Helping Indie Media Enter Digital Age Cited in Merger of WFMU-Borne Audience Engine and Spinitron

Radio Microphone 2015
Getty Images

Audience Engine, a public media-minded fundraising platform, has merged with radio audience engagement specialists Spinitron. The decision to partner-up and form a public benefit corporation (PBC) is meant to "help independent, public and not-for-profit media to succeed in the digital age," according to an announcement on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Boston-based Spinitron has a slate of products already popular in music radio, including tools for creating station schedules as well as software for real-time music playlists and chat rooms connecting DJs with audiences. Owned by a PBC called Congera, whose parent company counts New York radio station WFMU among its properties, Audience Engine is an open-source set of tools that integrates crowdfunding-inspired donation tools throughout a publisher's site. It offers on and off-site widgets for donations as well as gift reward management, and includes a full suite of analytics.

As part of the merger, Spinitron co-founders Eva Papp and Tom Worster will join Audience Engine, which will be expanding its services from radio to include podcasters, journalists and other content-creating industries. Spinitron's future initiatives including providing support for traffic services including underwriting and promotional announcements.

WFMU Wants to Change How Media Talks to Its Audiences and Raises Money -- For Free

"Spinitron's music tracking software is an amazing service for music programs, music fanatics, artists and record labels," said Audience Engine president and WFMU general manager Ken Freedman. "Add what they've accomplished to our work on audience engagement and modernized online fundraising, and you create a powerful combination."

Speaking with Billboard in July of 2015, Freedman said the creation of Audience Engine was to "address the problems of legacy media dealing with new media platforms" like crowdfunding. "Kickstarter did a great job of borrowing or stealing the concept of the pledge drive, and vastly improved it as well," he said. "Public media hasn't borrowed it back yet! That's what we're trying to do."