MISSISSIPPI AUTHORITY FOR EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION
Regular Telephonic Meeting of the Board of Directors
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
MAET Administration Building
3825 Ridgewood Rd.
Directors present: David Allen, Chair, Peggy Holmes, Vice-Chair, and Pete Smith
Directors present telephonically: Andrea Mayfield and Bob Sawyer
Directors not present: Jennifer O’Neal
Staff present: Ronnie Agnew, Teresa Collier, Tara Courtney, Joel Gatlin, John Gibson, Jason Klein, Paul Moore, Claudia Singletary, Maggie Stevenson and Henry Williams
OPENING OF MEETING
Chairman Allen opened the meeting, and it was established that there was a quorum present to do business
Chairman Allen led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Paul Moore presented the financial reports.
Paul Moore stated the Education Enhancement Funds continue to track down.
Paul Moore and Ronnie Agnew announced that MPB can expect a distribution of funds from EdNet due to upcoming transfer of licenses from SpeedConnect to CSpire. Ronnie Agnew further explained that yearly distributions from this agreement will begin in approximately 2 years, according to the agreement.
Paul Moore noted that MPB is currently $1.2M short for the year, and that we have $1M in special needs in addition to regular budget. Discussion by the board followed regarding MPB’s bill before the Mississippi Legislature and possibilities of more cuts and the actions that could be taken.
UPDATE ON FOUNDATION
Ronnie Agnew reported that the MPB Foundation board has held its second meeting and that the board is very engaged. Ronnie Agnew added that several MPB staff have gone above and beyond their regular duties to provide administrative services for the Foundation, and he expressed his appreciation.
Director Sawyer asked Joel Gatlin about the issues concerning monies placed by Foundation for Public Broadcasting into the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. The concern was whether there could be problems accessing the money if and when needed. Discussion by the board followed concerning any issues that might arise.
A motion was made by Director Sawyer and seconded by Director Holmes to give authority to Executive Director Ronnie Agnew to do all things necessary to execute and conclude the terms of agreement as to the handing over of assets from the Foundation for Public Broadcasting of Mississippi, and upon a unanimous vote, the motion carried.
Ronnie Agnew noted that the Foundation elected the following officers: Dr. Darden North, chair; Cissy Anklam, vice-chair; and Andrew Mallinson, secretary. Ronnie Agnew added that Zach Scruggs is leading the effort to find and hire a Development Director as leader for MPB Foundation.
Paul Moore stated that 300-400 new members have been added to the Foundation since its beginning, November 1, 2016.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Ronnie Agnew reported that he received notice from IHL that they have a bill before the Legislature to increase our rental cost per square foot from $1.50 to $4.50. This would be an increase of $300,000 per year.
Ronnie Agnew noted that the recommendation of the Legislative Budget Office shows a 2.9% cut in funding for MPB for fiscal year 2018. When asked about our lobbyists’ effort, Ronnie Agnew answered that the lobbyist we have had is currently not under contract with the new Foundation.
Ronnie Agnew stated that MPB’s December TV Pledge brought in $111,000, which is a 5% increase from December 2015. This is outstanding because nationwide, public broadcasting stations experienced decrease in giving during that Pledge.
Ronnie Agnew reported that Tia Graham, senior director of philanthropy of PBS, has agreed to travel to Jackson to do board training for MPB and the Foundation. Ronnie Agnew stated that a poll will be taken of MPB and Foundation board members to determine a date on which the greatest number of members could be present.
Ronnie Agnew recognized staff for updates from their departments.
Ronnie Agnew reported in Scott Colwell’s stead that the new master control system PMM has been installed and training is ongoing. This is expected to save MPB money in the long run due to not having to update and repair or replace old equipment.
Ronnie Agnew announced that PBS Kids 24-hour broadcast has begun. Ronnie Agnew added that some parts of the state have not been able to access it, but that is due to their cable companies and not to problems with transmission.
Jason Klein noted that car donations have become a significant source of income. Jason Klein added that the next radio Drive will be another one-day drive in March and that it will focus on MPB’s funding circumstances.
Joel Gatlin explained that there has been a competing trademark application for radio show Highway 61. The conclusion was that MPB cannot protect it for TV or tee shirts, etc. because it has not actively been used that way. It is, however, in place and protected as relates to our radio show.
John Gibson announced that the airing of the 8-part series Bluesmen (shot many years ago) has been well-received. John Gibson added that the Melvin Williams show Down Home Gospel will be used as a Pledge special.
Maggie Stevenson announced that the education department has entered into a 2-year agreement with Ready to Learn.
Maggie Stevenson added that the education department is working on several partnerships, including 1) Woodward-Hines Foundation’s (formerly Education Research Foundation) new director Jim McHale. 2) Ole Miss and Morgan Freeman re: children’s programming and specifically PBS 24/7 Kids programming.
As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned.