Women to Watch: Bethany Kent


(By Charese Fruge’) Bethany Kent is currently Director of Music Initiatives for Audacy. A Rhode Island native and Emerson College graduate, Bethany has worked at radio stations in Providence, Philadelphia, and New York City.

She joined Audacy in 2021 and is part of the team responsible for producing tentpole events, unique artist experiences, and national programs for all music formats. Bethany works closely with Format VPs and Audacy executives across all facets of the company to provide unforgettable original content and events for listeners. 

Kent started in the business while in college. “I interned at Citadel Broadcasting (now Cumulus) in Providence as a freshman, WPRO, WWKX, and WWLI. I absolutely fell in love with being at the radio station,” she says. “I’m also a proud former Def Jam Records intern. Throughout college, I worked on the Street Team in Providence and accepted a position as Promotions Director for WWKX after graduation. There, I met Dan Hunt, and we had an absolute blast bringing live events and epic promotions to the market, always acting like we were programming in market #1. When he took a position with WRDW/Beasley in Philly, he brought me in as Marketing Director.”

“After two years in Philly, I saw my ‘dream station’ had an opening…HOT 97 in New York City. Ebro Darden hired me, and I spent 7+ years with Emmis, first as Promotions Director for WQHT and then as Marketing & Events Director for HOT 97, WBLS, and WLIB. I had known Chad Fitzsimmons for several years, and when he called about building a central team at the newly rebranded Audacy, I jumped at the chance!”

“I can remember as an intern in radio, I was also working retail at a music store, and after a few weeks into the internship, I said to my mom, ‘Why is it that I can spend all day working for free at the radio station and enjoy it way more than when I’m being paid at the music store?’ She said, ‘That sounds like you found the difference between a job and a career.’ I never looked back.”

“We have a handful of tentpole events at Audacy that are super cool and cause-driven,” explains Kent. “’Leading Ladies’ is an annual event we started in the Country format to uplift female voices there, and we have grown it into a wider Country, Top 40, and Hot AC crossover event. The show style is a guitar pull, which is a unique experience for the audience and lends itself so well to the female performers sharing stories and hyping each other up on stage.”

“We’re bringing ‘Leading Ladies’ back this March during Women’s History Month in a bigger venue in NYC where even the back-of-house staff is all female. The other event I’m really proud of is our annual ‘We Can Survive’ show, which raises awareness and money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In 2023, I was relentless about a crazy idea we had for Kelly Clarkson, one of our headliners, to give away tickets to the show to everyone in the audience while appearing on Jimmy Fallon. To get a plug for our event and the cause on a platform as large as that was just icing on the cake the day before a sold-out show.”

“While it’s hard to choose one particular favorite event, getting to produce six HOT 97 Summer Jam shows at MetLife Stadium was really special,” says Kent. “That event meant so much to Hip-Hop culture and New York City listeners. As a radio events promo kid, doing a station show in a stadium was just next level. From the smallest branding details to singing along with the 50,000 listeners there, it was just the best!”

“The size and caliber of these events does not come without its challenges,” says Kent. “Being on a central team means I’m not able to just pop into the studio or a programmer’s office to build rapport. As someone totally new to Audacy, and starting in 2021, which was still pretty pandemic-ish, it was a challenge to have instant relationships with all the key players I needed to be on the same page with throughout the country. It has been so satisfying to be far enough into a gig where I’m now the one who can easily pick up the phone, know the right person to call, and navigate solutions to almost any challenge that comes my way. And when we do get together in person, it’s like we haven’t missed a beat because we’re basically on Zoom together all day anyway. I’m really grateful for the friendships and partnerships I’ve been able to build!”

“I think we’re all learning in radio more and more that you need to meet your audience where they are,” says Kent. “So not only does that mean encouraging listening on the Audacy app and being in their social feeds, but it’s also about getting to connect our brands with them at in-person events. That’s why our events are such a big part of the business plan for radio these days. Our team doesn’t just do ‘national’ events. We help local markets execute meaningful events for their listeners. When we can work together with local programmers and promotions teams who know the market’s ins and outs, and we can take the heavy lifting off of them so they can focus on great radio, it’s magic.”

“As far as bridging the generation gap and working to engage the younger generation in radio, I think this goes back to meeting our audience where they are,” says Kent. “We need to ask ourselves, ‘How does the younger generation consume media?’ And then work to meet them there. TikTok? Snapchat? App-based listening? We must focus on staying relevant while remaining authentic and putting out quality content. For what I can control daily, I ensure we’re giving our younger audience opportunities to win prizes they want. Last year, we had an epic ‘Tay in LA’ contest that supported app-based listening for our stations and allowed listeners to win a trip to the last two U.S. shows of The Eras Tour. Our engagement was through the roof.”

Kent has some good advice for women who want to succeed in the radio industry, particularly in similar roles, “Dream big and work hard. Network up AND across. I made lifelong friends as an intern, and some of those same people I came up with are now doing such major things. So be willing to put in the long hours and keep putting yourself out there. We’re still in a place as an industry where we need more female leaders on all sides of the business. Just keep going! We got this, ladies.”

What keeps Kent up at night? “I do still occasionally have classic event anxiety dreams… like the audience and all your colleagues are there, but you put the wrong date in the artist contract, so the band doesn’t show up. Because my job is mostly remote, I sometimes miss being with humans in an office every day; however, remote work has opened my eyes to a much better work/life balance. I can get outside for a quick ‘hot girl walk’ between meetings. It’s so important for physical and mental health and honestly makes me a much more productive employee.”

As for what’s next for Kent in 2024, “Right now, I’m working on firming up and putting into motion a lot of our 2024 plans across formats,” she says. “We’re already locking in talent for tentpole events for the entire year. At any given moment, I’m having simultaneous conversations about both an event in March as well as one in October. With all the new music releases coming, I’m also getting super excited about ways we can work with partners to give our listeners unforgettable experiences!” 

Follow Bethany Kent on Instagram @bethanykent84 and on LinkedIn.

Charese Fruge’ is an award-winning Content, Broadcast, and Marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, and Las Vegas. As the owner of MC Media, she works with radio brands and individual talents, especially young women, helping them grow their brands and negotiate on their own behalf. Find her at @MCMediaOnline. See more Women to Watch here.


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