ABC Radio has joined the growing list of companies to excise the word “radio” from their name. The radio network has officially adopted ABC Audio as its umbrella brand. Concurrent with the name change, ABC Audio has promoted Heidi Oringer to Executive Director of Business Strategy, Programming and Distribution and Abe Velez to Director of Business Development and Strategy.
In a memo to staffers Friday morning, Stacia Philips Deshishku, VP and GM of ABC Audio, said the rebranding makes official something that has increasingly been done in practice at the network. “Audio is a natural evolution of our branding. It says ‘yes, and…’ to the many, growing touchpoints for our journalism and stories,” Deshishku explained in the memo. Citing the expanding menu of platforms used by consumers, such as podcasting and voice-activated speakers, Deshishku added, “ABC Audio recognizes that technology is evolving, but the value of our work remains constant. So this is as much a commitment to our listeners that they will find our storytelling anytime and everywhere, as it is to you that your excellent work will continue to find the audiences it deserves.”
The network, which boasts 1,600 affiliates, isn’t turning its back on radio. “The power of radio remains critical to our business,” Deshishku said. “Affiliate stations can continue to expect nothing less than the same ABC News Radio products and services that they know and trust.”
ABC isn’t changing the name of its core news product, which will continue to fly the ABC News Radio flag. In addition to the news products, ABC Audio will house the network’s new on-demand content team; its Affiliate Solutions group; business development department; sales integration operation; and FM entertainment team.
The trend away from “radio” to “audio” or “media” started years ago as companies began distributing their content beyond just radio towers. Clear Channel dropped the word radio from its name in 2012 and became iHeartMedia in 2014. More recently, Radio One changed to Interactive One. Most of the industry’s biggest players use the either “media” or “communications” in their name.
Oringer And Velez Promoted
Concurrent with the name change, ABC Audio has promoted Heidi Oringer to Executive Director of Business Strategy, Programming and Distribution; and Abe Velez to Director of Business Development and Strategy.
Oringer began her career at ABC as an overnight writer for morning radio, developing the morning radio prep services that came to be known as Air Power. She served as Director of Entertainment for ABC News Radio when ABC was the first radio outlet to broadcast a live two-hour national show from a solo platform on the Academy Awards Red Carpet. Most recently Oringer was the Director of Affiliate Solutions, credited with playing an integral role in growing ABC Radio’s roster to its current affiliate base and creating new programming and products, including the nationally syndicated “The Deja Vu Show.”
Velez first joined ABC News in 2011 in the newly created Business Development function. “He played a vital role in the 2015 network relaunch of ABC Radio, and his creative instincts have further elevated him as a trusted leader,” Deshishku said. Stretching beyond his Business Development charge, he collaborated with Oscar-winning composer Leo Sidran to produce the theme for “Start Here,” ABC News Radio’s daily podcast.