Sound That Brands, the podcast studio startup that specializes in creating branded audio content for national advertisers, has just secured the financial backing of Emmis Communications. It’s the radio group’s biggest podcasting move to date. The size of the investment wasn’t disclosed, but Emmis says the money will allow “rapid expansion” for the podcast studio launched in December 2017 by longtime radio programmer Dave Beasing.

“With Emmis' support, we'll grow quickly, producing audio that is not only entertaining and informative, but builds brand loyalty,” Beasing said in a statement. That will include the hiring of an executive in charge of revenue and brand partnerships. 

“The thing about most of the branded podcasts out there is that they are podcasts where the brand is prevalent, but the podcast is not about the brand,” Beasing explained to Inside Radio last year when discussing the show they created for the grocery store chain. “This is somewhat revolutionary in that this did extremely well as a branded podcast about the brand itself.” Sound That Brands also works with clients including Facebook, Smead, Tindr, General Electric and McAfee. 

“We've monitored the early stages of global brands telling audio stories through branded podcasts that dramatically enhances loyalty and preference," Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said. "Sound That Brands has already become a leader in branded podcasting and is uniquely positioned to work with marquee brands to build episodes that make you laugh, feel and think in a way that reinforces the brand.”

On a conference call with analysts last month, Smulyan said the company’s balance sheet had been “fixed” after repaying $1.3 billion in outstanding debt during the past 12 years and recently refinancing what it still owes. Emmis further added to its cash position with the recent announcement that it will sell its majority stake in a cluster of six Austin stations for $39.3 million. “We are now setting up the stage to transition into some new areas—and we think it will be a lead to a renaissance of what this company does,” Smulyan said.

Sounds That Brands already has one Emmis veteran on its payroll. Val Maki, who spent 33-years at Emmis include as its VP of Radio and manager of the company’s Los Angeles stations, is a Brand Strategist at the podcast company.

Prior to launching Sounds That Brands, Beasing programmed classic rock “100.3 The Sound” KWSD Los Angeles from 2008 to 2017.