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WBUR Celebrates The Opening Of Boston's New Home For Public Conversation, CitySpace

Digital rendering of WBUR's planned CitySpace. (Courtesy Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc.)
Digital rendering of WBUR's planned CitySpace. (Courtesy Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc.)

WBUR CitySpace at The Lavine Broadcast Center Heralds Kick-Off
of ‘The Campaign for WBUR’ – The First-Ever Capital Campaign in WBUR History

On January 30, 2019, WBUR will celebrate the debut of CitySpace at The Lavine Broadcast Center, representing a central pillar of a six-year $40 million capital campaign. Located at 890 Commonwealth Avenue on the Boston University campus, the new, state-of-the-art convening space offers an unparalleled venue to generate and foster public conversation, artistic performance, and cultural expression. CitySpace will officially open to the public on February 28.

“WBUR CitySpace at the newly dedicated Lavine Broadcast Center will be the home for public conversation in Boston,” said WBUR General Manager Charles Kravetz. “CitySpace brings the best of WBUR and NPR to life – it’s a destination where people can come together to engage in civic dialogue, to wrestle with big ideas, to be inspired, to be entertained, and to be educated on topics that impact our community and our lives. It’s a critical part of our strategic plan to transform WBUR from a ‘radio-centric’ resource into a multiplatform, multimedia organization serving the public on air, online, on demand, and on stage.”

To fulfill its strategic plan, WBUR is proud to announce the public phase of The Campaign for WBUR, the first-ever capital campaign in its 68-year history, which builds upon WBUR’s commitment to exceptional journalism and programming, deep civic engagement, and embracing the opportunities of the digital age.

The Campaign for WBUR supports three key investment areas: CitySpace; Expanding Journalism for Boston and the Nation; and Ensuring WBUR’s Future Through Innovation. Specific journalistic endeavors include increasing the current scope of the station’s environmental reporting, investigative journalism, arts and culture reporting, innovation economy reporting, and education reporting. This funding will also support local newsroom fellowships to hire and train the next generation of public media journalists. The innovation funding supports WBUR’s iLab, which focuses on content innovation, and BizLab, which works to ensure the sustainability of public radio in today’s ever-evolving media environment. At the heart of The Campaign for WBUR is an unrelenting focus on independent journalism.

Co-chairs for The Campaign for WBUR include William P. Collatos, Jonathan and Margot Davis, Paul and Patty Gannon, Howard and Fredericka Stevenson, and Corey and Anya Thomas. To date, more than $28 million of the $40 million goal has been raised, including a $5 million gift from Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, the largest in WBUR’s history, which served as the anchor for the capital campaign and supported the creation of The Lavine Broadcast Center. Lead funders who have supported CitySpace include the Barr Foundation, Josh and Anita Bekenstein, The Davis Family Charitable Foundation, and The Gannon Family Foundation.

“We’re proud to support WBUR and CitySpace’s mission to promote vigorous, intelligent, and well-informed conversation about the most pressing issues facing our world, nation, and community,” said Jonathan Lavine. “It’s thrilling to be able to take an active role in helping advance true dialogue – something that is urgently needed in the current polarized environment. We hope CitySpace will contribute to the City of Boston’s reputation as a center of academic excellence and civil discourse, and serve as an important gathering place for years to come.”

WBUR serves 500,000 regional and 7 million national listeners every week and is one of the most widely consumed public radio stations in the country. With this additional investment from the community, WBUR will continue to increase the reach and accessibility of high-quality, fact-based journalism.

"The City of Boston is excited to welcome WBUR’s CitySpace, a convening space that will help bring diverse thinkers, innovators, and performers together to create an inclusive community for all that it serves," said Mayor Walsh. “This new space will act as an important public hub engaging our residents on issues that are shaping Boston and the country.”

CitySpace will expand how WBUR serves the citizens of Greater Boston with live events ranging from discussions, debates and lectures, to films, music, artistic performance, youth events, podcasts, and live radio broadcasts. Through CitySpace, WBUR seeks to serve up to 30,000 people annually.

Occupying 8,700 square feet, CitySpace is a high-tech performance space featuring an open, flexible seating plan that accommodates up to 275 guests with cutting-edge audio and robotic HD video technology for livestreaming and recording, robotically controlled theatrical lighting, a pneumatic stage, and a video presentation wall. CitySpace is designed by world-renowned architectural firm, CambridgeSeven, with acoustical and audio-visual design by Acentech Engineers, construction by Lee Kennedy Co, Inc., and project supervision by Boston University.

The full list of CitySpace events will be unveiled January 31 with tickets on sale to the public at www.wbur.org/cityspace. For more information about The Campaign for WBUR, please visit www.wbur.org/future.

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