The Audience Engine is an open-source, customizable suite of fundraising tools for public radio being developed by the Congera Corporation, a subsidiary of WFMU Radio. It was conceived by Ken Freedman, WFMU general manager, and Liz Berg, the assistant general manager. The WFMU platform is based on its successful model of fundraising and listener-community relations. WFMU raises 70% of its annual $ 2.5 million operating budget through its website using crowdfunding technology. The developers explain that “by pairing online content, real-time playlist information, social media, and community interaction tools directly with crowdfunding campaigns, WFMU has not only built a positive and intelligent online community, but also a sustainable model that can be adopted by other organizations, “Hearing Engine, The Audience of Audience Engine.” The goal is to “enable organizations … to build audiences and become self sufficient.” Andrew Flanagan, of Billboard, wrote, “The underlying philosophy of Audience Engine’s development is the same that’s kept WFMU going: experimentation and independence. “Freedman says that Audience Engine can” address the problems of legacy media dealing with new media platforms. It’s much more difficult for the institutions to make that transition. “A large part of Audience Engine’s appeal is its fundraising capabilities.” Audience Engine comes with a set of tools that integrates crowdfunding-inspired donation tools throughout a publisher’s site, with on and off-site widgets for donations and more “noted Flanagan” Freedman observed that “Kickstarter did a great job of borrowing or stealing the concept of the pledge drive, and vastly improved it as well. Public media has not borrowed it back yet! That’s what we’re trying to do. “Although it is primarily aimed at smaller and mid-sized stations, WBUR and WNYC are exploring the platform’s possibilities.
Bocoup, a developer of open-source web technologies, has collaborated with Google, Microsoft, Walmart, eBay, and Apple. Bocoup’s involvement ended in January 2016, and the project was turned over to a team of independent developers under the supervision of WFMU. WordPress developers Joey Dehnert and Andrew Nealon at InsertCulture helped develop the Audience Engine’s web platform. The Audience Engine has received $ 500,000 in grant money over several years from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to undertake software development.
* The Audience Engine web site