Entercom, a company mostly associated with its hundreds of US radio stations, is losing its old name in an effort to signify its broader interest and investments in audio — specifically, podcasts. Today, Entercom becomes Audacy. The company, which owns podcast networks Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, as well as ad network Podcorn, is looking to keep expanding its work in the digital audio space. Along with the rebrand, the company is announcing a new podcast partnership with Demi Lovato; a partnership with BetMGM to create content around sports betting; and a plan to exclusively debut new, original shows on its Audacy listening app (previously the Radio.com app).
“We’ve come to this point where we are really fundamentally different than who we were before,” CEO David Fields said. “And it was time for a new identity, a new brand that really reflected the depth and breadth of all the things that we do and the ambitions and vision that we have going forward.”
The branding shift comes as more companies double down on podcasting. iHeartMedia and Cumulus both own radio stations around the US but also maintain podcast businesses. Cumulus owns Westwood One, which hosts shows from political commentators like Ben Shapiro, while iHeartMedia altered its operating structure to report its podcasting division revenue separately from its radio stations earlier this year. Audacy already makes podcasts, and Fields claims it’s the “number one creator of audio content in the United States” considering its news and local sports radio stations’ programming.
“We think that deserves its own platform as opposed to being part of somebody else’s platform,” he says when asked why Audacy wants to launch shows exclusively on its app rather than looking to the biggest listening apps, like Spotify or Apple Podcasts. (Spotify has already locked in exclusives with Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios on shows like Welcome to Your Fantasy.)
Meanwhile, he also says with live audio apps, like Clubhouse, taking off, “there is more energy and enthusiasm around audio today than ever before.” Audacy clearly wants to make sure it stays in the conversation and its investors know it’s serious about podcasting, not just radio.