"Last Seen" Surpasses 1 Million Downloads In Less Than Three Weeks

Last Seen, the weekly true-crime podcast produced by WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, and The Boston Globe, has surpassed one million downloads in its first three weeks. Debuting at #3 on Apple Podcasts on September 17, Last Seen examines the most valuable and confounding art heist in history: the theft of 13 artworks, including Rembrandt’s only seascape, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

“We are thrilled by the enthusiastic response to Last Seen,” said Iris Adler, Executive Director for Programming, Podcasts and Special Projects at WBUR. “Twenty-eight years later, this unsolved crime exerts an irresistible curiosity for young listeners just learning about the heist for the first time while those who know about the theft report learning new information from the deep reporting in the first few episodes.”

Last Seen is hosted by WBUR’s award-winning producers and reporters Kelly Horan and Jack Rodolico, and with exclusive contributions from Boston Globe’s Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Stephen Kurkjian, author of “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist.” The producers have obtained unprecedented access to case files, first-ever interviews.

The 10-episode series is the result of a year of investigative reporting to unravel the crime’s many mysteries. New weekly episodes are available every Monday to stream or download on Apple Podcasts. The podcast, along with supporting documentation, photographs and additional reporting are published online at bostonglobe.com/lastseen and wbur.org/lastseen.

Last Seen is sponsored by ADT and Samuel Adams. To attend a live podcast taping, learn more here. Listen to Last Seen now on Apple Podcasts


WBUR BizLab Launches Open Call To Conduct Revenue Experiments For Sustainability In The Digital Age

*UPDATED: The application deadline has been extended to Oct 31.*
WBUR is pleased to announce that its innovation initiative, BizLab, has launched an open call to public media stations interested in designing and conducting revenue experiments for public radio in the digital age. Six public radio stations will be selected to participate in this 18-month initiative.

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 our 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. Thus far, BizLab has focused this effort on WBUR’s audience and market.

BizLab received a grant of $750,000 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to expand this work into a system-wide effort. This initiative will enable six additional stations to identify and evaluate revenue concepts in-market and together share their collective learnings across the network of public media stations. BizLab expects to announce additional support for this collaborative in the coming months.

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.

“We are extremely grateful to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for their support of BizLab,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz. “This investment is critical for developing innovative and sustainable models of support that strengthen and grow public radio. BizLab will help WBUR and other stations uncover new avenues for revenue generation, distinct from traditional approaches including on-air drives, direct mail and telemarketing.”

“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,” said Kathy Merritt, Senior Vice President of Journalism and Radio at CPB. “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.”

Applications are now open for stations across the country eager to conduct revenue experiments for sustainability in the digital age. Selected stations will be chosen from different markets, varied by station size, population and geography. Winners will be announced this Fall 2018 and collaborations will commence in January 2019. For more information, visit http://publicradiobizlab.org/.

On Point Broadcasting from Philadelphia

(Liz Linder for WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
(Liz Linder for WBUR)

The new On Point with Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik debuted last month and will broadcast live from a new city for the first time in October.

Meghna will broadcast from WHYY in Philadelphia on Monday, Oct. 8 with a special hour on the how redistricting battles are playing out in the midterms. Pennsylvania has been in the headlines for its gerrymandered districts — and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that the congressional map was unconstitutional. With new congressional lines drawn and midterm voting around the corner, On Point explores what might happen on November 6. Meghna heads to Pennsylvia's hotly contested 7th district over the weekend (Oct. 6 –7) to do field reporting and gather sound for Monday’s special broadcast.

Each week, On Point dives deep into topics and issues with live listener calls, top reporters and knowledgeable newsmakers like recent guests Rep. Adam Schiff, Senator John Kerry, US Tennis Association president and CEO Katrina Adams and Historian Yuval Harari. We invite you to join the national conversation happening everyday on On Point. Call our toll-free number 1-800-423-8255 during a live broadcast, Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. EST.

Here And Now Hits The Road

Randy Duncan, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, poses for a portrait outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Springfield, Ill. (Neeta Satam for Here & Now)MoreCloseclosemore
Randy Duncan, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, poses for a portrait outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Springfield, Ill. (Neeta Satam for Here & Now)

Here & Now went on a road trip to Illinois and Indiana this week. Once again this election season, they're visiting locations to take the pulse of the electorate. Click through to view some highlights:

Jeremy and Alex Ashlock went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, IL and met Randy Duncan, who calls himself a Lincoln presenter, so seriously does he take the job of portraying Lincoln.

Jeremy visited a neighborhood in Indianapolis, where people are fighting violent crime and building community with a bike shop. The photos are spectacular.

A Trump voter in Indiana who lost his factory job just 12 weeks before he would have been eligible for his pension is trying to make a new life for himself.

And this audio postcard from Alex... a visit to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis.

Thanks to NPR Member Stations WFYI and WUIS. Next up from the Here & Now team before the Nov. 6 mid-term voting happens — Robin Young and Karyn Miller-Medzon from Florida and Jeremy Hobson from Orange County, California.

WBUR's New Sunday Night Line-up

Starting Sunday, September 16, WBUR will begin airing a nine week hour-long roundtable discussion program title "The Politics Show from NPR".

The Politics Show from NPR is the definitive guide to the 2018 midterms — a one-hour roundtable discussion airing for nine weeks that presents a deep dive on the major races, themes, and issues defining these historic elections. Featuring the trademark wit that has long characterized the popular NPR Politics Podcast, The Politics Show from NPR will feature reporters who cover politics from a number of different perspectives — from NPR's White House and Congressional teams to Member station reporters covering local races. Their unique insights into the elections will enable listeners to come away able to discuss the major choices facing voters this election.

Message from WBUR

WBUR has issued the following statement regarding political commentator Paris Dennard who was the subject of a Washington Post article published Wednesday night alleging misconduct allegations:

"Paris Dennard is not an employee of NPR. He has provided periodic contributions as a political commentator on Here & Now, a program NPR and WBUR coproduce. We are deeply concerned by the recent report about his alleged conduct at Arizona State University. WBUR is suspending usage of Mr. Dennard on Here & Now, effective immediately, pending further review."


Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Talks

NPR Music will expand its unique presence at the convergence of music discovery and industry conversations with a series of Tiny Desk Talks this fall in select cities around the country. The can’t-miss, curated conversations will feature celebrated voices in the music and public radio space and cover topics like the technical side of recording performances, soundtracking for film and television, getting music on the radio and the art of songwriting.

These events will be communal deep dives that bring together local musicians, experts, music lovers, public radio supporters, and industry personalities together to talk about their shared interest and expertise of a specific facet of modern-day music-making. See ticket listings at nprpresents.org.

Endless Thread Returns With Season Two Friday, August 10

Amory Sivertson, left, and Ben Brock Johnson, at their AMA (Ask Me Anything) at SXSW in Austin, Tuesday, March 16, 2018. (Photo/Reddit)MoreCloseclosemore
Amory Sivertson, left, and Ben Brock Johnson, at their AMA (Ask Me Anything) at SXSW in Austin, Tuesday, March 16, 2018. (Photo/Reddit)

Endless Thread returns with a new season of episodes on Friday, August 10. Join hosts Ben and Amory for more stories from Reddit's vast ecosystem of online communities. Including...Ben getting hypnotized, a full month of scary stories, conspiracies around the mattress industry, Amory performing stand-up comedy for the first (and last) time, and a sci-fi movie script written collaboratively by strangers.

Click here for more.

Endless Thread sponsored by the All-New 2019 Toyota Avalon