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WBUR to Create Ground-Breaking New Listening Experience with NPR

WBUR is joining forces with NPR and five other public radio stations across the country in a collaborative venture to build the most cohesive listening experience that exists for news, arts and culture, transforming public radio for the next generation.

Simulation of WBUR app on an iPhone

The new mobile app will combine on-demand local and national content from NPR, WBUR and member stations.

This collaborative project is being funded locally by WBUR which has committed to raise $400,000 in a matching grant program with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“This is another example of WBUR deepening its relationship with NPR, following closely on the heels of our partnership to expand WBUR’s Here & Now to two hours in collaboration with NPR.  We’re proud that Here & Now is carried on 372 stations nationwide as public radio’s midday news magazine program,” said Charlie Kravetz, general manager of WBUR.  “This new, ground-breaking mobile project demonstrates our shared commitment to reach listeners where they are today … and where they will be tomorrow, with the best spoken-word audio experience anywhere.”

As Boston’s NPR New Station, WBUR continues to work closely with NPR on other important public radio programs including On Point with Tom Ashbrook and Only A Game with Bill Littlefield which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

The station is well underway in its fundraising effort, already having raised more than $100,000. Among the donors in the Greater Boston area who have pledged financial support to this ambitious new listening project are Arthur and Judy Obermayer; Bob and Liz Pozen; and Bruce Hauben.

WBUR produces more news and programming content than any other member station in the country, making it a natural partner for a project that showcases mobile content.

According to eMarketer, 53% of the U.S. population uses internet radio today, and the Pew Research Center reports 50% of Americans cite the internet as a main news source. In light of these trends, WBUR has invested several million dollars in the WBUR iLab (major funding support from Biogen Idec), its innovation unit charged with exploring the transformation of the station from a radio-only to multiplatform news and information station, reaching listeners on-air, online and in-person. Recent iLab projects include a full-length ebook, Bulger on Trial, and a new series, Kind World. Other digital-first WBUR initiatives have included the development of popular online verticals at CommonHealth, Cognoscenti and The ARTery.

The new venture with NPR will further the station’s commitment to digital distribution of its content as more listeners use online streaming and on-demand podcasts to consume WBUR and NPR’s stories and programs.  The new listening project intends to combine local news from WBUR with national and international news from NPR, in addition to programs and segments from other public radio producers.

WBUR reaches 500,000 listeners in the Boston market and more than three million listeners nationally each week.  The station is home to the largest radio newsroom in New England.

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