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WBUR Launches New Mobile/Podcast First Website

90.9 WBUR-FM Boston UniversityBoston University Public News/Talk 90.9 WBUR Boston is launching a new website on Friday, June 10.

The new site, developed using Facebook’s open-source React.js javascript library, is built to look and feel like an audio app. The “idea is to make the audio easy to find, and most importantly, infuse the digital experience with a site that is easier to use phones —- modern, extremely fast and efficient.” WBUR states that 65% of their site traffic comes from mobile devices with much of that coming through social media links.

The beta of the new platform can be seen here.

WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, officially released its new audio-centric website, built to reinvent online listening with a faster, more streamlined, mobile-friendly approach for the station’s main website at wbur.org and all of the programs produced by WBUR, including Radio Boston and NPR shows, Here & Now, On Point and Only A Game.

“With a majority of our traffic coming from mobile users, and much of it through social, we recognized that listening to live streaming and segmented audio stories on demand was a huge opportunity for our digital strategy,” said Tiffany Campbell, executive editor for digital at WBUR. “Our new responsive design transforms WBUR.org into a site that looks great on any device and reimagines how listeners connect with, engage with and share audio.”

The site demonstrates WBUR’s ongoing commitment to pioneer innovation in public media. It works seamlessly whether on a desktop, tablet or phone, and allows users to control their own experience whether streaming WBUR live or playing individual audio stories. The site has an industry-leading “persistent play” experience which allows users to listen, read and browse WBUR’s award-winning content simultaneously. The site also features an “Explore Audio” view, listing all audio posts. Users can scrub through an audio file and control the player like an app.

WBUR kicked off the redesign by soliciting input from listeners to crowdsource new features. Users and technologists across the country weighed in and informed the site’s layout, features, and navigation. The site was designed by Boston-based firm Upstatement, using React, the open-source JavaScript coding language created by Facebook. The new wbur.org is one of the first news sites fully written in React, which was selected for its advantage with improved loading speeds on mobile devices.

“This new platform provides us with a way to deliver the great content WBUR produces on-air and online with audio, pictures and multimedia graphics,” said John Davidow, WBUR managing director of digital. “Plus, the site’s modular approach enables us to easily scale up and keep adding more stories, new podcasts, special news series, and new verticals like The ARTery.”

The WBUR website has been in public beta since February, and it will continue to evolve. WBUR plans to roll out new features in the coming months, including a mobile application and a streamlined donation approach to encourage digital giving.

“We’re in a golden age of spoken-word audio—on the radio, online, on mobile apps and in podcasts,” said Charlie Kravetz, general manager, WBUR. “Our heritage in public radio means we excel at creating audio, across all platforms. The new wbur.org brings all our local newsroom and national program content together in a handsome, accessible, state-of-the-art technology platform to serve our listeners, wherever and however they choose to experience WBUR.”

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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