Radio station’s Facebook app encourages young listeners to ‘make babies’

Chicago public radio’s campaign pushes the envelope on Facebook.

There’s a simple equation behind public radio station WBEZ Chicago’s new marketing campaign. Interesting people listen to public radio. Therefore, those interesting people should “make babies,” who will grow up to be interesting themselves and will contribute to the publicly funded station in 2032.

“You’re an interesting person,” one campaign tagline reads. “Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA.”

The “2032 Membership Drive” is a tongue-in-cheek approach that pushes past public radio’s buttoned-up, highbrow image. But there’s a serious goal behind it. The station aims to attract new, young listeners—people unfamiliar with the station or public radio—by going outside its comfort zone.

Part of the approach includes going where many millennials congregate: Facebook.

“If we want to achieve our mission, we have to take risks from a content standpoint,” says Daniel Ash, vice president of WBEZ parent company Chicago Public Media. “You’re never going to get penalized for trying.”

The campaign’s just gearing up, but the media response so far has been pretty big.

Breaking the silence

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