Audacy, APM Killing ‘Onerous’ Podcast Deal


American Public Media and Audacy Inc.’s Cadence13 podcast studio are ending their multiyear advertising partnership on August 31, roughly a year earlier than initially planned.

It’s the latest news story to involve the company led by CEO David Field, which is suffering from new sub-$1 stock value woes.

While the exact reasons behind the early termination remain undisclosed, APM cited “changing market dynamics,” while Audacy referred to the agreement as “onerous.” As a result, APM will manage ad sales and brand partnerships for its podcasts in-house.

The partnership, announced in the summer of 2021, was intended to be a strategic alliance between public and commercial radio. The collaboration aimed to develop and produce new shows, with Cadence13 acting as APM’s sole podcast ad sales representative. However, the partnership did not unfold as expected.

In Audacy’s Q2 2023 earnings release, Field revealed that exiting the contract would cost the company around $10.4 million but emphasized that it would positively impact podcast margins. This comes at a time when Audacy has faced challenges, including restructuring changes and stock price issues, leading to a 1-for-30 stock split.

Audacy CFO Richard Schmaeling also commented, “Our podcast business has been rough because we’ve had a number of large clients that we acquired as part of Cadence13 that have exited over the years because we really [couldn’t] meet their expectations for added revenue share. And we’ve suffered the loss of those revenues.”

APM Manager of Executive Communications Tsering Yangchen said, “Moving forward, APMG will conduct all sales and brand partnerships of our award-winning slate of podcasts and branded content, as well as manage ad sales for all podcast inventory. We have planned for this operational shift to ensure a seamless transition for our audiences and underwriters. We remain committed to creating the future of public media by amplifying voices to inform, include, and inspire.”

The news comes as Audacy shares on Monday fell as low as 75 cents per share before ending trading at $0.8001. This reflects an 11% dip from Friday’s close. AUD last topped the $1 mark in session trading on August 8.

— With reporting by Cameron Coats, in New York