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New York Public Radio Announces $10 Million Gift from The Jerome L. Greene Foundation; Launches New "Discover" Feature on the WNYC App

 

New York Public Radio Announces $10 Million Grant from
The Jerome L. Greene Foundation to Support Digital Innovation and
Launches the New “Discover” Feature for the WNYC App

Greene Foundation Grant Represents the Largest Single Gift

Ever Awarded to a Public Radio Station

“DISCOVER: Radio on Your Own Time”

Allows WNYC App Users to Create Personalized, Time-Based Playlists

(New York, NY – March 10, 2014) – New York Public Radio (NYPR), which operates WNYC and WQXR and is one of the leading producers of public radio content for national audiences, today announced a record-setting grant of $10 million from The Jerome L. Greene Foundation.  The gift, the largest ever made to a public radio station, was awarded to support the company’s digital innovation through the expansion of intellectual capital, product development, and digital membership efforts.  A portion will also go towards ensuring continued accessible ticket pricing at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, NYPR’s street-level, state-of-the-art events venue and broadcast studio.

New York Public Radio also released today the new Discover feature within the WNYC app, the first mobile app to have been built and released to the general public by a public radio station using entirely in-house resources.  Delivering “radio on your own time,” Discover allows listeners to create and download playlists that can accompany any number of activities – commuting, exercising, cooking – with a curation function that blends personal preferences with an element of surprise.

“The Jerome L. Greene Foundation has greatly contributed to our growth and expansion, supporting us at transformational moments in recent years,” said Laura Walker, President and CEO New York Public Radio.  “With its investment and backing, we opened The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, our state-of-the-art events venue, and preserved WQXR classical radio for generations to come.  This new gift will help fuel our digital ambitions in the coming years, ensuring that our content reaches audiences in ways that are meaningful and relevant.  We are so grateful to Chris McInerney and The Greene Foundation for their generosity, their partnership, and their confidence in our digital vision.”

“The Greene Foundation has been impressed by the innovation and creativity of New York Public Radio’s outreach and programming ever since we invested in The Greene Space and made the lead grant to save classical music broadcasting in New York City,” said  Chris McInerney, President, The Jerome L. Greene Foundation. “We are happy to provide support to guarantee the continued operation of The Greene Space and to enable New York’s public radio stations to create new digital platforms, like Discover, to go global and reach new audiences in multiple ways.

The Discover feature is an exciting new way for public radio fans to experience shows they already love and find out about shows and stories they may not yet be familiar with through personalized, time-specific playlists that can be saved and listened to anywhere regardless of connectivity.  Discover playlists will draw from a wide range of national and local content produced by WNYC and WQXR, such as Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Leonard Lopate Show, and Conducting Business, as well as content from other public radio producers such as NPR, American Public Media, and Public Radio International.

 Discover will introduce four key new benefits to the WNYC app:

 

  • Discovery:  The feature is designed to curate a personalized audio experience, combining utility and delight. Once the user provides some parameters of topics and listening time, Discover will serve up a playlist that meets their tastes and preferences, but is culled from a deep reservoir of shows and personalities the listener may or may not already be familiar with.

 

  • Offline listening and listening time selection:  Ideal for subway commuters, Discover allows users to pick topics, set the length of time they have to listen, and then download a playlist for out-of-coverage listening.  It is also ideal for anyone who wants to use their Wi-Fi to download a playlist, and then listen without incurring data charges.
  • Listening companion for your lifestyle: Based upon a user’s topic preferences, Discover will create a personalized playlist for a 30 minute workout, 40 minute cooking session, a two hour car trip.  Stay engaged throughout your day, whatever you’re doing.

 

  • Time-shifted listening: Once a playlist has been downloaded, it remains available within the app, allowing a user to listen on his or her own schedule. 

The WNYC app may be downloaded at www.wnyc.org/mobile.

“We are living in an on-demand world, where audiences want to hear content on their own time, yet they still crave surprise and wonder,” said Thomas Hjelm, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, New York Public Radio.  “The Discover feature marries these two impulses, allowing listeners to input a specified amount of time with a selection of topic preferences, and receive a customized playlist culled from WNYC’s original local and national content – including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Takeaway, among many others – as well as favorites from other producers such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, TED Radio Hour, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and Marketplace. By shaping the listening experience to fit with a consumer’s individualized needs and habits, Discover updates terrestrial radio’s venerable role as intimate companion for the new digital audience.”  

Discover is the type of new technology expansion that will continue to be made possible through this grant from The Jerome L. Greene Foundation.  The grant, which totals $10 million in all, includes $8 million for creating and maintaining updated online platforms and customized applications in order to engage worldwide audiences on a range of digital devices.  An additional $2 million in grant funds will be dedicated to preserving accessible ticket pricing at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, which opened in 2008 with an initial $6 million grant from the Foundation. 

Discover was conceived and designed with input from New York Public Radio’s Digital Task Force, a group of technology and media leaders who provide strategic feedback on the greatest opportunities for digital growth and innovation, review NYPR’s digital roadmap and priorities, preview key projects in development, and help cultivate sources of financial support for digital initiatives. The Task Force members include:  Anton Levy, Managing Director at General Atlantic, who also chairs the group; John Borthwick, CEO and Co-Founder of Betaworks; Kevin Conroy, President of Digital and Enterprise Development at Univision Communications; John Lambros, Managing Director, Head of Digital Media Banking at GCA Savvian Advisors; Geraldine Laybourne, Founder of  Oxygen Media; Jon Miller, Co-founder of Fuel Media Capital; Michelle Peluso, Chief Executive Officer of Gilt; John Rose, Senior Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group; Jim Rossman; Special Advisor at General Atlantic; Ann Misiaszek Sarnoff, Chief Operating Officer at BBC Worldwide Americas; Herb Scannell, President of BBC Worldwide Americas; Lisa Shalett, Head of Brand Marketing and Digital Strategy, Goldman Sachs; Mayo Stuntz, Founding Member of Pilot Group LLC; Cynthia King Vance, Chair of the  New York Public Radio Board of Trustees; Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio; Frank Yeary, Principal of Darwin Capital Advisors LLC; and Thomas Hjelm, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of New York Public Radio.

Additional funding for digital innovation by New York Public Radio was provided by the Tow Foundation and other major funders.

 

New York Public Radio is New York’s premier public radio franchise, comprising WNYC, WQXR, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, and New Jersey Public Radio as well as www.wnyc.org, www.wqxr.org, www.thegreenespace.org and www.njpublicradio.org. As America's most listened-to AM/FM news and talk public radio stations, WNYC extends New York City's cultural riches to the entire country on-air and online, and presents the best national offerings from networks NPR, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and the British Broadcasting Company. WQXR is New York City's sole 24-hour classical music station, presenting new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and Carnegie Hall, among other New York City venues, immersing listeners in the city's rich musical life.  In addition to its audio content, WNYC and WQXR produce content for live, radio and web audiences from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station's street-level multipurpose, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance space.  New Jersey Public Radio extends WNYC’s reach and service more deeply into New Jersey.  For more information about New York Public Radio, visit www.nypublicradio.org.