Communications Task Force: November 2021


  • Commissioners: Chair Zakk Maher, John Portela
  • Staff: Bryan Roche

The Communications Task Force met electronically for its monthly meeting on Wed, Nov. 10, 2021 and discussed the following:

Welcome and check-in

Meeting times:

With a small group in attendance, Maher will continue to attempt to connect with Task Force members about a new standing meeting time.

Monthly report

Maher invited Roche to report on communications activities and successes from the month of October. Roche presented the report in its entirety, which can be accessed by using the following link — click here.

Communications plan feedback and impacts

With a small group in attendance, an email will be sent to the group to collect any feedback on the proposed communications plan. The three individuals in attendance all agreed upon an approach of moving forward with the plan, and adjusting as needed based on any future feedback from other Task Force members.

Policy updates

Maher shared that the latest policy update call was being held at the same time as the Task Force meeting. Maher will provide any necessary updates to Portela, who will deliver the Task Force update in place of Maher during the full Commission business meeting scheduled for Friday, Nov. 19. Maher shared that the topic of the policy call is "connecting with elected officials on social media." 

Match reporting/Public Service Announcement (PSA) update

Roche reported to the group that, on top of last month's reported figure of $155,244 of total ad value, that an additional $34,418 was generated through quarter three. PSAs will continue to run through November, so there will be two more months of ad value reported sometime near the end of quarter four. Roche received the finalized quarter three ad value and match report from Maine Association of Broadcasters (MAB) minutes before the task force meeting.

Roche also shared an observation, which received support from Executive Director Maryalice Crofton, that the overall quality of the AmeriCorps TV PSA provided by the federal agency has helped earn more airtime. Portela also shared an observation that the juxtaposition of the PSA messages compared to the recent political ads running may have also earned added airtime on both TV and radio.

"Service Instigator" PSA project: Proposed pivot to digital only

Maher asked Roche to continue the discussion on the ongoing PSA project. Roche, based off the PSA quality observation stated in the previous section, proposed that "Service Instigators" becomes a digital-only campaign. On top of that, Roche proposed to the group that the next round of TV PSAs continues to focus on AmeriCorps service. Roche has also been asked by Crofton to begin planning for the production of a Maine-focused, professionally produced AmeriCorps TV PSA. Maher and Portela had no opposition to the proposal, and the full group will have a chance to provide input during the December Task Force meeting.

Maher also asked, given the limitations on digital advertising while participating in the MAB Public Education Program (PEP), if a full PSA campaign can be run while a partner organization runs the digital campaigns. Roche stated he would investigate the possibility and report back.

Editorial ideas

Maher shared his desire to publish more op-ed pieces in local newspapers. Maher asked the group for input on any potential opportunities to focus on. Roche mentioned a tie-in to the holidays along with something associated to the upcoming Maine AmeriCorps induction ceremony. On the latter, Portela suggested a focus of new individuals coming to Maine to lend a helping hand and stated his interest in writing the op-ed.

On that point, Portela asked if there is an opportunity to connect with a group, such as Live and Work in Maine, to help spread that message. Roche reported that, after staff team member Michael Ashmore made initial contact, he followed up with a connection on staff at Live and Work in Maine who stated an interest in sharing service opportunities. Roche will continue to update the group on developments.

Next meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 from 4 - 5 p.m.*

*Meeting time may change if the Task Force decides on a new standing meeting time.