2019 BizLab Summit

Sustainability & Innovation in Public Radio

Join WBUR’s BizLab and NPR stations from across the country for a day of learning about methods, techniques, and ideas for new revenue streams in public radio.

The Summit will bring together creative, innovation-driven public radio leaders and do-ers. The changing financial landscape of journalism has created an urgency in public radio to identify and test the effectiveness of different funding models. This will be a fast-paced day of lightning-style presentations and lively panel discussions, including invited speakers and station innovators sharing their stations’ new paths to sustainability. This Summit will give you tools, case studies, and perspectives to take back to your station and apply today.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

WBUR CitySpace
890 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA

8:30am Breakfast & Registration
9am-5pm Summit
5pm-7pm Cocktail Reception 


Rate: $100.00

Registration is SOLD OUT. If you would like to attend, please email bizlab@wbur.org.

Funding provided by

BizLab’s work with stations and the Summit is funded through the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Knight Foundation.

CPB / Knight

Additional promotional support for the 2019 Summit provided by Greater Public. 

BizLab Stations

BizLab stations across the country have spent 2019 testing news ideas for revenue at their stations and in their communities. Capital Public Radio, Louisville Public Media, Vermont Public Radio, WAMU, WDET, and WLRN will unpack the past year of BizLab experiments from how to launch a new product and brand to aligning editorial plans with revenue goals.

WAMU, American University Radio
WAMU/DCist.com, Washington, D.C.
Louisville Public Media (WFPL, WFPK, WUOL)
Louisville Public Media, Louisville, KY
WLRN, Public Radio for South Florida and the Florida Keys
WLRN, Miami, FL
WDET, Detroit’s Public Radio Station
WDET, Detroit, MI
Vermont Public Radio
Vermont Public Radio, Colchester, VT
Capital Public Radio, Sacramento
Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, CA

Keynote Speaker: Tamsen Webster

The biggest barriers to innovation are often an organization’s culture and leadership alignment. To address this head-on, the second half of the day will focus on what it takes to implement different funding models at your station.

Tamsen Webster, a 20-year brand and message strategist and former TEDx Executive Producer, will be the keynote speaker, explaining how to make it easy for your team to say “yes” to your innovation ideas by creating the right message and presentations.

What you’ll get out of the Summit

Implementing new strategies and testing new revenue streams can be difficult, but it is possible, and many stations are doing it. We will share best practices, tools, tips, and real life examples of this work in market so you can feel empowered to hit the ground running at your organization. We will be covering the topics of revenue generation through audience engagement, spinning off new brands, event monetization, text-to-donate platforms, and podcasts.

Full Agenda

Sam Fleming, Interim General Manager, WBUR

Joan DiMicco, Executive Director, BizLab, WBUR

Sarah Bloomer, Experience Strategist, BizLab, WBUR

WDET: Promoting small, local businesses to WDET’s audience through paid social media.

Vermont Public Radio: Engaging Southern Vermont residents with localized and targeted news, to increase donations. 

Capital Public Radio: Re-imagining a cross-network underwriting sales strategy, covering the state of California. 

WLRN: Launching a new membership donation channel, via an email-based environmental content vertical. 

Louisville Public Media: Creating a distinct membership program and exclusive event series for do502, LPM’s newly acquired event listing platform. 

WAMU: Designing a monthly membership program for WAMU’s digital news product, DCist. 

Three BizLab stations are launching products positioned distinctly from their public radio station’s identity: WAMU’s new monthly membership to the DCist is separate from a membership to WAMU; Louisville Public Media similarly launched a do502 events membership; and Capital Public Radio is about to launch an agency that sells state-wide sponsorship and underwriting under the name, California Public Radio Network. 

In this panel each station will discuss their reasoning behind keeping the product distinct from existing station offerings, how they made the case internally, and the pro’s and con’s of launching a new brand. 

Moderator: Candice Springer, Assistant Director of Community Engagement, WBUR 


Rachel Sadon, Editor in Chief, DCist, WAMU 

Tracy Karem, Corporate Marketing Representative, Louisville Public Media

Kelly Morrison, Underwriting Specialist, Capital Public Radio

For all media organizations, striking the balance between the desire to diversify revenue streams and the need to maintain high standards of editorial integrity is an urgent concern. In this panel, we will discuss how three of BizLab stations successfully navigated a sustained collaboration between editorial and business-oriented teams at their organizations. 

Moderator: Adrian Ma, Bostonomix Reporter, WBUR


Brendan Kinney, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Development, Vermont Public Radio

Giselle Reid, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Friends of WLRN 

The biggest barriers to innovation are often an organization’s culture and leadership alignment. To address this head-on, the second half of the day will focus on what it takes to implement new funding models at your station

Tamsen Webster, a 20-year brand and message strategist and former TEDx Executive Producer, will be the keynote speaker, explaining how to make it easy for your team to say “yes” to your innovation ideas by creating the right message and presentations.

The stage where most innovation projects fail is not at the beginning or middle, but at the end, when the project’s findings are integrated into the main operations of an organization. No matter how promising the experiment results are, changing priorities to accommodate a new idea or product takes agility and strong leadership. In this panel, executives from BizLab stations will reflect on what they learned from assigning one of their teams an innovation project for for six months. We will discuss how to support innovation efforts, measure the ROI of innovation, and their challenges in integrating new projects into existing priorities. 

Moderator: Joan DiMicco, Executive Director, BizLab, WBUR


Andi McDaniel, Senior Director of Content and News, WAMU

Ellen Oost, Director of Development, Louisville Public Media

Paul Adams, Director, Corporate Underwriting, Capital Public Radio


There are more technologies than ever that are specifically designed to make the donation and engagement process more streamlined for listeners. In this panel, three stations that have effectively integrated text messaging tools into their existing donor strategies will discuss best practices in different contexts. 

Moderator: Joan DiMicco, Executive Director, BizLab, WBUR


Tina Pamintuan, General Manager, KALW, using Give Lively for donations

Katie Lepri, Engagement Producer, WLRN, using GroundSource for audience engagement

Kathleen Moura, Membership Manager, WBUR, using Hustle for donor engagement

When it comes to capturing and converting donations through podcasts, there are multiple ways to achieve success. This panel will feature three successful case studies, as well as outline best practices and tips for engaging this unique audience.

Moderator: Charlotte Cooper, Director of Audience Growth and Marketing, PRX 


Rebecca Lavoie, Digital Director, NHPR

Kjerstin Wood, Digital Fundraising Officer, KUOW 

Amira Valliani, Co-founder & CEO, Glow.fm

Joan DiMicco, Executive Director, BizLab, WBUR

Directions and Parking

WBUR’s CitySpace is located on Boston University’s campus at 890 Commonwealth Avenue.

If you’re using Google Maps, CitySpace is located right on the Boston/Brookline line. Although 890 Comm. Ave. is located on the Boston side, you may need to enter “890 Comm. Ave. Brookline,” in order to keep Google from getting confused. As long as it takes you to the block between St. Paul and Amory Streets, you’re headed in the right direction.

By MBTA Public Transportation: Boston University is easily accessible by public transportation. The B branch of the MBTA Green Line passes through the campus along Comm. Ave. Once on the Green Line, CitySpace is located at 890 Comm. Ave. at the corner of St. Paul St. The T stop is St. Paul.

By Car: Street parking is limited, but metered spots are available on Commonwealth Ave., St. Paul Street and various streets in the surrounding area. Parking may also be available beginning 90 minutes prior to CitySpace events at the following garage within walking distance of CitySpace:

Essex Street Garage
148 Essex Street
Brookline, MA 02446

At the Essex Street Garage, guests should self-identify as attending a CitySpace event to receive a discounted event rate (currently $12 and subject to change).

About BizLab

WBUR’s BizLab is an innovation lab developing and testing new models of support for public radio. Operating as a lean startup, BizLab is a team of product managers, experience designers, and business analysts. We work with public radio stations to uncover new avenues for revenue generation, distinct from traditional approaches including on-air drives, direct mail, and underwriting.

WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, created BizLab in 2015 believing it is critical that public media invest in innovation and experimentation to identify new revenue channels to sustain public radio into the future. Given the changing landscape of journalism, media consumption, and digital advertising, there is an increasing urgency to test and measure the effectiveness of different funding models.


Reach out by email if you have questions about the Summit: bizlab@wbur.org