Audacy is a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with thousands of employees across the US. This intranet case study outlines how Audacy’s Interact intranet moved the company from silos to a unified workforce.
Born from the merger of CBS Radio and Entercom, Audacy has the United States’ best collection of local music, news, and sports brands, and is a premium podcast creator, major event producer, and digital innovator.
Audacy’s workforce connects over 200 million customers monthly, bringing people together around the news, sports, podcasts, music, and entertainment that matters to them.
Audacy is one of the premier podcast creators in the world.
During a radical transformation that included the company’s name, brand, and values, Audacy elevated the internal comms function by creating a new intranet to replace an outdated, unmanaged SharePoint intranet.
The new intranet, AudacyAtWork, was a critical part of the rebrand and has become an essential workplace platform that elevates communications, celebrates employees, and gives everyone access to the information they need to work efficiently.
Katherine Ide – VP Corporate Communications & CSR, Audacy – gave us the lowdown on how Audacy worked with Interact to create a better intranet for everyone.
The background: A new company with new objectives
Following a high-profile merger between Entercom and CBS Radio in 2017, the company’s workforce and services grew rapidly.
By 2021, the company recognized that its old systems were no longer sufficient and that it needed a way to unite thousands of team members under a single banner. The company knew that only a radical overhaul of internal systems and processes would match the ambitions of the new external brand known as Audacy.
- Internal communication and knowledge-sharing were outdated and cumbersome.
- The company relied on neglected SharePoint folders and overlooked emails, which resulted in information silos and a fragmented employee experience.
- There was no dedicated internal communications leader, which resulted in a lack of strategy and frequent gaps.
Audacy saw the pressing need for a centralized intranet platform and strategy that a small core team could manage for a large and dispersed audience.
Building comms, content, and culture
When Katherine Ide took on responsibility for the company’s new intranet and internal communication strategy, she had a big remit.
“We had two radio companies merge, we acquired several podcast companies, and our 45 local markets needed to live in the same house together. We needed to make an umbrella strategy that would help us communicate and share information.”
Customer success stories
Coupled with the company’s culture gap, internal communications needed more direction and scalability for different audiences within the organization.
“We had functional updates, sure, but we wanted to do more for the team that went beyond an infrequent all-team email. We needed to build our voice internally like we did externally.”
To meet these multiple challenges head-on, the senior leaders at Audacy decided that only wholesale external and internal change would do. They seized on the company’s rebranding to Audacy to launch a revamped internal communications strategy, including a new intranet.
“We launched our Interact intranet on the same day we rebranded from Entercom to Audacy. So, in a matter of a few hours, we changed everything about our organization: our name, our brand, and launched an intranet, which we had never had before. I helped project manage the rebranding, part of which was the creation of better internal communications. No one was running internal comms before, but I had been lobbying for about a year to create better comms for our organization. I give our leadership credit for recognizing how important internal comms is and for giving our team the tools to succeed and the freedom to experiment.”
Katherine knew that Audacy’s intranet needed to be advanced enough to handle complex communications with thousands of employees, but user-friendly enough to be managed by a busy comms professional.
“A new intranet had to be one that even a person without a vast communications background could walk into and say, “I want to build this from scratch”. We had to make this valuable and indispensable for our team but easy for a non-technical person to manage. SharePoint wouldn’t do that because we couldn’t even figure out how to update it without skilled coding professionals. We needed something that could be the gateway to access the entire organization. We found that with Interact.”
Creating and launching a new digital home for Audacy
As Audacy was building a brand, an internal comms function, and an intranet simultaneously, Katherine Ide and the team worked tirelessly to prepare the ground for a successful new comms platform.
“Our biggest challenge was building the entire intranet under the cover of darkness. Maybe eight people in the organization knew we were doing this, and it would be launched with the new brand. All the discovery, documents, and policies were delivered to me and my very small team to recreate on AudacyAtWork. We built around 300 pages to be ready for launch day. The whole process was intense, but we had lots of help from our onboarding team at Interact, who helped both map the site and coordinate with us. Even they didn’t know the name of our rebranded company until the very last weeks of the project.”
At 9:05 AM on launch day, Audacy’s CEO sent an email to the entire organization. His message was the first email under the new company name and with the new email address. Then, as a sign of how integral AudacyAtWork would become to the company, the CEO announced the rebranding and asked everyone to meet to celebrate virtually.
“That meeting was launched on the intranet; the first thing we did was build a landing page so it could host the introduction video. So, the intranet was the first way we introduced Audacy as a brand to our team. In one day, we had done all the internal and external announcements, everything from changing email addresses to logos on everything. The buildings took a lot longer than that.“
In the first three months post-launch, the Audacy team saw 98% of active users visit the site each week. That number has averaged a steady 91% after the first two years.
At Audacy, strategy and technology work in tandem to elevate employee experience
Following a successful rollout of the new platform, AudacyAtWork went from strength to strength.
“A critical problem to solve was how do we get people to visit AudacyAtWork regularly and make it a habit. We didn’t want to beg them; we wanted to make it indispensable to their Audacy experience.”
To ensure this, Audacy built its intranet as the gateway between its people and the tools they use. To access email, HR, business applications, and digital tools, you must first log onto AudacyAtWork.
“AudacyAtWork is our front door. You can’t get into the house without passing through it, and when you do, we’ll also show you the latest company news, expose you to our values, tempt you with some fun, and inspire you with stories of success from around the organization.”
Customer success stories
This marriage of strategy and technology makes the intranet a must-visit destination and a town square for employees to learn more about the company.
“One thing that we really, really value is the searchability of everything. Truly, we never had anything like that before. All of our important things were in email; if you send an email, you acknowledge it for five minutes, and then it dies. Nobody searches email for historical things. The intranet is now where people find documents, policies, forms, and other important things.”
Driving culture and values through a recognition program
Today, in addition to being critical to communications, work processes, and culture, AudacyAtWork is an employee listening and engagement tool brought to life through the company’s values-led use of employee recognition features.
“Audacy Rewards is the name of our employee recognition program. It’s based on rewarding people for living our four values. Audacy Rewards was also tied to the new brand, company name, and intranet because the rebrand was the first time we had ever created and celebrated a set of corporate values. The intranet has been essential to this because there was no program before the new platform. Around half the team gives or receives quarterly for living our values. Thousands of people are physically going to the site, writing out their recognition, and tagging others, all just to say thank you. We’ve had almost half a million points awarded since Q1 of 2022.”
As with any business, an employee recognition program must balance employee satisfaction and engagement with operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Audacy manages this through the intelligent management of rewards.
“We always make a point not just to have physical goods that people can spend their points on, but also things like a quarterly contest for $1,000 and fun stuff like tickets to the big concerts we have every fall and winter. You enter the contests by spending your points, which is great for employee experience and Audacy because we reduce the operational costs of producing and sending physical goods in favor of those experiences.”
At Audacy, effective communication is now critical, not just a “nice to have”
Before the implementation of the new intranet, Audacy’s internal communications were sporadic, information sharing depended on email and SharePoint, and the company was trying to reconcile multiple brands and thousands of employees with a new corporate identity.
By building a new digital workplace where communication, culture, and work processes are unified, Audacy now ensures that employees can be at their best.
With easy access to critical tools, culture-boosting recognition programs, and a searchable knowledge base, Audacy has combined strategy with technology to drive positive change.
“We have seen some unexpected things during our journey. Our IT and People support teams have benefitted from many more (and more correctly submitted) tickets because our support is easy to find. Our onboarding has been greatly enhanced with a customized experience through the intranet that helps guide new hires through their first 60 days. In fact, we’ve increased onboarding satisfaction by 40% in the last year. AudacyAtWork is not the sum total of our communication strategy, but it is a huge part, and it would be much more difficult to do our job if we didn’t have it. Email is still a valid and effective communications tool—and we use it daily. But email is about action and tasks. We move well beyond that with AudacyAtWork to be functional, informational, and inspirational.”