The meeting was called to order by Chair, Denise Colley at 9:05 PM EST.
Present: Chair Denise Colley, members Ron Brooks, Tom Mitchell, Doug Powell, Judy Wilkinson and editor Sharon Lovering. Ex officio members President Kim Charlson and Carla Ruschival; absent: Bob Hachey (IOC), Nolan Crabb (PR)
Contractors: Present: Larry Turnbull (ACB radio); absent: Annette Carter (webmaster).
Guests: Will Burley and Jeff Bishop.
Ron moved and Doug seconded the motion to adopt the agenda; vote unanimous.
Doug moved and Tom seconded the motion to adopt the minutes from the meeting of October 5, 2015; vote unanimous.
We are still dealing with getting a transcript of the September minutes to Judy. Probably a thumb drive and snail mail!
On behalf of BPI, Will Burley wanted to open a dialogue expressing concerns regarding lack of diversity in our BlindAbility video.
Denise stated that we have addressed the diversity issue in the preamble while revising the BOP policy manual. Doug clarified that we mentioned cane and guide dog users specifically but then referenced the more generally accepted categories of diversity.
Ron Brooks adamantly stated that we should delineate the complete list of diversity entities. He said the organization doesn’t really think of diversity. Not that we consciously exclude, the diversity issue isn’t even at the conscious level. The organization won’t be diverse unless we actively make it happen.
In commenting about our video it was noted all participants were dog users, government or similar employees. Sharon stated that lots of people were interviewed from all categories of diversity but we had a very short turnaround time. Ron emphasized that unless we actively promote diversity it won’t happen.
Judy asked if we need to revise the preamble and we agreed Doug would send out the cleaned-up manual as revised so far as we continue the manual update process.
Kim agreed we need to see especially the diversity section of the manual again and that she is responding to the Multicultural Affairs Committee’s issues and needs to see the BPI letter as well so she can respond. We didn’t have as much diversity as we might wish and we’ve learned a lot, but she underscored that she stands behind the video. the video: an excellent production solid messaging which has gotten tremendous positive response from corporations and individuals alike. This won’t be our last effort.
Tom mentioned that he and Nolan Crabb from the PR committee are working on a Forum article to encourage states to promote and show the video. PR also discussed the issue of promo announcements for ACB Radio on the leadership list and PR will encourage more announcements on ACB Radio’s site rather than so many on the list.
Ron asked if ACB itself has a diversity statement. Kim answered we certainly have strong constitutional language and are incorporating such language into convention guidelines but she will check to see if we have an official statement. Ron offered his assistance having worked extensively in this area (which he strongly believes in) for his job.
There were no questions for Sharon’s Nutshell report but she proudly shared about her tang so do competition awards.
Denise said Annette has agreed to get her report to us for inclusion in the minutes.
Larry’s ACB Radio Report:
New enhancements on the website: an audio web player so listeners can have shows from ACB Radio Interactive on demand; this is different because under the DMCA, copyrighted material can’t be downloaded, only streamed. This recorder which Larry worked to find has lots of accessibility features: fast forward and rewind capability and is compatible with multiple platforms.. Larry mentioned new Main Menu hosts: Randy and Jason (from Friends-in-Art) who also wrote a new MM theme. There are already increased hits on the On Demand area.
He announced ACB Radio will stream National Braille Press’s Gala on November 12. He also reminded us about the upcoming holiday auction.
Doug asked about the revised station ID”s which we discussed at our last meeting. Larry says Debbie has already begun implementing this. She is also working on a new program for January called Affiliates in Action to reach out to affiliates.
Social Media Report:
Carla reported FB likes are up to 1,582 and recently Twitter was around 1,170.
Some of the FaceBook posts have gone as high as five thousand, several around two or three thousand. Kelly Gasque has been wonderful in finding articles that become really popular.
In response to a question from Judy regarding whether we can find out how well our video is doing from FB feedback: Carla says everything depends on how something is framed.
Judy followed up by asking if we could use YouTube to publicize something like our auction. Kim says YouTube has our Blind Abilities video. Ron clarified and others added to the point that YouTube has archives of events which may or may not be linked to social media depending on whether and how people share things.
Doug asked Jeff about the ACB App: Jeff reports over 600 downloads so far; not bad for three weeks or so.
Also NBP is suggesting people use the app in listening to their Gala event so we should see more numbers this week.
Kim reported she will be handing out the Hands On Recipient award to the young Australian boy who, upon learning of ACB’s efforts toward tactile currency, was instrumental in getting the Bank of Australia to implement tactile currency in Australia.
In regards to contract numbers for our 2016 budget proposal, Sharon says the Potomac estimate hasn’t come in yet. The numbers for United Book Press and Perkins have not changed. Denise says we’ll have to call Potomac if their agreement isn’t in as the deadline was November 1. The question is what numbers to use for transition costs from cassette to cartridge. In line with the JPMorgan Chase grant, Lane says we propose to buy 2,000 cartridges at $8 each: $1,600. Kim reminds us that buying in bulk will make the cost less than $8, allowing us to buy the containers, but $8 is a good ballpark figure. We also need a contractor to manage the process: track the cartridges, barcode scan the cards to know when they go out and come back to keep track of how many each person has; once they hit the maximum allowed, they don’t get any more. The cost will be around $1.10 each (more than the per cassette cost. Kim suggests we get a proposal from Potomac for management costs—we have one bid already from National Audio Company. Ron asked about the loss rate; Kim says 2-3 percent. (We were surprised it was that low.) Denise clarified she had asked Potomac to extend for six months and that we would be talking with them about the conversion.
Ron raised the issue of how many cartridges we will need. At least twice as many as subscribers: approximately 2,400. People will have to learn a new behavior. Kim concurred adding because this will be a successful measure, we may have more readers returning to audio. Kim thinks we can get 2,400 within the budgeted amount. The cost may well go below $7 even $6.50: allowing $7 the amount is $1,680. We may need to buy more cartridges in the future but certainly fewer; the fixed cost will be the $1.10 per subscriber for the management. Six issues a year (including previous E-forum.) Ron will produce a spreadsheet so we can plug in different variables.
Board Meeting Report
Doug reported that at Friday’s meeting the huge incorporated branding suggestions And Kelley gave an update on the Google analytics. Saturday was a regular board meeting. Doug brought up the issue of timely minutes for the summary. There is still the feeling that motions of any kind must be vetted by the board before they go into The Forum. We’ll need a disclaimer saying this is a summary and complete details are available on the website once the board approves. Also Kim appointed a strategic planning task force to look at the technology infrastructure to make recommendations so our system is robust for future endeavors such as rebranding.
Policy Manual Continuation
9.2 Invitation for Nominations
Both the announcement for our three awards and about candidate statements fall in E-forum months. The decision is whether to move them ahead or back a month. The consensus is to move them back: January May. Candidates’ statements are due June 1; usually up by around the 15th. In response to Judy’s question why they can’t be in the E-forum: more read the regular issues and people who don’t use computers are disenfranchised. Kim suggested also posting both announcements to the Leadership list which Denise in fact does.
Ron in commenting on the answer to Judy’s question, suggests that since the forum is available in so many formats, “disenfranchisement” is no longer a relevant answer. Denise emphasized that for these important announcements, we really do want to reach as many as possible. Tom disagreed with Ron’s point: people still haven’t changed their habits. Denise added that at some point we need to say to people “You are choosing.” Ron added people are disenfranchising themselves. Doug commented we don’t want to discourage diversity. We reiterated announcements could go on the Leadership list in a timely manner.
In response to Tom’s question as to why we couldn’t run an article twice: “Space.”Larry suggested we could also put announcements on ACB Radio.
We clarified the dates we are talking about is for announcements, so the Awards announcement must be in by November 28 for the January issue.
9.4 We want to put in the complete name for all three awards. Sharon pointed out we took out the phrase “excellence in writing” Ron moved and Tom seconded a motion to restore the complete name “Ned E. Freeman Excellence in Writing Award”. Vote was unanimous.
Denise suggested that originally we decided to go through the manual in such detail is because some of us had questions but that from now on we should be able to proceed via email. Doug will resend a draft with all changes we’ve incorporated so far.
Tom moved and Doug seconded the motion to adjourn; we adjourned at 10:30 EST.