Meeting of April 12, 2017


Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary Club Notes of Meeting, April 12, 2017 by Bob Sanders

President Judy opened the meeting at 07:30 and led the pledge of allegiance.
Kris Engstrom’s thought for the day invited us to shed the old and embrace the new.

Judy introduced today’s guest:
• Peter Martin, President of WCAX and today’s speaker • Sally Wadhams, a prospective member


  • Upcoming meetings

    • 4/18 Board Meeting at Trinity Church re Car Raffle
    • 4/19 Partners in Adventure and Hands to Honduras-Tela update
    • 4/26 Kevin Clayton, Village Wine & Coffee
    • 5/3 Kelly Devine, Executive Director, Burlington Business Association • 5/10 Destination Imagination team presentations
    • 5/17 Club Meeting
    • 5/24 Mike Comeau, Grocer Extraordinaire
    • 5/31 Tim Williams, Local Boy Makes Good

  • Past President Trafton presented individual awards from the recent Williston Rotary Ski Challenge. Debbie Hanley received a trophy for fastest woman, Barb Comeau for 2nd fastest woman, and Trafton for fastest skier over 60. Rounding out our club’s 4 skier team was Ron Keene. Our team won the All Rotary Cup trophy and was the 2nd place team overall. The trophies need a home.

  • Ric reminded us of the Car Raffle on Friday, May 12, at Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. He asked members who had volunteered to follow up with uncommitted ticket holders. Ric will send an email update later this week. Keep soliciting for door prizes and Tulip tickets.

  • Richard invited all members to the District Meeting on Saturday, April 29 from 9 AM - 1 PM at Lyndon State College. The District Meeting is a good opportunity to meet Rotarians from other clubs in our District and to learn more about Rotary and its programs, eg. Rotary Foundation, Youth Exchange, RYLA, etc. The Rotary speech contestants will speak after lunch.

  • The club’s Changing of the Guard celebration is confirmed for Wednesday, June 14, at Fisher Brothers Farm in Shelburne. Our resident chef, William, will prepare roast prime rib.

  • Todd announced that the Shelburne Business and Professionals Association (SBPA) will meet for an open house next Tuesday, April 18, at Palmer’s Sugar House.

    Sergeant-at-Arms—Bill Root enthusiastically collected happy fines: • Bill D- John Dupee is back after a long absence in warmer climes • Todd- Farmers’ Market
    • John D- happy to be back

    • Fritz- happy
    • Alan H- John and Bill Root are back
    • Bill R- happy to be here
    • Ric- only one more month until the Car Raffle
    • Sam- many visitors to the Veterans’ Monument last Sunday

• Eric H- upcoming NHL playoffs, Megan having great time jumping out of airplanes in NZ, Golf • Jim- happy but not sure why
• Judy- Peter Martin’s help re fake news, Sally Wadhams joining, return of John D and Bill R
• Sally- to be part of a group that brings home such cool trophies

• Eric K- several work projects are coming to fruition • Barb- great trip to London with her daughter
• Carole- late fine
• Roz- welcoming Sally

• Richard- happy
• Keith- happy for his mom’s great and long life
• Jon- for spring skiing and biking
• Kris- for John Dupee and Bill Root
• Phil- for golf balls
• Steve- still spots for upcoming friendship exchange to Portland, OR
• Trafton- for memory of Denny Bowen’s contributions to the ski team; good to be back • Alan B- awesome skiing
• George and Linda-for the ski team and Denny
• Bob- Quebec City for wife’s birthday

Today’s program:

  • George Schiavone briefly introduced and warmly welcomed today’s speaker, Peter Martin,

    President of WCAX.

  • Peter gave an overview of the long history of WCAX. The station first went on the air in 1924

    as WCAX radio, a 100 Watt station broadcasting from UVM’s College of Agriculture Experimental. The owner then was Colonel Horatio Nelson, from whom Peter’s grandfather bought the station, along with the Burlington Daily News, an afternoon newspaper. Foreseeing the decline in daily print media, his grandfather sold the paper and embraced network radio. This was the golden age of radio, when Gunsmoke’s Marshall Matt Dillon was played by William Conrad.

  • The changes in media and their business models have been driven by technological advances. Back in the day (pre 1970s), the radio, TV, and newspaper businesses enjoyed limited supply and high capital cost barriers to entry. Radio and TV stations required network distribution, broadcast towers and equipment, and newspapers needed printing presses. Along came satellites, Ted Turner, CNN, and cable TV. Distribution of news and entertainment became increasingly inexpensive. Specialty channels and programming created highly fragmented audiences. Small cable TV companies consolidated. With broadband internet, distribution is virtually free. These changes disrupted the traditional broadcast industry.

  • In the newspaper business, Craigslist and eBay have nearly destroyed traditional print classified advertising. News is available anywhere, anytime, for free. Burlington Free Press circulation has declined from 45,000 to 16,000. The Rutland Herald, once the most respected newspaper in Vermont, now publishes only 4 days a week. Nevertheless, print is not dead. Consider the success and growth of Seven Days, an alternative weekly newspaper, with free circulation of 35,000. Fewer and smaller newspapers, unable to cover all local politics, issues, etc., create space for alternative sources. VT Digger, a web based news site, covers Vermont political issues in depth, and fills the void left by the Free Press and Rutland Herald. Front Porch Forum now fills the function of weekly local newspapers.

  • The emergence of Sirius-XM satellite radio has not been good news for big radio stations. However, Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has emerged as a major source for news in Vermont. VPR doesn’t rely on paid advertising, but rather on its station fundraising campaigns,

sponsor underwriting, and support from the national Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Although video news and entertainment can be streamed to smart phones, it’s not a practical mode while driving, but radio is, and in radio, its all about drive-time programming.

  • In television, WCAX news operates statewide and views itself as a place where the state talks to itself. The key to success is to find and keep good people who can relate to the audience.

  • Local TV is becoming a business of scale due to technology costs. As an example, NY public television has a master switching facility in Syracuse which controls 14-15 stations. Hawaii Public television is switched through Syracuse. News and programming is digitally file based, and can be exchanged at low cost. Peter stated that overall, the outlook for commercial television is uncertain and cloudy and change continues.

  • Asked if the success of public radio was unique to VT, Peter doesn’t think so. While Vermont is like LA with trees (as far as commuting) and has the most dispersed population in the country, other regions have similar demographics and media markets.

  • Asked about WCAX and its relationship with CBS, Peter said that the relationship as changed a lot. In the past, the networks needed local affiliates to distribute network programming. With advances in technology, especially high-definition digital HD-TV, networks now have options. They can run simultaneous programming as well as stream direct to the internet. Networks can threaten to move their programming to suit their business needs. With Netflix, etc., Peter said that we are now in an age Peak TV, where there is more scripted programming than ever before. Networks are increasingly dependent on live sports, which Netflix doesn’t do.

  • Peter hasn’t begun to think about the coming impact of driverless cars.

  • President Judy thanked Peter and presented him with a book dedication for Charlotte’s