Brands Are Safer Than They Think On Podcasts

A new study has revealed that consumers are highly accepting and open to podcast advertising despite persistent brand concerns about suitability and safety. 

The research, conducted by Alter Agents – an independent market research consultancy – in partnership with Audacy, found that podcasts provide a safe advertising environment for brands, with eight in 10 consumers finding branded podcast messages suitable as long as they are contextually relevant, even when it comes to controversial content. Podcasts garner an engaged listening environment that bolsters attention, with 80% of listeners claiming they listen to ads, most as they enjoy the whole podcast.

The study identified key themes regarding brand safety and suitability in podcast advertising for marketers and consumers. The B2B community listed controllability, genre-specific myths, trade-offs of produced vs host-read advertisements, and the complex categorizations of podcasts. Consumers indicated ads must be a good fit within the content, hosts must be authentic, and controversial topics in the content can be acceptable and even enjoyed as long it is not defamatory towards one group.

Engagement and ad fit are also fairly consistent across genres. Ad parings in potentially controversial genres like true crime and news genres perform similarly to less contentious genres like sports and health/fitness/lifestyle pairings.

Brand fit is not an issue for listeners. Few say they have heard ads unsuitable for the podcasts they listen to but are more likely to call out ads sounding too much like a sales pitch or not being more native to the podcast style as reasons for unsuitability or poor fit.

Foul language is not a top reason for not listening to a podcast, but where content or hosts cross the line is through racist statements. In fact, foul language is accepted in many genres, especially comedy, entertainment/pop culture, music, and true crime.

“This study illustrates that with the right mix of authenticity and awareness, brands have an incredible opportunity to foster trust and loyalty with listeners of all backgrounds in the ever-expanding space,” said Jenna Weiss-Berman, Executive Vice President, Podcast, Audacy. “Today’s podcast listener is open-minded and willing to engage with a wide range of brands on multiple levels as they consume content ranging from true crime to investigative documentaries to comedy, sports, entertainment and beyond.”

“Brand safety is critically important, and there’s a perception in the marketplace that certain genres of podcasts may not be as brand-safe, given the free-form host-driven nature of podcasts. In turn, podcast advertisers have hesitated to leverage the reach and scale of podcasts to remain brand-safe,” said Idil Cakim, Senior Vice President of Research and Insights, Audacy. 

“While brands are smart to assess the risks and rewards of advertising on podcasts, they may be missing out on reaching critical consumers. That’s because podcasts deliver highly engaged audiences, create prime listening environments, and host authenticity offers a strong personal connection to listeners.”

“Audacy’s study does a great job of highlighting that the material qualitative and technical advancements in brand safety and suitability within the podcast industry have mitigated a perceived risk for brands to advertise on podcasts,” said Kurt Kaufer, Co-Founder, Ad Results Media. “It also nicely contextualizes the positive listener perceptions of brands who make podcast ad investments a material part of their marketing mix.”


Audacy partnered with Alter Agents and leading media agencies for this 2023 study to assess brand safety perceptions among media industry executives and frequent podcast listeners. Audacy commissioned the 2023 Alter Agents study. Four audio and podcasting company executives were interviewed. 6,000 respondents were surveyed through a 20-minute online survey collected between July 28 and August 3, 2023. Participants were a nationally representative sample based on age, gender, and ethnicity.

Frequency Drives 3x Efficiency For Audacy With Podcast Vetting Automation

Frequency, the next generation of ad management for the audio industry, and Audacy Inc., a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company, reveal how technology is fueling Audacy’s dramatic increase in podcast sales productivity. Since using Frequency’s automated workflows, Audacy’s podcast vetting process is now 3x more efficient.

Audacy is driving sales speed and scalability with automation. Having used Frequency’s platform to vet 10K+ requests across ~200 podcasts, the results are in:

  • Hundreds of hours saved for the ad ops team
  • 300% faster responses from shows
  • Happier team members
  • More revenue supported and captured

Frequency’s unique ad management platform for audio is the necessary infrastructure Audacy needs to conduct individual vetting requests for thousands of advertisers. Audacy can turn around RFP’s quickly, include more pre-vetted shows, and win larger budgets.

“A 3x more efficient vetting process is a huge advantage. We’re responding faster and minimizing human error. Our ad ops team, talent, and agency partners are happier and less frustrated too,” said Danny Kutrick, Senior Director, Podcast Operations & Traffic, Audacy. “Without the typical ad ops pain points, we’re scaling with ease. There’s no doubt that Frequency is an essential platform for audio publishers to improve workflow, save time, and make money.”

“For too long, Podcasting has been held back by the process to get an ad placed, approved, produced, and delivered,” said Pete Jimison, CEO of Frequency. “Audacy has been an amazing partner leading the charge with us to automate all of the manual work, saving their team time to focus on stronger partnerships with talent and sponsors, and opening up new revenue opportunities.”

Audacy and Frequency have been working together since 2019 when Audacy first signed on to use Frequency’s platform. Audacy saw immediate advantages with Frequency’s copy rotation and contextual ad serving tools.

The two companies are excited to unveil additional podcast sales optimization features and integrations later this year.

Companies that want to become more efficient should look to tech to make it happen. Frequency offers audio publishers essential infrastructure to move quickly and accelerate podcast, radio, and streaming sales growth. 

Serving 4B+ ad impressions a month, 1K users tap into Frequency to automate workflow, centralize campaigns, and maximize revenue. Frequency simplifies the ad ops process and speeds up vetting by 3x+.

Audacy and CBS Sports Digital Announce Content Distribution

Audacy and CBS Sports Digital have announced a partnership where Audacy will be the exclusive, multi-year ad sales and distribution partner for CBS Sports’ leading network of award-winning sports podcasts.

“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with CBS Sports in the podcasting space – properties I know well from my time spent there,” said Ken Langara, Executive Vice President of Digital Sales, Audacy, “Adding this family of content to our roster provides Audacy with a number of the leading sports, fantasy sports and betting podcasts, areas we have enjoyed significant success to date and are important to our clients. This partnership could not come at a better time with football season fast approaching.”

“We are continuing to heavily invest in our podcast network and the creation of award-winning audio content at a time our network is experiencing sustained periods of audience growth and engagement,” said Jeffrey Gerttula, Executive Vice President, Digital, CBS Sports and CBS News and Stations. “We’re exited to partner with Audacy, an industry leader in ad sales and delivering premium opportunities for advertisers, to bring impactful interactions and campaigns to the podcast market.”

CBS Sports Digital has grown to reach more than 90 million monthly active users, making it the second-largest sports group in the U.S., and with more than 65 shows and nearly 100 million downloads in 2021, CBS Sports also has one of the largest multi-platform sports podcasts networks. Its shows include Pick Six, The Early Edge, Fantasy Football Today, the Cover 3 College Football Podcast and Attacking Third as well as the network of 247Sports podcasts.

Audacy’s podcast network reaches nearly one-third of all monthly U.S. podcast listeners, and over 40 million monthly listeners globally, in addition to over 30 million monthly sports fans across Audacy’s broadcast and digital assets. Audacy is the nation’s leading collection of radio play-by-play coverage with over 90 professional and Division 1 collegiate teams.

Audacy Launches Audacy Digital Audience Network

Audacy announced the launch of the Audacy Digital Audience Network (ADAN), an addressable aggregate of over 60 million listeners that other platforms and streaming platforms do not reach. Each month, Audacy connects with 200 million fans across its broadcast and digital assets. Over 60 million of these listeners can be found on ADAN across its streaming content, on the Audacy app and on its podcasts.

Through this high-performing audience solution, ADAN can target precise audiences at scale and deliver high-performing digital audio media strategies for Audacy’s advertising partners. Fully integrated into its tech stack, ADAN plans are optimized in real time, yielding actionable brand insights and detailed campaign reporting.

Through ADAN Audacy can reach the highest quality addressable audience in audio. Audacy continues to provide exclusive content across news, sports, talk, music and podcasts that its listeners seek and trust as a daily habit. ADAN audiences skew more affluent, are more likely to be college educated and are more diverse – collectively bringing the highest value consumers to advertisers. ADAN provides an unduplicated reach to listeners that other audio platforms do not deliver.

“The creation of ADAN is exciting as we continue to build our Audacy streaming audio and podcast assets,” said Brian Benedik, Chief Revenue Officer, Audacy. “The marketplace has moved to audience-based investment and our new ADAN offering is highly scaled with unduplicated digital listeners. We can target these audiences with precision and optimize campaign performance for better marketer outcomes. Our Audacy local and national sales teams are looking forward to working with our agency and brand partners in this capacity.”

Components of the Audience Network include over 230 of Audacy’s broadcast brands and thousands of critically acclaimed podcasts from Audacy’s Cadence13, Pineapple Street Studios, American Public Media and more, including We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle, 9/12 and Welcome To Your Fantasy. Exclusive stations, curated music stations from Audacy brands, talent and influencers and digital streams of MLB play-by-play broadcasts via flagship partnerships are also included in ADAN.

Audacy Announces Two Additions to Performance Sales Function

Audacy welcomes Shirin Peykar as Senior Vice President of Performance Sales, effective January 19. In this role, Peykar will lead Audacy’s performance sales team and sell across its portfolio of products, leaning heavily into the company’s robust podcast library. Peykar will also strategize to drive the business forward and expand Audacy’s relationships with performance-driven marketers. She will report to Ken Lagana, Executive Vice President of Digital Sales.

Audacy also welcomes Dan Wolman as Vice President of Performance Sales, reporting to Peykar. Also beginning January 19, Wolman will work with performance clients and agencies to sell across Audacy’s portfolio of digital audio brands, with a focus on its podcasting business.

“Shirin’s rich experience leading multi-faceted ad sales operations for premier media and entertainment companies makes her a valuable addition to our performance sales business,” said Lagana. “We’re equally as excited about the addition of Dan to the team, which will collectively strive to drive revenue, market share and profit performance for our portfolio of assets.”

“I’ve been watching Audacy’s progression in the podcast space over the past couple of years and their commitment to building a world class podcast portfolio has really impressed me,” said Peykar. “When you couple that dedication to the podcast space and audio in general, I couldn’t be more excited about bringing this portfolio to our performance clients and agencies!”

Peykar is a seasoned advertising sales executive with nearly 20 years of experience at 33 major television networks. She joins Auduacy after spending the last two years as Senior Vice President of Direct Response Ad Sales for Stitcher. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Direct Response for Midroll Media, a Stitcher company. Additional roles include Vice President of Ad Sales for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Vice President of Direct Response Ad Sales fro Univision Communications, Director of Direct Response Ad Sales for Nickelodeon, Account Executive – Director of Direct Response Ad Sales – Music Cluster, and Account Executive – Direct Response for Viacom. She launched her career as a sales coordinator for USA Networks in 2000.

“Audacy is the industry leader in audio while remaining innovative, representing chart-topping content, generating loyal listeners, and serving as home to influential talent,” said Wolman. “This is a performance sellers dream! I am excited to leverage my linear, OTT and audio experience with this role and celebrate many wins with Audacy and our client partners.”

Wolman also joins Audacy from Stitcher, where he spent the last two years as Vice President of Performance Sales for the company and SXM Media. Prior to that role, he served in various sales executive roles for Hulu, Univision Communications and Turner Broadcasting, helping to build and grow their performance sales teams.

Audacy Welcomes Brian Benedik as Company’s Chief Revenue Officer

Audacy welcomes Brian Benedikas as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, effective December 1. As a key member of the executive team, Benedik will lead all aspects of revenue generation across corporate, national, regional, and local levels and develop fully integrated, multiplatform, sales solutions and breakthrough strategies to attract new revenue streams. He will report to Chief Operating Officer Susan Larkin.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Brian to Audacy and our executive leadership team,” said Larkin. “His resume speaks for itself, with key roles at audio publishers like Spotify, iHeart Radio, Audible and Katz Media, where his strategic vision enabled the former to quickly elevate from a newcomer in our industry to a multi-billion dollar leader in the audio streaming space. Brian’s considerable expertise and experience will amplify our revenue generation efforts as Audacy continues its upward trajectory.”

“The audio industry is booming with innovation and consumers are enjoying wonderful content experiences across a number of platforms. The Audacy re-imagination efforts are beyond impressive and the portfolio of assets across radio, streaming, podcast, live events, sports play-by-play and sports betting are best in class. I’m looking forward to working with David Field, Susan Larkin and the Audacy executive team to drive value to marketers and our loyal users.”

Brian Benedik joins Audacy from Niantic, an AR developer platform and real world gaming publisher, where he served as VP/Global Head of Revenue. Prior to Niantic, Benedik spent over 25 years in the over-the-air and digital audio space across a number of global and U.S.-centric organizations. For seven formative years at Spotify, Benedik was a key member of the senior leadership team as SVP/Global Head of Sales and Operations leading a team of over 550 people in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. As the leader of the Spotify Global Advertising Business, Benedik oversaw the direct, programmatic, podcast, re-seller and self-serve platform teams as well as ad and sales operations, trading, global agency and accounts and training groups.

Other previous roles include Founder and President of Katz Digital, President of Christal Radio within the Katz Media Group; and General Sales Manager for WHTZ-FM New York at iHeartMedia. Benedik has held strategic advisory roles for Audible, an Amazon company, and Targetspot, a division of Audio Valley. He is currently a board member at Podcast Tech platform,, The Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University, The American Advertising Federation and PTTOW. Benedik holds degrees from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and Columbia School of Business’ Continuing Executive Education program.

Audacy Welcomes Palak Forbes as Senior Vice President, Digital Business Operations

Audacy announced the appointment of Palak Forbes as Senior Vice President, Digital Business Operations. Reporting to Audacy’s Chief Digital Officer, J.D. Crowley, and partnering with the leaders of Audacy’s award-winning podcast business, while working across Audacy’s entire digital portfolio and key strategic partners to enable continued strong growth in Audacy’s digital and podcast business.

“As we make consistent strides to evolve and enhance our digital and podcast businesses, Palak is a perfect choice to lead our day-to-day efforts to provide a world-class experience for our customers, creators, and consumers,” said J.D. Crowley, Chief Digital Officer, Audacy.”Her deep experience launching and scaling innovative new businesses, and expertise managing strategic relationships with companies across the media and technology sectors enable us to continue delivering robust growth.”

“Digital audio is in a really exciting phase where we have evolving audio formats and listening experiences as well as new ways of life emerging from the pandemic,” said Forbes. “Audacy has brought together a portfolio of innovative brands to meet the needs of the modern listener, content creators, and advertisers alike. I’m so excited to operationalize our strategy across the digital portfolio. It’s an honor to join the leading creator of original and premium audio during this time of growth and transformation.”

Palak Forbes brings extensive experience driving digital innovation for global media brands to Audacy. She was most recently Head of Business Development & Operations at The New York Times, where she oversaw the development the company’s audio business and spearheaded their foray into virtual reality with the NYT VR app which won the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions. Forbes also led strategic and commercial partnership teams to broaden and deepen reader experiences from Apple News to the digitization of millions of historic photos with Google Cloud. With her leadership, the sales team drove multi-million dollar deals and beat goals. Previously, Forbes was The New York Times’ VP Corporate Strategy & Development leading new ventures, off-platform relationships, and M&A; and programming the Board of Directors’ special committee on Technology & Innovation. Prior to that, Forbes was Vice President of Strategy at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational media company, where she advanced the company’s EdTech initiatives and led international expansion in India. She has also held digital advertising strategy and subscriber marketing roles at Viacom and HBO, respectively.

Forbes earned her MBA in Marketing from Columbia Business School and her Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Information Systems from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Audacy Promotes Tim Clarke to Senior VP, Audio Content

Audacy has elevated Tim Clarke to Senior Vice President, Digital Audio Content on the company’s central digital team, effective immediately.

In this role, Clarke will be responsible for audio content across the Audacy digital platform, which includes the Audacy app,, and Audacy’s station websites. Clarke will drive strategy and execution for new exclusive and original content for the platform and will have oversight of Audacy’s new exclusive digital music stations. He will also be responsible for the digital audio experiences of Audacy’s portfolio of broadcast stations, local and national station affiliates, and podcast partners. Clarke will work alongside Pam Russo, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Audacy digital platform; and John Pacino, Executive Vice President of Product. He will also work closely with Executive Vice President and Head of Programming Jeff Sottolano and Audacy’s programming and content teams across the company to develop new and innovative listener experiences by combining the technology of the platform with Audacy’s best-in-class audio content and talent, while collaborating with podcast studio leadership and local teams and talent to further enhance and grow Audacy’s local podcast content and audience.

“Tim is a rising star in our industry and we’re excited to add his talents and capabilities to our digital business,” said J.D. Crowley, Chief Digital Officer, Audacy. “He brings rich experience leading content and consumer strategies that we trust will enable him to help us further elevate our mission of delivering dynamic digital audio content through a listener-friendly platform every day.”

“I am truly honored to join our industry-leading digital and content teams as we build the future of audio with Audacy,” said Clarke. “A sincere thanks to the team at Audacy, including Mark Hannon and my colleagues in Boston. I have loved working with the incredible people and brands in this market and look forward to seeing their continued success under Mike Thomas’ leadership.”

Clarke joined Audacy in March 2021. He previously served as Vice President of Content and Audience for Cox Media Group (CMG). In this role, he oversaw all content, programming, marketing and digital audience strategies for the company’s radio properties. Prior to that, Clarke was Senior Director of Digital Audience, where he was responsible for digital content, audience and product strategy for CMG’s radio stations. Other positions with Cox Media Group include Director of Branding and Programming for CMG Tampa’s “Hot 101.5” WPOI-FM, Director of Social Media for all six of CMG’s Tampa properties, Program Director at CMG Jacksonville’s WAPE-FM and Music Director for CMG Long Island’s WBLI-FM. In 2011, Clarke was honored by Edison Research as one of their “Top 30 Under 30” in media.

Audacy subsequently welcomes Mike Thomas to succeed Clarke as Senior Vice President and Market Manager of its Boston market. In this role, Thomas will oversee the market’s six stations including Big 103 (WBGB-FM), Magic 106.7 (WMJX-FM), Mix 104.1 (WWBX-FM) WEEI (WEEI-FM), WEEI (WEEI-AM) and WVEI (WVEI-AM), effective November 1.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mike back to Boston to lead Audacy’s leading brands here,” said Mark Hannon, Regional President, Audacy. “Mike’s a proven winner and his leadership will be critical in moving the business forward. I also want to thank Tim Clarke for the exceptional job he has done this past year and wish him continued success as he moves to our central digital team.”

“Boston evokes memories of great times and celebrations,” said Thomas.” “When Mark Hannon reached out about coming back and leading such a diverse group of stations, it was exhilarating! I can’t wait to reconnect with a lot of talented people, some which I spent over a dozen years working side-by-side with, and celebrating many more victories.”

Thomas joins Audacy from Good Karma Brands, where he served as Market Manager of ESPN Chicago 1000 AM since December 2019. Prior to that role, Thomas was the Brand Manager for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston from 2017 to 2019. During his tenure, the station was awarded three Marconi Awards for Sports Station of the Year. Thomas spent nine years with CBS Radio, holding multiple roles including Vice President of Sports Programming in which he worked with the program directors of the company’s 18 owned and operated local sports stations across the country, as well as Vice President of Programming for CBS Radio Boston and Program Director, including for Marconi Award-winning WZLX for 11 years. Thomas launched his career at Clear Channe/iHeart, serving as Program Director and on-air personality for KGB-FM in San Diego and WFBQ-FM in Indianapolis, as well as Rock Brand Manager in 2001 for the company’s eight Classic Rock stations in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.

Audacy Welcomes Lena Moss Glaser as VP and Executive Producer of 2400Sports

Audacy welcomes Lena Moss Glaser as Vice President and Executive Producer of 2400Sports, the newest podcast studio in Audacy’s award-winning digital audio portfolio. In this role, Glaser will oversee all production and content operations for all 2400Sports podcasts, partnering with producers and talent internally and externally to develop slates of new podcasts, reporting to J.D. Crowley, Chief Digital Officer, Audacy.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Lena to Audacy and our podcast team as we continue to scale our newest studio 2400Sports,” said Crowley. “Her deep experience in sports media, from digital and social-first content to international productions at the biggest sporting events in the world, and her ability to find unique stories that engage a diverse range of audiences, combined with her reputation as an incredible leader, makes her a perfect fit to lead 2400Sports, and we’re looking forward to Lena lending her voice, skills and talent to our team.”

“I’m excited to be joining Audacy and to have the opportunity to lead 2400Sports at a time when the way we consume sports and connect with athletes is constantly evolving,” said Glaser. “We will work to deliver fans the content they crave, to tell stories that take them somewhere new, and to champion emerging voices. As a fan of the shows created by Audacy’s other podcast studios, I am so excited to be working alongside them as we build this brand, and to get to work making 2400Sports a home for every kind of sports fan.”

A veteran sports studio producer and five-time Sports Emmy Award winner, Glaser began her career with NBC, where she produced network studio shows for four Olympic Games and served as Coordinating Producer of NBC’s Paralympics coverage in Sochi, Rio, and Pyeongchang. She produced the National Dog Show and in 2021 launched the network’s first ever live Olympic studio show on Twitter. Glaser received a 2015 Sports Emmy nomination for feature producing.

Her additional remote, studio, and feature credits include work on the US Open, Wimbledon, and Roland Garros; three Super Bowls, and “Football Night in America.” After NBC, Glaser worked for Katie Couric Media running branded content initiatives. In 2019 she partnered with TFA Group to develop the documentary “Watershed,” which tells the story of Paralympic swimmer and gold medalist Mallory Weggemann, working alongside Weggemann as Executive Producer. Glaser re-joined NBC in 2021 as Coordinating Producer of “On Her Turf,” the first ever Olympic broadcast and podcast dedicated exclusively to women’s sports. She remains dedicated to growing both the women’s sports and Paralympic and adaptive sports media spaces.