WBUR and The New York Times partner on ‘Modern Love’ podcast

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Boston’s WBUR announced Monday that it will team up with The New York Times starting in January on a podcast based on “Modern Love,” the paper’s weekly reader-submitted essay on love and relationships.

Modern Love: The Podcast will adapt the column into a weekly podcast. Celebrities like January Jones and Judd Apatow will read previously printed “Modern Love” essays, accompanied with updates from the essayists. WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti and New York Times Modern Love editor Daniel Jones will interview the authors.

WBUR approached the Times with the idea for a “Modern Love” podcast about two years ago, GM Charles Kravetz told Current. Kravetz said the idea came out of a brainstorming session in the station’s iLab, a lab for internal innovation.

Another WBUR podcast, Dear Sugar, also came out of iLab. The lab is working on about half a dozen projects, Kravetz said, and WBUR has set aside $1.5 million to fund lab projects. Kravetz declined to say how much WBUR is spending on Modern Love: The Podcast.

Kravetz said he thinks the podcast can leverage the success and following of the Modern Love column. “We’re really excited that Modern Love could be a big hit,” Kravetz said. “We would like to be up near the top of the iTunes list.”

“Our goal is that this is a very long-running project,” he added. WBUR and the Times will produce weekly episodes for a year, and “if both partners feel this is successful, we hope to be doing this for years to come.”

WBUR is charged with producing the podcasts and finding ways to make the show financially sustainable. The station is committing three full-time staffers to the show. The Times will help with marketing, making sure the podcast accurately reflects the column, and access to the column and Jones, according to Kravetz.

Jones, who lives in Massachusetts, will record the podcast at WBUR’s studios.

WBUR becomes the second public radio station to partner with a New York media institution on audio content this year. WNYC and The New Yorker launched their radio show and podcast, The New Yorker Radio Hour, earlier this year.

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