Tag Archives: iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia Welcomes Sarah Von Mosel



iHeartMedia, Inc., the leading audio company in America, announced that it has named Sarah van Mosel as Executive Vice President of the iHeart Audience Network (iAN).

The iHeart Audience Network – the next evolution of audience-based buying – is a new service from iHeart that simplifies audio advertising. With inventory sourced from the expansive iHeartRadio database and other premium publishers across streaming and podcasting, the iHeart Audience Network is the leading service brands can rely on to reach addressable audiences in premium audio inventory at scale.

Each network campaign will allow brands to unlock access to multiple services, including advanced targeting that looks across channels, devices and behaviors to pinpoint the right audience; and an upcoming one-of-a-kind brand safety tech tool, developed by iHeartMedia in partnership with Sounder, called Audio Intelligence, using AI and machine learning to check content against the IAB’s standards for brand safety. The iHeart Audience Network spans streaming and podcasting – with the added reach of broadcast radio too.

As Executive Vice President for the iHeart Audience Network, van Mosel will additionally assist with iAN sales operations, publisher development and podcast slate partnerships for iHeartPodcasts, the No. 1 podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac. With her experience as a force in the podcasting business, van Mosel will work closely with Carter Brokaw, President of Digital Revenue Strategy to bolster iHeart’s continued growth in the space. She will report to Conal Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group.

“The iHeart Audience Network is the first and only audio marketplace that seamlessly unifies all forms of audio with one common set of audiences, and we’re thrilled Sarah is bringing her expertise, vision and talent to take these unique capabilities to their full potential for advertisers and publishers,” said Byrne. “She’s been at the forefront of innovation in podcasting from the very beginning and her unique perspective on the rapidly growing medium will ensure this venture becomes the premier service for all brands. The team is looking forward to seeing where she takes iAN next.”

A long-time champion of the industry and creator community, van Mosel most recently served as the Chief Revenue Officer at Stitcher, where she led podcast revenue strategy across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher. Van Mosel was part of the leadership team that oversaw Stitcher’s acquisition by SiriusXM in October 2020. Following the acquisition, she was responsible for integrating Stitcher’s sales organization, setting direction for revenue growth, and scaling opportunities for podcast monetization.

Van Mosel has also held multiple executive roles within the podcast space. As Chief Podcast Sales and Strategy Office at Market Engenuity, van Mosel built the monetization engine for podcasts from PDX, Radiotopia, The Moth, and TED Talks Daily. In addition to overseeing revenue generation, van Mosel drove content acquisition and business development across 13 public media stations in the top 10 U.S. markets. Prior to Market Enginunity, van Mosel has also held senior positions at Acast and WNYC. Additionally, she’s a founding member of the IAB Podcast Working Group.

“My path to iHeart has been a long one, but each step of the way, has equipped me with the exact set of skills I need to lock arms with this outstanding team,” says van Mosel. “Anyone who knows me knows I love to build. I love to push the industry forward. The team at iHeart is poised to completely transform the audio industry and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”


Podcasters at iHeartMedia have a Union



As you may recall, the podcast producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts of iHeartMedia announced (in December of 2021) that they were unionizing with the Writer’s Guild of America, East. It is a labor union of over 6,000 creative professionals in broadcast news, scripted television and motion pictures, and digital media.

They were asking iHeartMedia for the following:

  • Appropriate compensation and benefits
  • Accountability mechanisms regarding diversity and inclusion efforts
  • Manageable workloads and appropriate staffing for shows
  • Clear plans for advancement and standardized job descriptions
  • Job security

On February 24, 2022, iHeart Podcast Union announced the they won union recognition. They posted information about it on their @iheartpodunion Twitter account. Here is part of their thread of tweets:

“[megaphone emoji] BREAKING NEWS [megaphone emoji] After weeks of negotiations, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve won union recognition! We’re excited to start bargaining for better wages & healthcare, accountability, and other long-standing issues for our colleagues and ourselves. [fist emoji] [heart emoji]”

“Thanks to all our allies & supporters throughout this process. We owe our success to colleagues at other workplaces who are leading ongoing efforts like @GimletUnion, @RingerUnion, and @ParcastUnion, and to the tireless folks at @WGAEast who’ve connected & guided us.”

“We’re proud to be behind the incredible growth story of the podcast industry that Wall Street heard about yesterday, and we look forward to long overdue negotiations to share in & shape that growth.”

“We’re glad to acknowledge that the company has engaged fairly and in good faith so far in the process. [heart emoji]. It’s a relief that it went this way, but we know this is incredibly rare, and not representative of what most workers face when forming a union.”

On February 23, 2022, InsiderRadio posted an article titled: “iHeart’s Podcast Ad Revenue Grew 130% In Q4, And Topped A Quarter Billion Dollars In 2021.” From the article:

…During the fourth quarter, iHeart’s podcast revenue jumped 130% to $96.6 million. And for all of last year, the company says podcast revenue totaled $252.6 million. That was a 148% increase over the $101 million podcast revenue it booked in 2022.

At year-end, iHeart says nine percent of its fourth quarter total revenue was tied to its podcast business. That compares a one percent contribution at the start of 2019….

It seems to me that iHeart has plenty of money that it should spend on all of the things that the iHeart Podcast Union is asking for. Seems only fair, considering that they are the ones who did the work that brought in so much money for iHeartMedia.


iHeartMedia to Utilize Veritone’s Synthetic Voice Technology



Veritone, Inc., creator of aiWARE, a hyper-expansive enterprise AI platform, and iHeartMedia, the number one podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, announced iHeartMedia’s planned use of Veritone’s synthetic voice solution that allows celebrities, athletes, influencers, broadcasters, podcasters and other talent across numerous industries to securely create and monetize verified synthetic voices that can be transformed into different languages, dialects, accents and more.

iHeartMedia will leverage Veritone’s AI platform to make more shows across the iHeartPodcast Network available in multiple languages, helping to make more shows across the iHeartPodcast Network available in multiple languages, helping to expand their podcast market. The first use case is to translate iHeart’s marquee podcasts for Spanish-speaking audiences.

“We have worked with the iHeartMedia team for more than four years in various aspects of their business, and we are very excited to collaborate on expanding their podcast audience and unlocking new revenue streams for the broadcast industry leader,” said Ryan Steelberg, president of Veritone. “iHeartMedia has always been a pioneer of innovation, and now with the power of Veritone’s synthetic voice solution, iHeartMedia will not only be able to scale to new markets with localized language transactions but retain the brand value of their top talent’s voice – which is fundamental in podcasting. We are also partnering to develop synthetic voices for advertising and engaging content while reducing time-to-market and production costs for radio, podcasting and the metaverse.”

In addition to a self-serve application for voice projects leveraging stock voices, Veritone’s synthetic voice solution offers custom synthetic voice cloning that takes a professional approach and works with clients to the approvals necessary to create the cloned voice as well as approvals required to use the voice appropriately. Additionally, this new technology will offer increased revenue streams for the branded synthetic voice.

“With the hyper-growth of our podcast network over the past decade, we are always looking for what is new and next in the medium, too – and Veritone’s synthetic voice solution is a great example of that,” said Conal Byrne, chief executive officer at iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. “Being able to easily offer our podcasts in other languages, in the talent’s unique style, will be an awesome and innovative way to grow market share in the global marketplace.”

Veritone’s synthetic voice solution allows iHeartMedia the opportunity to reach new audiences at scale with the current top podcast talent. With no additional studio time, voice talent can authorize Veritone’s synthetic voice solution to automatically produce more podcasts, advertisements, and additional audio in multiple languages with the same energy, cadence and uniqueness of top talent.


iHeartMedia Partners with Sounder to Launch Best-In-Class Brand Safety Tools



iHeartMedia, the largest audio media company in the U.S. and the top podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, announced a partnership with Sounder, an audio intelligent platform that builds foundational podcasting technology to drive monetization, brand safety and discoverability for audio content.

iHeartMedia will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud to provide both established and emerging podcast creators the best AI and Machine Learning (ML) tools to help them gain critical, real-time insights to accelerate growth and improve monetization. With more than 750 iHeartRadio Original podcasts — including some of the biggest podcasts and creators in the world – now using this technology, these new capabilities will rapidly become the industry standard.

iHeartMedia will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud’s automated best-in-class AI and ML brand safety solution to ensure advertisers can confidently invest in the iHeartPodcast Network’s expansive and rapidly growing line-up of diverse content with more than 392 million downloads and streams a month (more downloads than the next three podcast publishers combined).

The brand safety solution enables iHeartMedia’s marketing partners to buy across a wide array of creators with the assurance that the content adheres to industry safety standards. The technology will quickly expand to also allow advertisers to customize their brand safety guidelines, unlocking new and more diverse publishers to provide even more effective ad placements.

Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud enables large publishers the ability to perform brand suitability analysis, topic analysis, content summarization, and dynamic segmentation. These solutions help accelerate the size and engagement of the iHeartPodcast Network’s large and growing audience from the biggest and most diverse shows in the network, to the rapidly growing number of up-and-coming creators. Audio Data Cloud leverages Sounder’s proprietary automated speech recognition technology and powerful AI/ML models. In doing so, it unlocks uncultured value for all enterprise audio content.

In addition to this commercial partnership, iHeartMedia has also announced a strategic investment in Sounder, as lead investor in the company’s Series A round.


Luminary and Roxane Gay Announce The Roxane Gay Agenda



Luminary, the subscription podcast network, and writer Dr. Roxane Gay announced the launch of The Roxane Gay Agenda. Premiering on Luminary on January 25 in partnership with iHeartMedia, The Roxane Gay Agenda is the bad feminist podcast of your dreams – compelling conversations curated in the way only Roxane Gay can. Gay offers uncommonly incisive reads of the politics that shape the world we live in and the popular culture we consume.

Two episodes of The Roxane Gay Agenda will debut on Tuesday, January 25 – the first episode will be available widely on Luminary, iHeartRadio, and everywhere podcasts are heard, and the second episode will be exclusive and ad-free for one week on Luminary before releasing widely on February 1. Going forward, episodes of The Roxane Gay Agenda will be released on Tuesdays exclusive and ad-free to subscribers on the Luminary app or the Luminary channel on Apple Podcasts for one week, after which they will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network and will be available on iHeartRadio and all major podcast platforms.

The Roxane Gay Agenda, produced by Gay along with Curtis Fox, continues Gay’s collaboration with Luminary, where she previously hosted the award-winning and beloved Hear to Slay with Tressie McMilan Cottom, for which the duo was named Adweek’s Host of the Year.

Dr. Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally best selling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.

Curtis Fox is a veteran podcast producer with deep roots in public radio. The current story editor for Radiotopia’s Ear Hustle, Curtis has produced everything from radio drama and comedy to personal essays and documentaries. His radio pieces have aired on WNYC, NPR, Studio 360 and other outlets. He originated four podcasts for The New Yorker, including The New Yorker Fiction Podcasts, and produced podcasts for Esquire Magazine, Parents Magazine, the ACLU, WNYC and others. For The Poetry Foundation he produces The Poetry Magazine Podcast and Poetry Off the Shelf, which he hosts. Curtis loves helping to shape new shows.


Podcasters at iHeartMedia are Unionizing



The podcast producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts of iHeartMedia announced that they are unionizing with the Writer’s Guild of America, East. It is a labor union of over 6,000 creative professionals in broadcast news, scripted television and motion pictures, and digital media.

The iHeart Podcast Union provided information about why they want to form a union.

“…However, during difficult times, we are reminded that while the iHeart Digital Audio Group prides itself on its relative autonomy and ability to adapt to the shifting needs of the marketplace – much like a start-up – we work under the capacity constraints of a legacy broadcast conglomerate. Essentially, we have been encouraged to embrace the dynamism of start-up culture without any of the associated benefits.

Throughout the unprecedented challenges of the last two years, we managed to seamlessly transition to remote work; our adaptability helped the company not just sustain, but thrive during a period of economic uncertainty and social unrest. During team calls, town halls, and official email communications from leadership, we are frequently reminded of the financial gains that we helped make possible. Bob Pittman, CEO and Chairman of iHeartMedia, reported during last month’s quarterly earnings call that Digital Audio revenue increased by 77 percent compared to 2020. Our division’s significant growth was “driven primarily by continuing increases in demand for digital advertising and the continued growth of podcasting,” where revenue is up 184 percent compared to 2020.

Unfortunately, those gains have not reached the creators working round-the-clock to keep our audience of more than 30 million monthly listeners actively engaged. With hundreds of shows across all categories and genres, many of us are doing the work of multiple employees, and the huge volume of content we are responsible for is not met with equitable compensation. Furthermore, we lack transparency in workplace decision making, meaningful initiatives toward diversity and inclusion, fairness in managerial relationships, and clarity in divisions of labor. While we are proud to be an essential part of iHeartMedia’s success over the past few years, we are keenly aware of significant internal pay disparities between similarly positioned individuals within the company. And across the board, iHeartMedia’s overall compensation and benefits standards are wholly insufficient when compared to the greater podcast and scripted audio market…”

They are asking for the following:

  • Appropriate compensation and benefits
  • Accountability mechanisms regarding diversity and inclusion efforts
  • Manageable workloads and appropriate staffing for shows
  • Clear plans for advancement and standardized job descriptions
  • Job security

WARC and iHeartMedia Study Reveals Audio Investment Gap for Marketers



WARC, the global authority on marketing intelligence, unveiled the results of a study conducted in collaboration with iHeartMedia, the number one audio company in the US, on media consumption and audio investment in the US.

The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio” highlights a divergence between consumption and investment. While 31% of the average consumer’s media consumption is now audio, only 8.8% of the average media budget is allocated to audio, and 25% of advertisers do not invest in audio at all.

According to the study, consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcast, driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home, and work listening.

Whilst WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9bn this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market.

The study also identified four key types of advertiser attitudes toward audio:

Audio Avoiders, the 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all

Broadcast Believers, who have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio

Digital Only, those who have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio

Cross-Platform Champions, who explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms

Furthermore, the study shows that audio is not a monolith. There are different and critical channels within the audio segment, and they play different roles in the minds of consumers that advertisers should take advantage of.

Broadcast radio reaches 9 out of 10 Americans every month, and is also the number one mass reach media among people ages 18 and over. Podcasts are the fastest growing new audio platform and consistently deliver higher advertising conversion rates than all other digital channels, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and even Google. Forecasts from IAB/PwC show podcast ad spend is expected to grow rapidly in the US this year, up to 60% to top $bn for the first time.

The study also highlights the effectiveness of audio advertising at al local, regional and national level and across every stage of the funnel.

Increases brand awareness: Audio delivers wide reach and high frequency. Nielsen Share Shift data shows that adding audio to a TV campaign improves performance by 20% whilst reducing costs.

Creates favorability: Audience members have close relationships with their preferred stations and platforms, audio boosts brand familiarity and consideration.

Sparks conversion: By delivering urgent calls-to-action at the most relevant times and places, audio motivates the actions and interaction brands require.

Whether brands tap into broadcast radio for its mass reach or its effectiveness or dive deeper into podcasting for its highest conversion rates, the study points out how right sizing the audio investment will drive real impact and growth for brands.


NFL and iHeartMedia Announce NFL’s Podcast Network Lineup



Earlier this year, the NFL and iHeartMedia announced an exclusive partnership to launch the NFL’s Podcast Network which includes the distribution of NFL Media’s existing podcasts, certain Member Club podcasts, and co-production and distribution of two dozen new original shows with the iHeartPodcast Network. All podcasts will be available wherever podcasts are heard.

“We are excited to bring this new slate of podcasts to NFL fans everywhere, representing the best storytelling, access and talent from NFL Media and NFL Films,” said Meredith Battin, NFL, Vice President, Head of Business Operations & Club Media. “Through the NFL’s partnership with iHeartMedia and the launch of the NFL’s Podcast Network, it will be even easier for fans to discover great new podcasts from the NFL and participating Clubs.”

“We are proud to team up with the NFL to roll out an incredible lineup of podcasts,” said Will Pearson, Chief Operating Officer, iHeartPodcast Network. “Just as this football season kicks off, we’re thrilled to introduce such an expansive slate of shows featuring amazing talent across the NFL that will appeal to both casual and diehard fans around the globe.”

New podcasts coming to the NFL’s Podcast Network include:

NFL explained: NFL explained, hosted by Aditi Kinkhabwala and Mike Yam, is a new original podcast series that takes fans behind-the-scenes of the inner workings of the NFL. From how the regular season schedule is made, to the evolution of the Super Bowl, NFL explained looks to answer the NFL’s biggest questions. NFL explained debuted on August 25 and new episodes are available each week on Thursday.

NFL Inside Report: Don’t miss out on the top NFL stories provided by NFL Media’s wide array of talent. Hosted by Rhett Lewis, NFL Inside Report takes you beyond the headlines with NFL Media’s reporters and experts providing game recaps, the biggest news and in-depth storytelling. NFL Inside Report launched on Wednesday, September 8 with new episodes available each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Tape Heads: Hosted by Dan Orlovsky, Bob Wischusen and Scott Pioli, Tape Heads is a twice-weekly, in-season X-and-O’s podcast giving the fans the “whys and the hows” of each week’s NFL action. In each episode, Dan, Bob, and Scott detail the biggest moments of the NFL weekend based on their tape study of the All-22 coaching film. Conversations fueled by observation and analysis give fans the insight and information they crave. Tape Heads launched on September 14, and new episodes will be available each week on Tuesday and Thursday.


iHeartMedia Partners with NRJ Group



iHeartMedia and the French multimedia group NRJ announced a strategic partnership to develop, translate, distribute, and monetize a specially curated slate of iHeartRadio Original podcasts for French listeners. The first translated podcasts will be available on the iHeartRadio app, in France on NRJ Group’s platforms and everywhere podcasts are heard from the last quarter of 2021, with regular new additions thereafter.

Podcasts to be translated include the iconic Stuff You Should Know, the first-ever podcast to surpass one billion downloads. Launched in April 2008, the podcast has continuously educated listeners on a variety of topics in science, history, pop culture, urban legends, conspiracy theories and more. With thousands of episodes, a number of sold-out live events, a television season and a book deal, the show and its riveting hosts have garnered a loyal following across the globe.

Additional shows in the curated slate are set to include other popular curiosity podcasts including Stuff You Missed in History Class, Brain Stuff, Unobscured with Aaron Mahnke, and Cabinet of Curiosities, music podcast Rivals as well as some of the most riveting true-crime podcasts like Piketon Massacre, Missing in Alaska, Murder in Oregon, and Paper Ghosts with more to come.

“NRJ Group is proud to work with the world’s leading podcast publisher, sharing the same mission: making high-quality entertainment podcasts available to the widest audience. This deal enables us to significantly enrich our offer to French listeners while clearly positioning NRJ Global as the top reference in France for the monetization of podcast,” said Cécile Chambaudrie, NRJ Global President & CEO of NRJ Group digital activities.

In addition, the partnership will also include a slate of co-produced podcasts featuring top French talent with more details to be announced in the future.

As part of the deal, NRJ Group will distribute iHeartRadio Original English-language podcasts across their apps and websites; and will lead the monetization efforts in France with exclusive monetization rights for the French translation versions, and the co-produced slate of new podcasts from existing and emerging French talent. And to drive revenue faster, NRJ Global will leverage Triton Digital’s (recently acquired by iHeartMedia) industry-leading supply side platform Yield-Op and its programmatic audio marketplace.

“As podcast audiences continue to explode in the United States, the medium is also going global, beginning to grow meaningful fanbases around the world,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. “iHeartMedia is in a unique position to partner with the best audio companies from each territory – like NRJ in France – offering them deep archives of existing hits for translation, co-production of new shows to better support the French podcast creator community, and ad technology from Triton to build sustainable podcast revenue fast as part of the premiere worldwide audio marketplace.”