WBUR's BizLab Launches Open Call to Conduct Revenue Experiments for Sustainability in the Digital Age

Public Media Collaborative Powered by $750,000 from Corporation for Public Broadcasting

October 1, 2018

BOSTON (October 1, 2018) - WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, is pleased to announce that its innovation initiative, BizLab, has launched an open call to public media stations interested in designing and conducting revenue experiments for public radio in the digital age. Six public radio stations will be selected to participate in this 18-month initiative.

In response to the shifting landscape of media consumption, WBUR launched BizLab in 2015 with support from the Knight Foundation with a mission to ensure public radio stays financially strong, vibrant, and relevant to our audiences. Under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Joan DiMicco, BizLab is dedicated to evaluating new membership and revenue sources, identifying new markets for content, and developing new partnerships with business, education and tech communities. Thus far, BizLab has focused this effort on WBUR’s audience and market.

BizLab received a grant of $750,000 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to expand this work into a system-wide effort. This initiative will enable six additional stations to identify and evaluate revenue concepts in-market and together share their collective learnings across the network of public media stations. BizLab expects to announce additional support for this collaborative in the coming months.

Each participating station will work with BizLab for six months, using lean, user-centered design methodologies to identify and test new sources of revenue for that station. By engaging audiences and quickly testing concepts in-market, each station will generate quantitative results to inform their near-term strategic investments. Collaborating stations will share results and best practices with each other and the broader public radio system.

“We are extremely grateful to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for their support of BizLab,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz. “This investment is critical for developing innovative and sustainable models of support that strengthen and grow public radio. BizLab will help WBUR and other stations uncover new avenues for revenue generation, distinct from traditional approaches including on-air drives, direct mail and telemarketing.” 

“CPB has been supporting journalism capacity building among public media stations for many years, and this project will find new, innovative ways to sustain that important work,” said Kathy Merritt, Senior Vice President of Journalism and Radio at CPB. “Keeping audience at the center of the project is exactly the right business approach and should provide valuable lessons for the entire public media system.”

Applications are now open for stations across the country eager to conduct revenue experiments for sustainability in the digital age. Selected stations will be chosen from different markets, varied by station size, population and geography. Winners will be announced this Fall 2018 and collaborations will commence in January 2019. For more information, visit http://publicradiobizlab.org/.

# # #

About WBUR
On your radio, laptop, phone or tablet, WBUR is a leading source of news, information, analysis and sophisticated entertainment. WBUR is Boston’s NPR news station and the home of On Point, Here & Now, Only A Game and Car Talk, reaching millions of listeners each week on NPR stations across the United States. The WBUR iLab is a Top 10 national podcast producer (Podtrac, Dec. 2017) with audience favorites including Modern Love: The Podcast, Dear Sugars, Circle Round and Kind World.

About Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for other updates.

Media Contacts: 
Maria Kucinski, Greenough Brand Storytellers on behalf of WBUR

Letitia M. King, SVP for Corporate Communications, CPB



Categories: CPB Funding