Radio giant Entercom begins audacious odyssey as ‘Audacy’

Audacy

The parent company of seven Chicago radio stations — including top-rated all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM — officially changed its name Tuesday from Entercom to “Audacy.”

“It’s part ‘audio,’ it’s part ‘audacious’ and it’s part ‘odyssey,'” David Field, chairman of the Philadelphia-based company, explained to news anchor Steve Scott on New York’s WCBS. “That’s the derivation of the name.”

Whether it will resonate with listeners and advertisers or join the corporate ash heap with “tronc” and other famous flops, the rebranding marks the latest effort by a legacy media company to remain relevant. The new name is intended to encompass broadcasting, podcasting, digital, network, live experiences, music sports and news.

Saying the company’s old name “no longer fits,” Field told his hometown Philadelphia Inquirer: “Entercom reflected radio only. We’ve outgrown it. It’s broader than that, and it also didn’t fit our aspirations.

“We have transformed into a fundamentally different and dramatically enhanced organization and so it is time to embrace a new name and brand identity.”

With 230 radio stations in 47 markets, Audacy is the nation’s second-largest commercial radio broadcaster behind iHeart Media (which changed its name from Clear Channel Communications in 2014).

The rebranding marks the third company name in less than four years for the Chicago station group, which had been under CBS Radio ownership until Entercom took over in 2017.

In addition to the WBBM Newsradio combo, the company’s stations here include sports/talk WSCR 670-AM; Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM; adult album alternative WXRT 93.1-FM; country WUSN 99.5-FM, and classic hip hop WBMX 104.3-FM.

“This is more than a name change,” Rachel Williamson, senior vice president and Chicago market manager, wrote to advertisers. “Our new brand reflects the transformation of our company into a scaled, multiplatform audio powerhouse with a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market.

“As a result of our recent acquisitions, investments and enhancements, we have meaningfully elevated our capacity to serve our listeners and advertisers better than ever.”

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Wynne Delacoma: I have no doubt that Hannah Edgar will do terrific work covering classical music for the Tribune. But the thought that a newspaper like the Trib is unable—or unwilling—to pay for a full-time, on-staff classical critic out of its own coffers is appalling. Chicago is home to internationally acclaimed institutions like the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Tribune should be ashamed of itself.