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American Public Media Partners with Podcast Giant Cadence13

11June 2021

St. Paul-based American Public Media has struck a “multi-year strategic partnership” with New York-based Cadence13, which has a portfolio of more than 100 podcasts. The arrangement is specifically between APM’s podcast arm and Cadence13.

According to a joint announcement from the organizations, “Cadence13 will serve as the exclusive podcast sales representative for APM. Additionally, the organizations will develop future on-demand programming initiatives, co-productions, and collaborative new revenue opportunities.”

The deal brings together nonprofit APM with a for-profit company. Cadence13 is owned by Philadelphia-based Audacy Inc., the second largest radio broadcaster in the U.S. The for-profit world’s advertisers are the nonprofit broadcaster’s underwriters.

Audacy has identified itself as “one of the three largest podcasting publishers.” The publicly traded Audacy reported revenue of $1.06 billion for 2020. But the company reported a net loss of $242.2 million for the year.

“Our organizations share a complementary vision for premium audio storytelling, and we are delighted to form a partnership with an established powerhouse like Cadence13 that will help us expand our collective reach and pursue new ways to connect directly with our fans,” said Lily Kim, general manager of APM’s podcast division, in a statement. “A cornerstone of public media is the commitment to serve our listeners by providing meaningful content that enriches, informs, and builds community. This partnership will further enhance our ability to deliver on that mission.”

The Cadence13 podcast lineup includes some big names like singer Demi Lovato and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who co-hosts “The Goop Podcast.” Paltrow founded and serves as CEO of Goop Inc., which touts itself as a “modern lifestyle brand.”

Audacy is also a competitor to APM/Minnesota Public Radio, which operates three signals in the Twin Cities. Audacy owns nine stations in the Twin Cities including WCCO-AM, JACK-FM, and Lite FM. It also owns three AM radio stations here. In outstate Minnesota, Audacy owns stations in Austin, Mankato, Luverne, and Redwood Falls.

The company was previously known as Entercom Communications Corp. It announced its rebranding to Audacy in late March.

Audacy acquired the 55 percent of Cadence13 that it didn’t already own in 2019. The company had previously acquired 45 percent of Cadence13 in 2017. In March, the company acquired Podcorn, which operates a podcast ad network.

APM’s web site currently lists 12 active podcasts, a small fraction of what Cadence13 offers. APM podcasts include a Marketplace podcast, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking with Nora McInerny,” and “In the Dark.”

The “In the Dark” podcast drew national attention for its reporting on the case of Curtis Flowers, a onetime death row inmate in Mississippi who had been tried six times for murder. In the wake of APM’s reporting, the state dropped its case against Flowers who was then released from prison.

When Twin Cities Business interviewed APM president and CEO Jon McTaggart in 2019, he said that the podcast business as a whole was not yet profitable for APM.

APM/MPR has been facing a series of challenges recently. The nonprofit instituted layoffs, buyouts, and furloughs in 2020 as the pandemic took a bite out of its underwriting revenue.

Last September, McTaggart announced plans to step down. The search for his successor is ongoing.

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