Chicago’s WBEZ Radio unveils first new marketing campaign in 10 years

Press Release:


January 28, 2013 – Chicago’s WBEZ 91.5FM, one of the country’s premier public radio stations, working with creative partner Xi Chicago, will unveil its first new marketing campaign in ten years on Friday, February 1, to attract future listeners by asking the most interesting Chicagoans to go make babies. The campaign is being dubbed the “2032 Membership Drive” and inspires interesting people to hook up with interesting people and make more interesting people, thereby creating the next generation of listeners.

Created under the unifying theme “Radio for the Curious Class,” this campaign aims to populate the Curious Class with a call to action to visit, where people can take an “Interesting Assessment.” Visitors will then be offered up links to current WBEZ content based on their tastes, along with potential mates who share their interests. The app also features a Future Viewer gallery where people can upload photos of their interesting child/future listener and in return receive a “Future Curious Class Member” onesie.

The campaign elements include local print outlets, promotion and mobile experience; digital banners, Pandora and Facebook ads; contextual out of home, wallscapes, train platforms, bus shelters and street decals, taxi tops and bumper stickers and T-shirts with messaging and taglines such as:
· 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:
· You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA.

Said Daniel Ash, VP of WBEZ 91.5 parent company Chicago Public Media, “We tasked Xi with developing an attention-getting campaign that speaks directly to young adults who’ve never heard of WBEZ and who respond positively to tongue-in-cheek irony and playfulness. Certainly it’s a different approach than what one would expect from a public media station but we hope this will reach, and resonate with, younger news consumers who’ve never heard of us.”

“This is a recruitment campaign. Pure and simple,” said group creative director Rick Hamann. “The more interesting, smart, curious Chicagoans we can deliver to WBEZ the better. 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.”

Chicago Public Media is an institution that creates award-winning content for people seeking to learn more about the issues and ideas that affect our community, our nation, and our world. Chicago Public Media produces programs such as This American Life, Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! (a co-production with NPR), Sound Opinions, The Morning Shift, The Afternoon Shift, Worldview, and Radio M. In addition to WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago Public Media also operates Vocalo 89.5 FM, a next generation service that seeks to expand the reach of public media. For more information, visit

About Xi Chicago (formerly Proximity): Xi (pronounced “chee”) is a digital agency that delivers big, strategically grounded brand ideas for local and global clients, and is part of the Proximity Worldwide/BBDO network that’s consistently recognized as the most creative and effective in the world.

You might also like
1 Comment
  1. MattParker says

    Public radio keeps trying to pretend they are “non-commercial” – and that those “enhanced underwriting announcements” are not spots, yet here they are chasing the money demos.
    It’s a clever idea. That is if you set aside the question of whether radio – let alone public radio as we know it – will be around in 2032.
    Public radio has evolved from educational radio to fine arts radio to news and information radio. The audience for its news and information programming is and was at the beginning educated, affluent and counter-culture baby boomers. NPR News launched with Watergate hearings and the first broadcast of All Things Considered was devoted to a May Day anti-war March on Washington. The New York Times recently did a story on the “dumbing down” of NPR to attract younger listeners and minority listeners – driving away the people who do listen to attract the people who don’t.
    This promotional stunt is an albeit clever attempt to get non-listeners – people who consider radio irrelevant and public radio dull. It’s a desperation move. Is Ash communicating to its core audience that public radio doesn’t care about them any more? Will they respond at pledge time?
    I know this is supposed to be funny. The execution I’ve seen is not funny. Mel Brooks can get away with tasteless suggestions. Most of the rest of us can not (including Xi). And it’s especially difficult to get away with something like this with the earnest and socially conscious public radio audience.

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More