2019 BizLab Summit

Sustainability & Innovation in Public Radio

December 10, 2019

The changing financial landscape of journalism has created an urgency in public radio to identify and test the effectiveness of different funding models. Implementing new strategies and testing new revenue streams can be difficult, but it is possible, and many stations are doing it.

On December 10, 2019, over 100 individuals from media organizations, including many NPR stations, convened for a day of learning. The Summit was a fast-paced day of lightning talks and panel discussions, with invited speakers and station innovators sharing their stations’ new paths to sustainability.

We shared best practices, tools, tips, and real life examples of this work, enabling attendees to hit the ground running at their own media organizations. The Summit covered revenue generation through digital audience engagement, spinning off new brands, event monetization, text-to-donate platforms, and podcast donation strategies.

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Panel Recaps and Videos

WBUR Summit-44-sarah

The BizLab Method and Tools

As we prepared to work with our 2019 cohort stations, BizLab sketched out our process and identified Discovery Research and Analysis tools and methods that we thought would work within…
Lightning Talks

Six Stations, Six Revenue Projects

BizLab stations across the country spent 2019 testing news ideas for revenue at their stations and in their communities. At the BizLab Summit, each station gave a six-minute overview of…
WBUR Summit-80 room raising hands

Summit: Full Day Live Stream

On December 10, 2019, over 100 individuals from media organizations, including many NPR stations, convened for a day of learning. The Summit was a fast-paced day of lightning talks and…

BizLab stations across the country have spent 2019 testing news ideas for revenue at their stations and in their communities. DCist.com/WAMU, Louisville Public Media, WDET, Capital Public Radio, WLRN, and Vermont Public Radio 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, Louisville, KY
WDET, Detroit’s Public Radio Station
WDET, Detroit, MI
Capital Public Radio, Sacramento
Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, CA
WLRN, Public Radio for South Florida and the Florida Keys
WLRN, Miami, FL
Vermont Public Radio
Vermont Public Radio, Colchester, VT

Summit Panelists and Invited Speakers

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.

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.