Radio & Podcast News – iHeartMedia cuts deep in U.S. as it maximizes tech investment

iHeartMedia, the largest radio conglomerate in the U.S. with more than 850 radio stations, has announced a new organizational structure for its Markets Group as it moves to maximize its investment in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and create “Centers of Excellence” that will consolidate programming, marketing, digital, podcast, sales and sales support. The reorg announcement was accompanied by a wave of layoffs, concentrated in small and medium markets, with some estimates putting the number of employees let go at close to 1,000. In a statement, iHeart said the number of layoffs is “relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500.” All Access has been keeping a running list of some of the on-air and programming talent impacted by this week’s cuts.

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on radio market capacity in the Ajax/Pickering, ON area. The commission has received an application for a broadcasting licence to operate a new commercial, ethnic station serving the region. The commission will accept interventions received on or before Feb. 10.

Megan Twohey, David Shing, and Matt Britton

Canadian Music Week (CMW) has unveiled the preliminary speakers who’ll address a revamped version of its annual Radio Active Summit May 20-21 in Toronto. Among the speakers announced so far are Megan Twohey, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-author of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement; Australian futurist, creative director, and “Digital Prophet” David Shing; and Gen Y and Gen Z consumer expert Matt Britton. Other program highlights include a new research study from Audience Insights Inc. taking a deep dive into the audio listening habits of a group of 25-54-year-olds, and Lori Lewis, Director, Digital & Social Strategist, with Jacobs Media, who will lead a panel discussion on Driving Listener Loyalty with Social Media. Read more here.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced singer/songwriter Jann Arden as the first 2020 inductee into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. With accolades that include 19 top 10 singles and eight JUNO Awards, Arden will be inducted and perform during the 49th Annual JUNO Awards on Sunday, Mar. 15 at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. The 2020 JUNO Awards will be broadcast live on CBC, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, and the CBC Listen app.

Jeff Woods

Jeff Woods, host of syndicated radio show and podcast Records & Rockstars, has compiled a special Neil Peart tribute that’s being made available free to radio stations this week. Woods developed a relationship with the RUSH drummer and lyricist, who passed away Jan. 7 after a private battle with cancer. That relationship led to several hours of recorded interviews in which the two connected over music, motorcycles and more. The two-hour tribute is comprised of a conversation from the year before Peart fell ill, alongside a RUSH playlist, carefully curated by Woods. Read more here.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is launching live weekday program NOW with Dave Brown. The program will air at 9 a.m. ET on AMI-audio and AMI-tv beginning Monday, Feb. 3. A two-hour news and current events show, NOW with Dave Brown promises to nationalize regional issues and regionalize national issues and will feature local reporters from the blind and partially-sighted community. AMI-audio content is available as podcasts through all major podcasting apps and platforms.

Spotify unveiled new ad-tech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) will be available to Spotify’s original and exclusive shows, to help further monetize podcasts available on the platform. The proprietary podcast ad tech will allow advertisers to buy listener micro-targeted, inserted spots. SAI promises to generate unprecedented data including ad impressions, the number of times a listener heard an ad, reach and audience analysis by age, gender, and device used. 

Spotify is now the single biggest podcasting platform, depending on how you crunch new data from MIDiA Research Group. MIDiA’s Q4 tracker finds that Spotify now leads in all markets outside the U.S. when you differentiate Apple Music and Apple Podcasts as singular apps. The findings are part of MIDiA’s forthcoming Podcast Platforms report.


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