

Initiative 5: Permanent Home

Still needs to be a goal, and we’ve set some precedent for change with the move to the Ferry Building during the pandemic. But, we won’t be buying our own building in the next year!

Amanda: Need to have a conversation with Jen regarding funding some of these goals. The first version was based on some naive assumptions about bringing in more money year over year. Would like to figure out a more mature approach, look at how we can make partial steps toward some things (e.g. employing people part-time.)

Ben: I think generally the plan holds up. Can we be more specific about the organization impact of hiring people? So that hiring is not a goal unto itself?

Amanda: Specific roles in mind: Paying a development director which would have a direct impact on fundraising. Paying a music director would grow that role to go beyond handling incoming music to play, to doing outreach and making connections with bands touring through SF.

Jen: In an organization of our size hiring is a big decision, but agree that those two categories are the smart choice in terms of having an impact on the organization.

How might we revise it? It is otherwise due to be renewed for next year, and as a process was created through substantial external consultation. What we’d consider doing here is tweaking it and delaying that renewal to take into account what’s the post-pandemic situation.

When we originally put it together, we had a pro-bono consultant conduct interviews. It is supposed to be an exercise that incorporates the views of our stakeholders and community.

We are due to revise the plan in 2021, so we’re asking if any short-term edits should take us through to the end of 2022.

Doing this process the first time around took almost a whole year. So we’d hope to start the process for the more substantial update to start early next year.

Action: Board agrees that we should undertake “patching” this before June when we’d expect to publish an update. Amanda will try to follow up at the next meeting with proposed changes, with work happening in between.

We’ll figure out how substantial the process will be for the next full plan later in the year. We know we don’t want to rush into that now, since the world is still so uncertain.

20:13 — Tom’s departure, and position of Vice Chair

Between now and last month’s meeting, Tom Tierney resigned from the board. He needs to focus his time on running Pop’s Bar out of the pandemic, and regrettably is unable to commit enough time to serve BFF.fm as well. Other board members have already shared their thanks and appreciation for Tom’s service and input in communication outside this meeting.

Tom held the position of Vice Chair, which is now vacant. We need to fill that position, as it acts as understudy for the Chair and Secretary.

It is agreed that Caryn will take over as Vice Chair. (Begrudgingly.)

[Caryn dons a Pop’s Bar baseball cap, in respect of Tom.]

Board Vote YES to proceed

Amanda nominates Caryn Kesler to be the Vice Chair of the BFF.fm board, Jen seconds.

Board votes YES to have Caryn Kesler serve as Vice Chair of the board.

20:22 — Public Comments

  • No public comments this month.

20:22 — Any other business?

  • Ben will be away for the next two board meetings as he’s travelling to the UK. …Just as well we just elected a vice-chair. Will submit Tech Committee updates via email.

20:01 — Meeting adjourned.

The next meeting of the BFF.fm board is scheduled for 6pm on May 20th 2021. See https://board.bff.fm for more information.

Action Items

  • Amanda:

    • Get Tom a parting gift

    • Prepare updates to strategic plan

  • Ben:

    • Provide tech committee updates via email

    • Send Caryn instructions on publishing board notes