What Will the New Board Do?
Immediately put in place hands-on management with broadcast radio experience
Two of our Board nominees, Pat Holiday and Lorie Russell, have extensive experience in managing and building radio stations in Canada and the U.S. Dave Cole started his career in radio broadcasting, moved into sales, and is now founder and CEO of a company that supplies world class broadcast management software to radio and TV stations. Together, they know what is needed to run a radio station effectively and efficiently. In terms of sales and marketing, Lorie Russell has over 30 years of experience in this specific market and has developed a strong and vibrant network, one which she will look to, so as to expand our reach and base, and ultimately increase revenue. Lorie has long been considered one of the best and most experienced media sales general managers in all of Canada.
Review the financial condition of the station and take remedial action
The financial condition of the station is unknown. The last financial statements presented to Members were for the year ended August 31, 2017. So much has changed since then, particularly on the revenue side if fundraising is a guide, that an in-depth review of the station’s financial condition, including discussions with the auditors, will be a priority. Board Candidate Rohit Bhardwaj is a highly experienced financial executive. He is currently Chief Financial Officer of a billion-dollar company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a position he has held for 13 years. This level of experience and expertise will be crucial in understanding the finances of the station.
Oversee programming changes that will restore and enhance the listening enjoyment of JAZZ.FM91’s audience
Despite the introduction of new programs, mostly to replace long-serving and well-known on-air hosts, many listeners have expressed total dissatisfaction with the programming. Again, Pat Holiday, who was VP Programming for 56 radio stations in the Astral Media group and has held similar positions at several radio stations in the U.S., knows what makes a radio station successful, no matter the genre. Already, Pat has studied the recent playlists of JAZZ.FM91 and has also reached out to respected members of the jazz community in Toronto to hear what other broadcasters are saying about JAZZ.FM91.
Build a united team that has a shared vision for the future of the station – retaining or rebuilding elements of the station that reflect the best of its reputation and add new elements that will expand and build audience share and advertising support.
Numerous reports of the dysfunctional work environment at the station are impossible to ignore. While it is not the objective of the proposed Board to turn back the clock and re-hire everyone who has recently left, it will carefully review both what can be restored, and what needs to be added. Listener, donor, advertiser, volunteer, musician and community involvement are essential for re-building the station. Audience share in demographics that appeal to advertisers must be a focus to generate revenue. The audience share in key segments is alarmingly low and will be a focus for growth. This in turn leads to greater advertising support.
Ensure a safe and collegial work environment that encourages collaboration and creativity
JAZZ.FM91’s reputation has been damaged by allegations made almost a year ago. The proposed Board does not intend to re-visit that precise matter. It will, however, ensure that JAZZ.FM91 is a place of work that human resources at the station operates to the highest standard of best practices and again makes it a place to proudly be associated with. It will establish a means by which all employees, volunteers, etc., will have direct access to support (including direct access to the Board) should there ever be incidents of harassment of any kind, bullying, etc.
Commit to better communication with Members based on transparency and accountability
From the outset, Save JAZZ.FM91 has committed to full transparency and accountability. We undertake to communicate regularly with Members and all other stakeholders, providing the information that will strengthen relationships and benefit everyone involved with JAZZ.FM91.
Review of the existing operating systems, software, hardware
Systems management, operations, capabilities and effectiveness provide the platform which will determine the station’s sustainability. One of our Board nominees specializes in systems designed to ensure radio stations operate at peak performance and at full capacity. Dave Cole will lead the initiative of reviewing the existing management and operating systems, and provide recommendations aimed at bringing significant improvements to both areas.
Advisory Committees, designed to support and enhance specific areas of development of new initiatives will provide direction, support and generate ideas, strategies and be a sounding board for both the Management Team and Board. To form these committees, we will we will reach out to seasoned and respected advisors on key areas of programming, audience building, governance, fundraising, diversity and workplace environment.
Community and Outreach Programs
Community and Outreach Programs are an essential part of the station’s mandate. A complete assessment of the impact of the last eight months of cutbacks, and firings at the station needs to take place in order to determine the status, effectiveness and viability of existing programs. One of our Board nominees, Catherine Mitro, has over 40 years of experience in the field of education, and has designed programs specifically aimed at developing young talent through music, specifically jazz, and she will put her years of experience to work in this very important area of concern and focus for JAZZ.FM91. Lorne Lofsky, another of our nominees, as well as being a highly respected musician, is a Faculty member at both York University and Humber College. His connection and Catherine's to young musicians will strengthen those critical programs.