Public radio’s looooong-term strategy: Have more babies, listeners

WBEZ (Facebook) | The New York Times
Chicago’s WBEZ wants its listeners to make more listeners.

The agency Xi Chicago designed the $400,000 “2032 Membership Drive,” which “inspires interesting people to hook up with interesting people and make more interesting people, thereby creating the next generation of listeners.”

As part of the campaign, which launches Friday, the ads will appear in print, online, at train platforms and bus stops, on taxis and T-shirts, with these taglines:

  • Do it. For Chicago.
  • We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today.
  • Hey Interesting People, get a room already. And then put a crib in it.
  • To anyone NOT currently running a virtual farm: GoMakeBabies.com
  • You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA.


“Go make babies today,” WBEZ suggests on a Facebook app that determines how interesting one is (“If someone were trying to pick me up at a bar, they’d have a good shot if they talked about” is one question, for which “Camel Poop” is an option) and suggests potential mates.

This male blogger took the quiz and was presented with an array of eligible men, many of whom are attractive but with whom conception might prove a challenge.

These cards will appear on public transportation as part of the campaign.

Chicago Public Media VP Daniel Ash says in a press release he hopes the campaign “will reach, and resonate with, younger news consumers who’ve never heard of us.” I couldn’t immediately find CPM’s demographic data, but the median age of NPR listeners suggests WBEZ might not scoop up those intelligent babies quickly: It’s 49 for broadcast, 40 for online readers and 36 for podcast-listeners.

“The more interesting, smart, curious Chicagoans we can deliver to WBEZ the better,” said group creative director Rick Hamann in the same release. “But we figured it would be far easier to target their babies. Because they’re far easier to carry.  And I’m sure we’ll be happy with the results, in the next 18 years or so.”

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