iHeartMedia and WeWork Will Target Entrepreneurs With Branded Podcasts

Music stations are also in the works

Headshot of Marty Swant

If radio is the "soundtrack for work," then iHeartMedia and co-working network WeWork are hoping to redefine the soundtrack for entrepreneurs.

Today, iHeartMedia and WeWork are launching a partnership to bring live radio, branded podcasts and other content to WeWork's more than 90 locations around the world. Along with Work Radio—a live station that will feature music and talk content streamed to WeWork locations—the companies are building a new studio in WeWork's headquarters in Manhattan. The digital studio will be used for livestream interviews, concerts, events and performances. The studio will also create original podcast series, starting with one that pairs young and more seasoned entrepreneurs for conversations about their careers.

According to iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman, she realized there was room to create content specifically for the WeWork audience after she toured a WeWork office and noticed everyone had their headphones in.

"I'm really excited to partner with WeWork to figure out what is the new soundtrack for work, and how do we actually start learning and understanding what types of content people want," Troberman said in an interview. "The beauty of doing it in the iHeartRadio app is we'll see what people are thumbs-upping, thumbs-downing, and the programming will change every day based on what members want more of and when."

Since the partnership will tailor all the content and music for WeWork locations, iHeartMedia and WeWork are trying to attract brands that want to target entrepreneurs around the U.S. and internationally. One of the first brands to sign on is Dell, which will be a part of the official launch.

WeWork and iHeartMedia plan to work with brands to create sponsored podcasts focused on topics that relate to WeWork's more than 60,000 members, and the content will also be accessible to the rest of iHeartRadio's 85 million registered users.

Along with more career-specific content, iHeartMedia and WeWork will be launching three new iHeartRadio Original stations curated for WeWork members, with music throughout the week that matches the time of day and the mood.

"We really see this work radio studio becoming a sort of a coffee house for entrepreneurs to come together to discuss and the brands want to be at the table catalyzing and participating in those conversations," Troberman said. "Both in a live in-the-moment way and by funding and then producing content entrepreneurs want to hear most."

The partnership is officially launching next week with an event featuring "4-Hour Work Week" author Tim Ferriss and star music manager, now Spotify executive, Troy Carter. Unannounced musical guests will also perform at the launch.

According to WeWork CMO David Weiswasser, music has played an important role for WeWork during its history. The company already hosts a number of events each year centered around music, and in the past, it programmed its own streaming station and hosted a three-day event in the Adirondack Mountains featuring live bands for members. He said the iHeartMedia partnership is a chance to build in a way that's both community- and member-driven.

"If you look at millennials in general, music plays a big part of everyone's work life and life in general," he said. "It's kind of rare when you don't see someone listening to music or tapping their foot."

While WeWork hasn't worked with many advertisers to date, Weiswasser said the partnership is a chance to "get our feet wet."

Once the first studio in WeWork's headquarters begins production, Weiswasser said he wants to build out additional studios at other WeWork locations that allow members to record and broadcast podcasts and other content: "We hope that having compelling content and music streaming 24 hours a day, and with work and life intertwined here, that people are motivated by that."

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.