WBUR’s BizLab was an innovation lab developing and testing new models of support for public radio from 2015 to early 2020. Operating as a lean startup, BizLab was a team of product managers, experience designers, and business analysts. We worked 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.
2019 WBUR BizLab Summit
December 10, 2019
WBUR’s BizLab and NPR stations from across the country met for a day of learning about methods, techniques, and ideas for new revenue streams in public radio.
Six Stations, Six Revenue Projects January 14, 2020
What Your Time of Day Traffic Patterns Reveal About Your Site January 10, 2020
New Revenue From Event Donations & Ticket Sales October 14, 2019
Surveying Your Audience to Identify Revenue Opportunities October 14, 2019
Exploring the Potential of Affiliate Marketing: The Future August 21, 2019
November 2019 Webinar: Aligning Content Plans With Revenue Goals October 31, 2019
September 2019 Webinar: Technologies Bridging the Gap Between Engagement and Revenue August 26, 2019
July 2019 Webinar: Transactional Business Models in Nonprofit Media June 28, 2019
April 2019 Webinar: Fundraising Through Kickstarter Campaigns March 15, 2019
2018-19 BIZLAB FELLOWS
Wendi Ding, Cynthia Yue, Suzie Hicks, Matt Aufiero, Sarah Barden, and Brian Kelley have joined us during summers to run revenue experiments.
WBUR, Our Station Collaborators
BizLab was funded through the generous support of WBUR, individual donors, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Knight Foundation, and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
“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. 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.”
Kathy Merritt, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
“The way people consume news and information continues to transform at an accelerated pace. 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.”
Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation
“WBUR will expand efforts in earning revenue by exploring new mechanisms for listeners to purchase items through affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing has been successful for publications such as The New York Times with the Wirecutter. We want to see if that success can be translated to the local level, which doesn’t have as much scale.”
Burt Herman, The Lenfest Institute