Over 100 New York City Public Schools To Replace Bells With Educational Podcasts

SonarCloud and ABF Creative have embarked on a groundbreaking initiative, starting with 100 New York City public schools. Traditional school bells will be replaced with “Mini-Pods,” bite-sized educational podcasts. Launching in February, coinciding with Black History Month, this innovative change aims to engage over 300,000 students daily with rich educational content. The initiative expected to make 10 million monthly impressions, is set to reimagine educational delivery.

The traditional school bell is being replaced by 60-second podcast, seamlessly integrating into the school day. Reflecting the diverse student body of New York City, these podcasts are rich in cultural diversity and inclusivity. February’s focus on Black historical figures will lead to monthly themes, including social-emotional learning, women’s history, and more, enriching learning and offering new avenues for responsible brand engagement.

Following New York’s lead, expansion plans are already underway for 1,000 more schools nationwide, including Chicago and Los Angeles. The rapid adoption of Mini Pods is attributed to SonarCloud’s sound management platform, which transforms any school PA system into a cost-effective cloud-enabled device. The partnership with ABF Creative ensures access to safe, educational content, enhancing students’ experiences.

Jesse Baptiste of Sonarcloud states, “Education is continually evolving; our methods must, too. Replacing traditional school bells with educational podcasts is more than a sonic change — it’s a gateway to continuous, engaging, and interactive learning.”

Anthony Frasier, CEO of ABF Creative, adds, “Our goal is to integrate educational narratives into the daily school rhythm, enriching each learning moment. This initiative reflects our community’s diversity and heralds a new era storytelling, learning, and impactful connections.”

For more information on this transformative initiative and partnership opportunities, visit visit GetSonarCloud.com. Join the future of education and brand engagement with Sonarcloud and ABF Creative.

Audacy Renews Relationship With Veritonic

Veritonic, the industry’s comprehensive audio analytics and research platform, announced that Audacy has renewed its partnership with the company. The continued partnership will allow Audacy to provide their clients and advertising partners with insightful and comprehensive data that can be used to optimize their audio campaigns, resulting in an increase in both reach and ROI.

“Measuring the impact of our total Audio campaigns — including radio, streaming, and podcast advertising — with Veritonic allows us to show the power of Audacy’s content in connecting with audiences and mobilizing customers,” said Idil Cakim, Senior Vice President of Research and Insights, Audacy. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership and enable our clients and advertising partners to leverage audio to achieve the utmost in competitive edge, reach, and ROI.”

“We take great pride in our ongoing partnership with Audacy, supporting their clients and advertising partners with unparalleled data & insights to inform their audio strategies,” said Scott Simonelli, CEO of Veritonic. “Through the utilization of our creative measurement and brand lift solutions, Audacy can continue to empower their clients with the data required to fine-tune their campaigns and ensure a robust return on their investment in the channel.”

Veritonic’s measurement platforms and tools enable Audacy to pressure test the sonic qualities of the company’s clients’ messaging and advise them on the optimal sounds that will generate positive emotions, recall and action. Audacy uses Veritonic’s audio-first Brand Lift and Creative Measurement solutions to measure the impact of their clients’ audio campaigns on key brand performance metrics, across the funnel.

The studies provide a deeper understanding of how audio contributes to achieving a client’s goals in terms of emotional resonance, awareness, favorability, intent, and recall. By equipping brands with these tools for validating their investments, Veritonic helps mitigate risks and enhance the performance and ROI audio across various formats, including streaming and audio and podcast advertising.

Veritonic’s AI-powered Creative Measurement solution provides brands and agencies with robust pre-market insights that delve into the emotional resonance, recall, and engagement of audio content. With this actionable information in hand, brands and agencies can optimize their content for maximum impact, ensuring that every element of their audio campaign captures the attention and hearts of their target audience.

The exclusive provider of independent and holistic audio data and analytics, the Veritonic platform is supporting the audio strategies of leading brands, agencies, and platforms around the world.

Introducing The MOSAIC Collective – Empowering Diversity in Audio

The ALIVE Podcast Network and Barometer are proud to announce the launch of the MOSAIC Collective, a groundbreaking initiative that is transforming the audio industry by driving equity through transparency. MOSAIC aims to use data to change the narrative surrounding diverse voices, empowering brands to support inclusivity without compromising on brand standards or performance.

In today’s world, many creators are unaware of the concept of brand suitability, which is often used against them to exclude their content from advertising opportunities. “With the creation of MOSAIC, we aim to bridge the gap between brands and diverse voices,” said Angel Livas, founder of the ALIVE Podcast Network and co-creator of the MOSAIC Collective. “We’re providing more opportunities for support and enhancing transparency by educating creators about brands’ requirements when purchasing podcast ads.”

MOSAIC’s mission is to focus on diversity in its broadest sense, allowing each member organization to define it based on the diversity it represents. From amplifying female voices to empowering LGBTQ+ and black creators, as well as diverse media owners and advertisers seeking to support underrepresented voices, the collective brings together stakeholders from across the value chain. Approximately 47% of the collective are publishers, 18% are advertisers and the rest are ad tech providers working to facilitate our noble initiatives. Of the publishers represented, over half (approximately 56%) have diverse ownership.

The MOSAIC Collective is working on two crucial initiatives:

  • Curating scaled inventory sets: Through this initiative, MOSAIC aims to provide vehicles for brands to buy diverse voices at a scale larger than any individual member could achieve on their own. By curating inventory that represents various diverse communities, MOSAIC will not only amplify diverse voices but also dispel stereotypes about suitability associated with each group of content through research.
  • Monitoring success for diversity support: Participating creators’ feeds will have the opportunity to monitor monetization using the AB Daily Monitoring solution. This data will help quantify the financial support going to diverse media owners and diverse voices. It will also serve as a baseline and recurring check-up to ensure equitable revenue is being generated for these creators. Additionally, MOSAIC collaborates with participating and external advertisers to track their buys through attribution, demonstrating the buying power of the audiences reached through diverse voices.

“The MOSAIC Collective strives to overcome stereotypes with transparent data about the suitability of diverse voices’ content while capturing data that highlights the performance and buying power of these communities,” said Tamara Zubatiy, co-founder of Barometer and co-creator of the MOSAIC Collective. “We are dedicated to reshaping the audio industry and driving positive change for underrepresented voices.”

To date, the MOSAIC Collective is composed of publishers, media owners, advertisers, and ad-tech companies, each member of the collective is committed to investing 90 minutes (per month) to change the trajectory of transparency in audio for underrepresented voices. The collective aims to foster community growth and conduct extensive research to gain greater insights. “By working together, we can ensure that investing in audio is inclusive an suitable by design.”

With the MOSAIC Collective, a new era of transparency and equity in audio is emerging. Together, we can create a more inclusive and diverse landscape that empowers creators, supports brands, and amplifies underrepresented voices.

AudioUK Launches 2024 Manifesto For UK Podcast, Radio And Audiobook Industry

AudioUK, the trade association for podcast, radio and audiobook producers, has launched a new four-point manifesto, detailing policies to grow the UK’s audio production sector.

The manifesto, entitled ‘The Sound of Success’, calls for political parties to support audio production in the way that successive governments have already given a boost to other content production sectors, for example, high-end and children’s TV, animation, video games and film.

An Audio Production Tax Relief, would, according to the calculations of Communications Chambers, deliver a net gain to HM Treasury through attracting international investment into UK-made podcasts from brands, broadcasters and platforms.

Audio-specific funds will grow the sector both internationally and domestically. A Global Audio IP Fund would mirror the success of the Global IP Fund, to which the current government has just re-emphasized its support, in developing international podcast formats and IP. Audio IP has already been used to develop spinoffs including TV, books, live shows, merchandise and more, examples being Happy Place, Help, I Sexted My Boss, The Girlfriends and others. Meanwhile, reinstating finance for the Audio Content Fund would reinvigorate the plurality of PBS content for UK audiences on commercial and community radio, as it did so successfully from 2019 to 2023.

Skills funding for the audio sector, previously used to set up AudioUK’s now self-support Audiotrain programme, would enable skills and training in podcasting production and entrepreneurship to allow the sector to meet the anticipated increase in demand for audio in the UK grows, both in audiobooks and podcasting.

Lastly, as the BBC takes its place in the wider podcast market through its expansion of BBC Studios’ audio production arm, a commitment to, in the next BBC Charter, introduce 100% competition to make non-news BBC radio and audio content would ensure UK independent producers were able to contribute fully to the BBC having a wide range of viewpoints, stories, ideas and perspectives.

Chloe Straw, Managing Director of AudioUK, said: “As the global podcast and audiobook industries show sustained exponential growth, coupled with the enduring strength of radio reach in the UK, it is imperative for the government to actively champion and foster this thriving creative sector. Aligning it with other creative industries in the UK will empower the sector to fully capitalize on the vast domestic and global opportunities available.”

‘The Sound of Success: A Manifesto for the UK independent podcast, radio and audiobook industry 2024’ can be downloaded from here.

Libsyn Unveils January 2024 Podcast Advertising Rates

Libsyn Syndication Inc. (“Libsyn”), the leading all-in-one podcasting platform for creators and advertisers, announced its January 2024 Podcast Advertising Rates, including the highest and most accessible CPM categories.

“More people are tuning into podcasts, and advertising dollars are following suit — and a notable 68% consumers are more willing to consider a product they heard about on a podcast ad. Entering 2024, we’re optimistic about the growth of podcast advertising — with more local and regional advertisers embracing the medium and expanding opportunities in programmatic buying,” stated Dave Hanley, Chief Revenue Officer of Libsyn’s Advertise Cast. “We look forward empowering more creators and advertisers with industry-leading tools to deliver richer audience insights, improved performance outcomes, and increased transparency.”

January 2024 Podcast Advertising Rates

The following rates, which are denoted as cost per thousand or CPM, are published monthly by Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast, the industry’s premier podcast advertising marketplace, that connects advertisers with podcasters. The Company releases the figures to empower the podcaster and advertiser communities to readily monitor market pricing and provide greater insight into podcaster advertising as a monetization vehicle. The data is derived from actual sales data across AdvertiseCast’s network of thousands of shows.

For January 2024, the average CPM rate was $21.69 for a 60-second ad spot. That figure is down from December, which is a typical trend during the Q1 ramp up period (December 2023 avg. CPM rate: $22.91), and has decreased year-over-year (January 2023 avg. CPM rate: $22.21).

The three highest CPM categories in January based on delivered advertising were:

* Technology: $26

* Arts: $26

* Education: $24

Moreover, three categories where advertisers can effectively tap into highly engaged audiences at more accessible CPM rates include Fiction, Games, and Leisure, which averaged around the high teens to low 20s in January.

Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast combines an industry-leading ad buying and management platform with full-service capabilities that makes it easy for podcast advertisers to initiate and manage highly targeted and measurable campaigns, while providing maximum return for creators. Historical monthly CPM rates can be found on AdvertiserCast’s website. https://www.advertisecast.com/podcast-advertising-rates

About Liberated Syndication

Celebrating our 20th year in podcasting, Liberated Syndication Inc. (“Libsyn”) is the leading all-in-one podcasting platform for creators and advertisers to host, distribute, monetize, amplify, and measure their audio and video content. The Company hosts more than 75,000 shows and delivers over 8 billion downloads to listeners globally. Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast marketplace combines an industry-leading ad buying and management platform with full-service capabilities that make it easy for podcast advertisers to initiate and manage highly targeted and measurable campaigns across thousands of shows. Visit libsyn.com or investor.libsyn.com for more information on the Company and the platforms that it powers.

Andrew Goldsmith Appointed CEO of Adelicious

Adelicious has appointed Andrew Goldsmith to the role of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Previously serving as Managing Director since October 2021, Goldsmith’s promotion comes at a time of exceptional growth for the company, allowing them to accelerate their long-term growth plans.

By the end of 2023, Adelicious had a 314% year-on-year increase in network listens, marking a sevenfold increase over the past two years and establishing them as one of the world’s leading independent hosting and monetsation networks. This growth in listens led to their brand count more than doubling and both average campaign values and overall revenues increasing more than threefold.

Goldsmith’s tenure at Adelicious began with a mandate to expand the commercial and operations departments, alongside network growth and attracting senior talent to the business. His efforts have also been pivotal in fostering relationships with media planning and buying teams in the UK, US and globally. Goldsmith’s previous experience includes roles at Global Radio, Primesight and as Business Partner at The Guardian, where he was instrumental in returning the newspaper to profit for the first time since 1988.

The promotion of Goldsmith to CEO is part of the company’s wider growth strategy, allowing co-founders David McGuire and Pascal Hughes to move to the newly created roles of co-Chief Growth Officers, with the trio focusing on the on-going evolution and long-term vision of the business.

Andrew Goldsmith, CEO at Adelicious, said: “Stepping into the role of CEO at such a dynamic time for Ademicious is both an honor and an exciting challenge. Our impressive growth sine launch is a clear indication of our team’s hard work and the innovative strategies we’ve implemented. As CEO, I am committed to working with David, Pascal, and the team to bring our exciting plans to fruition and further reinforcing our position as a leader in the global podcasting market.”

In a joint statement, David McGuire and Pascal Hughes, co-Chief Growth Officers at Adelicious, added: “Our revenue and network growth has far exceeded our forecasts, made possible by Andy and his team and our fantastic partners whose amazing content they trusted us to look after. As a result, we’re able to accelerate our plans for growth and are delighted that Andy has accepted the position of CEO. Andy has already driven exceptional growth and opened up the door to some of the world’s biggest brands and we look forward to seeing our growth and our new projects come to fruition.”

Adelicious, founded in 2020, is home to a suite of popular commercial podcasts including Apple’s most popular podcast of 2023, The Diary of a CEO and the 2023 I’m a Celebrity ‘King of the Jungle’ Sam Thompson’s show Staying Relevant, alongside co-host Pete Wicks. The platform also features other notable shows such as Wellness Unpacked with Ella (Deliciously Ella), Short History Of, Socially Distant Sports Bar and The Motherkind Podcast.

Pineapple Street Union Responds To Layoffs

The following is a statement from Writer’s Guild of America East members at Pineapple Street Studios, the podcast production company owned by Audacy:

The Pineapple Street Union is devastated by yesterday’s layoffs (February 1, 2014), which impacted 12 talented colleagues — 11 of them within our union. This comes just six months after the company laid off three other members of our unit.

First and foremost, we denounce layoffs in their entirety; we believe this form of “cost cutting’ is fundamentally avoidable, and we don’t think innocent, hardworking staff should ever lose their livelihoods over mismanagement at the highest levels of a company.

As previously reported, our parent company, Audacy, filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of this year after racking up $1.9 billion in debt. This same company also gave out at least $3.2 million in executive bonuses just months prior.

This week, Audacy and Pineapple management chose to lay off mostly junior-level staff, who make some of the lowest salaries at Pineapple. Some of the people management chose to lay off have worked at the company for years, since before it was acquired by Audacy.

Our company also publicly stated that laying off over 25% of the Pineapple staff is part of “continuing to optimize our structure.” This characterization is dehumanizing, cruel, and wrong: individual producers, engineers, and staff have always been what makes Pineapple, and the shows it creates, special.

Today, (February 1, 2024) our union began the bargaining process where we will be fighting for the severance that our colleagues deserve — compensation that honors the immense time, skill, and creativity that each of them dedicated the company over the years.

We are heartbroken for the incredible colleagues our workplace has lost, and for those of us who will continue to work in a gutted Pineapple. We take comfort in feeling solidarity from our fellow media workers, many of whom have experienced layoffs themselves, and in our own resolve to carry on the fight for a just workplace for all.

About the Writers Guild of America East

The Writers Guild of America East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, broadcast and streaming news, podcasts, and online media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit the website.

Seekr Introduces Align, A Brand Safety And Suitability Platform

Seekr, an artificial intelligence company specializing in transparent content evaluation and generation, announced the release of Seekr Align, an advanced brand safety and suitability tool that unlocks new audience reach by giving brands and ad agencies unprecedented visibility into hundreds of thousands of podcast episodes whose brand safety and suitability is largely unknown. Align, which is built on Seekr’s large language model, combines Seekr’s proprietary content evaluation and scoring capabilities with and industry-leading user-friendly interface.

“Seekr Align unlocks more brand-safe advertising opportunities in a podcast landscape that is notoriously complex and difficult to navigate,” said Rob Clark, President and Chief Technology Officer of Seekr. “In a short period, Align has already evaluated over 8 million minutes of podcasts and applied Seekr’s proprietary scoring, enabling the desired alignment between a brand and content. The volume of content scored by the platform will increase five-fold by the end of the year, far outpacing competitive offerings.”

During the product beta launch, Align generated pre-order commitments from top brands whose collective 2024 spends are expected to exceed $100 million. Leading brands that have signed on to use Align include Babbel, Bayer, Constant Contact, MasterClass, Quip, SimpliSafe, and Tommy John, among others.

“Brand safety and suitability should do more than blocking words or avoiding complex conversations. First-gen audio tools have been overcomplicated and unreliable: they are too prone to false negatives and false positives, routinely allowing key words to trigger risk content ratings. This has created confusion among marketers, while scaring them away from responsible podcasts and generally causing them to underutilize podcasts for advertising,” said Dan Granger, CEO of Oxford Road, the nation’s largest independent audio advertising agency, which helped in the development of the platform. “Align simplifies the process of finding safe and suitable podcast by marrying world-class engineering with innovative and transparent ratings, allowing brands to navigate with nuance so they can confidently grow their audio campaign with increased clarity and speed.”

Align is being introduced at the outset of what promises to be a highly polarized political season, and at a time when many brands say they’re facing growing repetitional risks as their ads inadvertently appear next to problematic content. At the same time, brands continue to face challenges in reaching larger, highly engaged audiences safely because they have little to no visibility into the brand suitability of the “long tail” of podcasts – thousands of shows that fall outside of the Top 100.

Seekr Align identifies never-before-measured, industry-specific signals that strike at the heart of safety and suitability by capturing the nuanced essence of a conversation, going above and beyond the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) brand safety and suitability floor, ultimately enabling brands to safely reach a much bigger audience.

The first of these signals, Seekr’s Civility Score, (patent and trademark pending), tracks personal attacks, including those that might not necessarily register as hate speech under GARM, but are still hostile in nature. The Align platform, which is built in Seekr’s large language model applied for the Civility Score, allows the end user to overlay desired risk filters, including GARM, giving brands more control and simplicity.

Because of the limitations of current technology, Seekr offers human-in-the-loop capabilities to ensure that brands can feel confident they’re aligning with programs that discuss a broad spectrum of diverse topics without promoting divisive and incendiary content.

Seekr Align is redefining how podcast content is evaluated to align with brand objectives because of its ability to truly understand the nuances of language in audio. Anticipated advances in brand safety and suitability are one of the main reasons why the interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) projects podcast advertising revenue will do more than double to $4 bullion in 2025.

“There is a different way that Oprah and Alex Jones might treat the same subject in a piece of content,” added Granger. “Align supplements GARM with more nuanced capabilities such as the Civility Sore, which puts the emphasis on the spirit of the conversation, instead of punishing creators who take a responsible approach to discussing important issues that are potentially controversial.”

Podimo And Troop Form Strategic Alliance To Support Podcasting In Latin America And Mexico

Podimo and Troop announce a strategic alliance that will allow them to offer new ways to create and listen to high quality content. Almost a year after its launch in Mexico, Podimo already has thousands of subscribers, while Troop has managed, in a very short time, to consolidate an audio division that is an essential reference in the region.

As of January of this year, Troop in Mexico will operate and invest in Podimo. While Podimo brings a cutting-edge technological platform, an attractive portfolio of shows, and a wealth of international experience to the table, Troop will provide local expertise and infrastructure to promote and produce content in-house with the help of an experienced production team, reinforcing its position as a first-class media hub. Podimo’s local team joins Troop under Joaquín Colino, CEO of Troop, who will now also serve are Podimo’s Regional General Manager in Latin America.

“In the dynamic audio universe, we are excited to announce the integration of Podimo to Troop, consolidating our presence in the Mexico, US Hispanics and Latin American markets. Podimo proves to be the ideal partner, with a spectacular platform designed to meet the needs of the most demanding and passionate audio enthusiasts, says Joaquín Colino, CEO of Troop and Regional General Manager of Podimo Latam. “With this alliance, Troop will continue to expand its audio division, generating content not only for Podimo but also for the rest of the audio platforms in the market, with clearly differentiated strategies that will generate an interesting and necessary synergy for the strengthening of the industry and the growth of audiences, who will benefit form the unique and exciting experiences that our content guarantees.”

“In the dynamic audio universe, we are excited to announce the integration of Podimo to Troop, consolidating our presence in the Mexico, US Hispanics and Latin American markets. Podimo proves to be the ideal partner, with a spectacular platform designed to meet the needs of the most demanding and passionate audio enthusiasts, says Joaquín Colino, CEO of Troop and Regional General Manager of Podimo Latam. “With this alliance, Troop will continue to expand its audio division, generating content not only for Podimo but also for the rest of the audio platforms in the market, with clearly differentiated strategies that will generate an interesting and necessary synergy for the strengthening of the industry and the growth of audiences, who will benefit form the unique and exciting experiences that our content guarantees.”

“Podimo’s local-first approach is further strengthened by Troop, who shares our mission, vision, and dedication to a subscription-based model,” says Morten Strange, CEO and Founder of Podimo. “Together, we will amplify our investment in local creators, cultivate new podcast audiences, and elevate our original content through a unique product experience. Our continued focus is on attracting top-tier talent and fostering a community in the Latin American spoken audio entertainment landscape.”

This strategic alliance between Podimo and Troop opens doors to a wider range of opportunities for local creators, listeners, and the industry at large, and will provide a significant boost in the market. Additionally, through the curation of a powerful pool of intellectual property, the collaboration sets the stage for diverse adaptations and formats, securing a path to becoming the most attractive player in spoken audio entertainment in the region.”

“We have seen the enormous potential that the subscription model has for the podcast format, it’s very exciting what has happened in such a short time,” says Wendolín Perla, Head of Content at Podimo Latam. “However, as we went along, it became clear how important it was to have a local partner that understood the opportunities and complexities of the Mexican market and that would provide us with the strength and infrastructure to become a great Content Hub: with Troop, we will guarantee our consolidation and expansion in the region.”

AI To Revolutionise Podcast Advertising

In an Australian first, Artificial Intelligence (Ai) will transform content from Australia’s leading news website, news.com.au, into content marketing placements for inclusion in Acast’s content catalogue.

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, hosts and distributes some of Australia’s popular podcasts across categories including Sport, Business, Lifestyle.

Listeners to the Acast network will receive real-time news headlines advertising news.com.au.

Aaron Matthews, Head of Creative at Creative Fix, said the technology will not only deliver new content to listeners in real time, but that news categories can be paired with relevant podcast.

“It also overcomes the traditional barriers faced by audio producers, with most audio ad production being time-consuming, making this ideal for productions with tight timelines.”

Gina McGrath, Head of Marketing for news.com.au., said the relationship allows readers to be on top of he latest news, wherever they are. “This activity embodies our brand promise to ‘be on it’, delivering the news that matters to our audience the way they want to consume it.”

The initiative is a collaboration between Acast, news.com.au., Creative Fix, and Audiostack, and will use Audiostack’s scalable AI audio production to convert news articles into audio while also augmenting the voiceover with music and sound design.

Dr. Timo P. Kunz, Co-founder and CEO of AudioStack.ai said: “We’re really excited about the massive innovation Creative Fix has brought to the audio advertising sector. Using news headlines is exactly the type of use case we built AudioStack for: creating audio fast and at scale.”

The news audio ads are delivered as 30-second news bulletins across Acast’s full network.

Visit Creative Fix for more.