U:SA Board Vice President Kerry Swanson, and U:SA Executive Director Virginia Dambach are producing two sessions at the upcoming Super Regional Meeting April 10-12 in Denver.

Don’t expect speakers or talking heads. We want to use the time allotted to have real discussions about very real issues that we’re facing: Licensee Mergers & Sales and Succession Planning

Between 2000 and 2019, ninety-one (91) university licensees sold 114 public media stations. Some stations were floundering and some were not. Some universities actively sought to raise funds through sales while others were targeted by brokers with offers of cash. Some were the subject for friendly or unfriendly mergers with nearby public media outlets. A very few researched options and charted their own destinies.

What are the possible and potential threats you face?  What are some possible and potential solutions. We can all share what we know, including some subtle (and not so subtle) warning signs, and steps to take before it’s too late. We won’t necessarily find answers, but it’s possible we can make a path of our own design to best meet the needs of the communities we serve. Be there to help shape that future.

U:SA managers that have experience in one or more of these situations – Jun Reina, Capital Public Radio, RC McBride, WGLT/WCBU, Wendy Turner WKSU/Ideastream, and Attorney Ernie Sanchez will be on hand as resources during the discussion.

The Succession Planning will consist of two breakouts – one is specific to University/Institutional Licensees and one for Community Licensees. Planning is needed for both types, but the path to do that work is quite different – at least in the beginning.

Corporations need to do succession planning…65% avoid it. Non-profits need to do succession planning…only 17% do – which means a whopping 83% don’t. For University and institutional-licensed public media most of us don’t even know where to start.

We’ll take 10 minutes to review what succession planning means and why it’s important in our institutional environment. Then we’ll identify our questions and fears; our ideas and hopes; and finally, we’ll brainstorm what might actually work at our stations.  We even have a few managers with us who can share success stories in their efforts and provide some paths for forward movement

Please plan to join us in Denver as we endeavor to engage in some much-needed eyeball-to-eyeball discussion on these important topics.