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Audio is Getting Precise

The nation’s leading producer of local sports, music, and news brands is making big bets on technology

Audio is Getting Precise

On Super Bowl Sunday, I stood next to Audacy clients at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. As we waited for kickoff, I spotted people around me with headsets on, listening to their mobile phones. Did something happen? To my relief, there wasn’t a breaking news emergency. These people were Bengals fans. They wanted pre-game coverage from Cincinnati’s perspective and were streaming their favorite hometown sports radio station. Of course! Their town. Their team. Their voices. No one from Ohio wanted to hear the local Rams feed.

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That’s the power of audio—immediate, intimate, portable, trusted. I loved how technology makes that kind of audio experience possible and felt so proud to work at Audacy. My career began in terrestrial radio, but later I pivoted to a large audio streaming service. Two months ago, I jumped at the chance to serve as Audacy’s CRO. Most of my friends immediately got it. However, a few folks pulled me aside, put their hand on my shoulder, and with a sincere look in their eyes would ask, “What were you thinking . . .?”

“What are YOU missing?” I’d reply with a laugh. “Audio is hot and Audacy is defining what’s next.” For me, it’s important to always be in the middle of the action. And that’s where I am right now. My new work home is among the world’s premiere multiplatform audio content and entertainment companies. That’s why I’m here.

PRECISION IS THE NEW REACH

One of the many things that got me so stoked about Audacy are the investments the company is making in technology. Once upon a time, advertisers thought radio’s only real strength was its ability to share a message efficiently to a huge portion of the public. While it’s true that Audio remains a great reach medium, the digital age has also made it very precise—great for targeting specific consumer profiles with that same exponential reach. We can connect to advertisers’ most valued cohorts by geography, passions, even propensity to buy. In fact, precision at scale is now audio’s greatest differentiator.

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Historically, most brands have underinvested in audio. As television’s power wanes with increased audience fragmentation and cord cutting, that is changing. The combination of reach and precise targeting makes audio extremely strategic and efficient. It’s now a must-have medium for reaching the right audience at scale. These days, audio’s skill at connecting with listeners wherever they are, whenever they want is drawing a lot of attention. It sure did with me as I was joining the Audacy team.

COMPANION IS THE NEW UBIQUITY

No matter the activity – whether you’re exercising, cooking, driving, working, or even lying still with your eyes closed – audio is the ultimate companion medium. It’s additive to whatever you’re doing, and it’s the ONLY media that can be actively consumed while engaged in something else. No matter if you’re listening to your favorite radio station, streaming content, or tucking into a podcast, only audio enhances the moment while allowing the freedom to do other things.

That’s because it’s portable and omnipresent—accessible over the air, via the internet, and through mobile devices. It’s available in the car, at home, and the office. Audio is everywhere you want it to be, whenever you want to be with it—even in the middle of 70,000 screaming fans at the Super Bowl.

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Add to that the fact that audio is the most trusted and relied upon media, and you have the ultimate companion. It’s an intimate experience with voices, content, and brands that people not only trust but build their day around. That intimacy means users are more engaged with audio than any other medium. None scores higher in trust. And it’s why I’m here.

THE SMART AUDIO TECH STACK IS THE NEW RADIO TOWER

I’m a tech geek and a ravenous audiophile. What we’re investing in at Audacy is about as exciting as anything I’ve seen across any media company. Our company constantly strives to innovate, while always doing it through the lens of how it will benefit our listeners—and our advertisers. That’s leading us to invest deeply in technology and content.

This month, we’ve launched the Audacy Digital Audience Network, or ADAN for short. During my first weeks on the job, I heard again and again the desire for a simpler way to buy advertising from us. Clients wanted one central place to access our company’s digital assets—everything from live-streaming to podcasts. In response, we created ADAN to bring better targetability for our advertisers across our entire digital ecosystem.

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By using ADAN, brands have access to more than 60 million listeners that other audio platforms simply don’t reach. If you include Audacy’s 230 market-leading broadcast radio brands, the reach jumps to 200 million listener connections per month.

We also created AmperWave to connect content and creators with audiences at scale. This digital audio technology capability helps Audacy provide audio streaming and monetization services to customers while delivering a better listening experience to listeners.

And soon, we’ll roll out new capabilities on our consumer app that center around discovery of great content across our platform and connection to the moments that matter most to our listeners. Consumers can listen to Audacy sports, news, music, or podcasts—all wrapped up into a personalized audio universe that connects them more deeply with their favorite personalities, brands, and communities.

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Once the Super Bowl was over, I headed back home and was left thinking about how significant the audio experience was for many attendees. More than ever, it was clear I’d made a terrific choice. Audio is no longer just a line item on a PowerPoint slide. Nope. It’s a powerful, must-have media for all modern advertisers. Audio is on fire. And so is Audacy.

Brian Benedik is the chief revenue officer at Audacy

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