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Audacy, Inc., (OTC: AUDA) (the “Company” or “Audacy”) announced today that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (the “Court”) approved the Company’s Plan of Reorganization (“the Plan”). With the Plan approved, Audacy expects to emerge from the Chapter 11 process after the Company obtains approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
“Today’s announcement marks a powerful step forward for Audacy, positioning the Company for an exciting future,” said David J. Field, Chairman, President and CEO of Audacy. “As expected, we have achieved a speedy confirmation of our prepackaged Plan, which will enable Audacy to pursue our strategic goals and opportunities in the dynamic audio business. We aim to drive accelerated growth and financial performance, capitalizing on our scaled, leadership position, our uniquely differentiated premium audio content and the robust capital structure that we will have upon emergence. I also want to express my gratitude to our team, who continue their outstanding work to serve our listeners and customers with excellence and fulfill our commitments without missing a beat.”
Audacy operates one of the country’s two scaled radio broadcasting groups, as well as one of the country’s largest podcast studios, the Audacy direct-to-consumer streaming platform and multiple audio networks. Audacy is also a major event producer and a digital marketing solutions provider and is the unrivaled leader in local news and sports radio. The restructuring will enable Audacy to continue its strategic digital transformation and capitalize on its position as a scaled, leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company differentiated by its exclusive, premium audio content.
Under the approved Plan, Audacy will equitize approximately $1.6 billion of funded debt, a reduction of 80% from approximately $1.9 billion to approximately $350 million. Trade and other unsecured creditors will not be impaired.
For more information on Audacy’s restructuring, visit forward.audacyinc.com.
Feb. 16, 2024
AdsWizz Inc., the technology engine powering the monetization of audio content around the world and a subsidiary of SiriusXM, announced today that Synthetic Voice Ads are available on AudioGO, AdsWizz’s self-serve platform for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). This is the first tool to launch in a suite of offerings that AdsWizz calls AdsWizz’s AI Ad Tools. The tool is available now in AudioGO’s Ad Creative Suite. The new suite of offerings is expected to complement AdsWizz’s broader ad offering by delivering cost-effective and efficient solutions to advertisers, with an initial focus on lowering the barrier for entry into the world of audio advertising for SMBs.
“As part of our vision to shape the future of audio, we’re excited to thoughtfully explore the ways AI can extend the power of our audio portfolio to new audiences and help us deliver smarter solutions for audio advertisers,” said Chris Record, Senior Vice President, Ad Product, Technology, and Operations at SiriusXM Media and AdsWizz. “With the launch of Synthetic Voice Ads on AudioGO, we are beginning to bring a wider diversity of brands into the audio advertising space. We believe we have the ability to support the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world in a unique way, breaking down barriers and allowing advertisers of any size to tap into audio in ways they might not have thought possible.”
A friction point in audio buying, especially for SMBs, is the lack of a self-service creative platform to quickly and easily launch customizable audio ads. Display advertising, by comparison, has long benefited from automated, self-service tools. The latest advancements can help unlock this growth in audio by removing this barrier to entry, encouraging new advertisers into the audio space and giving SMBs the opportunity to create and customize compelling, engaging audio campaigns generated by AI.
Synthetic Voice Ads, available now on AudioGO, is a cost-effective creative tool that is expected to allow brands to select from a variety of artificial voices when creating an ad. With multiple voices to choose from (and more languages and voice options to come), Synthetic Voice Ads allow advertisers to create attention-grabbing, and persuasive voiceovers in seconds. Unlike most voice ads, which would require re-records or expert editing to alter once recorded, with Synthetic Voice Ads, it’s easy to do unlimited retakes or script rewrites and still publish without delay.
Synthetic Voice Ads is the most recent example of SiriusXM’s continued investment in innovative audio ad technology and solutions across AdsWizz and SiriusXM Media, the Company’s advertising arm. Additional Ad Tools based on artificial intelligence solutions are currently being researched and developed by AdsWizz, and future iterations of AdsWizz’s AI Ad Tools may come to life across the broader AdsWizz platform.
Futuri Announces Game-Changing Integration of SpotOn AI-Powered Spec Spots into TopLine Sales Intelligence System, Revolutionizing Broadcast Advertising
Feb. 15, 2024
Futuri, a leading provider of AI-driven broadcast solutions, today announced the integration of SpotOn Spec Spots into its sales intelligence platform, TopLine. This new integration accelerates the sales cycle and makes each encounter with a prospect or client more meaningful. SpotOn is available as an add-on for TopLine subscribers looking to further enhance their sales capabilities.
Account executives can use SpotOn and TopLine to instantly create custom spec spots and audio. Now, with TopLine and SpotOn integrated, account executives are supported by technology all the way through the sales process – from prospecting and getting the first appointment to developing the right message for the client's campaign. Now, with a few clicks and a few seconds, account executives can instantly impress buyers with fully produced and high-customized spec spots for any business category.
"Picture an account executive collaborating with a prospect or client, transforming ideas into reality in real-time," said Daniel Anstandig, CEO of Futuri. "Account executives can create custom, insight-driven advertising content on the spot, offering a level of speed and customization that changes the very nature of client interactions in our industry. This also eases the burden on production teams by providing a creative starting-point for spots."
TopLine sales research has become an indispensable sales system for broadcast media across America. From small rural stations to major markets, thousands of sales professionals rely on TopLine every day to optimize their service to advertisers by providing customized sales insights, presentations, and now audio.
The New York Amsterdam News (AmNews), one of America’s oldest and most influential Black newspapers continues its unfolding renaissance with the hiring of distinguished journalist and author Aaron Foley as our new News Editor.
Foley, originally from Detroit, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Boys Come First and joins the AmNews from the PBS NewsHour, where he served as a senior digital editor for its newly formed Communities Initiative. In his new role, Foley will be instrumental in directing our news coverage and helping to transform our print and digital products.
“I’ve been aware of the longstanding impact and the boundless potential of the Black press for nearly my entire life, having watched my mother climb the ranks at the Michigan Chronicle, Detroit’s oldest Black newspaper, as a child,” Foley said. “I’m excited for this next chapter in my own journalism career, at a time when more Black journalists are needed more than ever before to not only add to the living historical record of Black life New York and beyond, but to make sure our voices are heard and our stories are being told,” he added.
“I am thrilled to welcome a journalist of Aaron’s passion, commitment, and talent to our newsroom,” said AmNews Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Elinor R. Tatum. “Aaron’s accomplishments as an editor are outstanding, and I look forward to what he will add to the enormous growth that we have undertaken over the past few years.
Before joining us, Foley was the first director of CUNY’s Black Media Initiative at the Center for Community Media at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism; a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and the first chief storyteller for Detroit. As chief storyteller, a first-of-its-kind role in city government, Foley established a team of writers, videographers and photographers covering news and features from Detroit’s 200-plus neighborhoods on both city cable and an all-new digital site.
The AmNews is also excited to announce the promotion of Investigative Editor Damaso Reyes to the position of Executive Editor, where he will oversee the newsroom’s editorial operations. Reyes will retain oversight of the paper’s Blacklight investigative unit of which he is the founding editor.
“I am honored to be entrusted to help lead the storied and essential institution that is the New York Amsterdam News, the place where my career in journalism began,” said Reyes, who has been a contributor to the paper for more than 25 years before becoming Investigative Editor in 2022. “Over the past two years we have come a long way and I’m looking forward to leading the continuing growth that will ensure that our historic newspaper continues to deliver its essential journalism for another 114 years,” he added.
Previous assignments and projects have taken him to countries including Rwanda, Iraq, Indonesia, Tanzania and throughout the United States and Europe. He is a Fulbright specialist and is the recipient of several awards and grants including Arthur F. Burns and Holbrooke Fellowships from the International Center for Journalists; a Knight-Luce Fellowship from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism; an Immigration Reporting Fellowship from the French American Foundation and grants from the Solutions Journalism Network, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and is currently a Media Transformation Challenge fellow at the Poynter Institute.
“The hiring of Aaron Foley as AmNews News Editor and the very deserved promotion of Damaso Reyes to AmNews Executive Editor reflect the past two years of ongoing groundbreaking growth and transformation of this historic Black newspaper, serving the nation’s largest Black and brown community. These editorial and business operations transformations will further bolster our award-winning journalism. What is remarkable, that in this decades-long era of unprecedented challenge to America’s local newsrooms, leaving fully 30% of all local news organizations shuttered, Amsterdam News and its publisher, Elinor Tatum, set course on a highly successful strategy of reinvention and transformation - emerging stronger than ever,” said Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, President and Chief Revenue Officer of the newspaper. “These two exceptional journalists will continue the work of serving our readership and creating award winning journalism,” she added.
-- Seekr, an artificial intelligence company specializing in transparent content evaluation and generative AI, announced today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued it a new patent (No. 11,893,981) for developing a novel scoring system that identifies personal attacks in online audio content. Beginning with podcasts and extending to transcripts, closed captioning, audible books, and social media, Seekr AI contextually evaluates audio and generates a Civility Score™ that reflects the volume and severity of attacks within each piece of content.
The patented innovation is one of several industry-specific signals measured by Seekr's Align content evaluation platform, which debuted last month. Align combines Seekr's technical expertise in web-scale search, content processing, pattern recognition, and signals analysis with task-specific LLMs to understand the meaning of words, nuance in language, and broader context.
Seekr applies these capabilities to help organizations evaluate and rate all types of large, unstructured data sources against industry standards. Seekr formally introduced the Civility Score™ last month with an initial application as a brand safety and suitability solution for podcasts.
"The Civility Score™ establishes a new standard that goes far beyond current brand safety and suitability standards by recognizing that how a topic is discussed is as important as what is being discussed," said Rob Clark, President and Chief Technology Officer at Seekr.
The invention applies AI to solve a business challenge for marketers in the multi-billion-dollar podcast advertising space: how to accurately evaluate the brand suitability of audio programming in a market comprising hundreds of millions of audio episodes.
"This challenge could only have been solved by combining superior computing power with novel signal detection," said Clark. "The Civility Score™ synthesizes dozens of considerations into a single metric that opens the door to more brand-suitable opportunities and larger audiences."
The Civility Score™ benefits both advertisers and content creators: it simplifies the challenges marketers face in identifying brand-suitable advertising opportunities at scale, and it enables content creators to make a compelling case to advertisers that their content is safe.
The Civility Score™ gives organizations an automated technical solution that helps them accurately differentiate between content that divides and polarizes, and content that breeds trust, fosters customer loyalty, and strengthens brand perception.