WBUR's BizLab receives funding From Knight Foundation for multi-station revenue experiments for sustainability in the digital age

November 1, 2018

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Public media collaborative powered by $250,000 from Knight Foundation, plus $750,000 from Corporation for Public Broadcasting

BOSTON — Nov. 1, 2018 — WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, is pleased to announce it has received $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in support of BizLab’s collaboration with public media stations to design and conduct revenue experiments for public radio in the digital age. This brings the total investment in the initiative to $1 million with the previously announced $750,000 provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

BizLab will lead WBUR and six additional public media stations in identifing and evaluating revenue concepts in-market and together share their collective learnings across the network of stations. The open call was announced on October 1, 2018, and, given the popular demand, the deadline was extended to October 31, 2018. Numerous stations spanning the country applied to participate and represent a diversity of organizations based on geography, size and audience. 

“This significant funding from Knight Foundation will bolster our efforts to find new revenue concepts for the public media ecosystem,” said BizLab executive director Joan DiMicco. “We are truly encouraged by the enthusiasm of our station colleagues and the number and variety of submissions we received for this initiative. We look forward to reviewing each application.”

With this additional support from Knight Foundation, BizLab is even better-positioned to help solve a system-wide challenge: understanding the local listener and engaging them in supporting excellent journalism. 

“The way people consume news and information continues to transform at an accelerated pace,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “As listeners increasingly turn to digital and on-demand methods to access news, it’s critical for public radio stations to collaborate and exercise new strategies that bolster audience retention, engagement and support.”

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. 

Selected stations will be chosen from different markets, varied by station size, population and geography. Winners will be announced Fall 2018 and collaborations will commence in January 2019. For more information, visit http://publicradiobizlab.org/.

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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 BizLab

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 its 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. 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

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

617-275-6533

[email protected]


  • Letitia M. King, SVP for Corporate Communications, CPB

202-879-9658

[email protected] 


  • Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

305-908-2646

[email protected]