Audacy Acquires WideOrbit Streaming Unit, Expanding Its Audio Capabilities

By Audacy InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Audacy Acquires WideOrbit Streaming Unit, Expanding Its Audio Capabilities

Remember Victor Kiam, the executive who liked Remington shavers so much, he bought the company? That led to a long-running series of commercials playing all over TV, with Kiam gaining a rep as one of the medium's best advertising spokespeople.

Audacy's level of satisfaction with a technology for its various audio enterprises -- the streaming process developed by a division of WideOrbit -- led the company formerly known as Entercom to acquire the division last month. Like Kiam, Audacy believes the process, now renamed AmperWave, will trigger more choice and functionality for its audio-centric audiences, along with new revenue opportunities.

"We wanted to control our own destiny by focusing on a streaming solution that would deliver premium quality audio and new, innovative features to our listeners," explained Sarah Foss, Audacy's Chief Information Officer.

In explaining the importance of this investment, she referred to Audacy's mobile app, the use and growth of its services through smart speakers, and what it's doing with connected cars. With the new technology, "we could actually increase their engagement and deliver brand new features," she said.

Audacy operates more than 240 radio stations nationwide, many of them available to listeners anytime through websites, smartphones, smart speakers and lately (in a growing number of markets) smart TV sets and gadgets. In the surging universe of podcasting, Audacy owns a pair of popular podcast ventures: Cadence13, which is home to We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle, Gangster Capitalism and The Tony Kornheiser Show, and Pineapple Street Studios, with a roster of series that  includes Back Issue, Heaven's Gate (adapted for an HBO Max docuseries last year) and Wind of Change (which Hulu is developing for a TV series run).

Off the bat, AmperWave will become the technology foundation for delivering premium audio experiences among consumers. The platform is flexible enough to manage content to the multiple devices that consumers use to enjoy and engage with audio. Foss defined premium audio as "recognizing that you want it to sound great, enabling listener control of content, available on all the different platforms.

"Those things are mission-critical," she said.

Audacy is one of WideOrbit's largest clients for other products. Negotiations to control the audio streaming operation started after Audacy saw the integrations it has with other WideOrbit technology at a number of radio stations. "It just became a very organic conversation of how we could look at their [process], a small part of their business," said Foss. "What if we could move forward and take control of the destiny of this particular platform, so we can make it purpose-built for audio publishers and radio stations across the country?"

That's why Audacy will offer AmperWave to other radio station owners, podcast creators and other audio business entities, as the company expands the operation. "This is a profitable center," Foss said. "We're excited about where it's going to go in the future."

Foss foresees applications that give listeners more control over what they hear and where they hear it coming their way in short order. An arena where AmperWave will have a near-term impact, in Foss' estimation, is delivery of digital audio advertising messages and campaigns. Using this technology, specific commercials or campaigns can be fed in a timely manner to specific demographic audiences, programming or platforms.

"The more relevant the ad is, the more local it is, the more important it becomes and the better the experience," Foss concluded. "We believe there's growth for AmperWave. As we add additional features and functionality, we get more sophisticated with podcast ad inventory as a nascent or new audio medium."

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