There are two types of rock stars.
There’s the type in skin-tight leather pants, who twirls on stage in front of a wind machine for hordes of delirious fans. And there’s the less visible guy, behind the scenes, controlling every detail of the show with technical precision.
On paper, Ben BonoraDirector of Engineering at Audacity, reads like the latter. But pull back the curtain a bit and you’ll find that it’s actually a bit of both.
Growing up in California, Bonora was fueled by her passions for food and music. He put off college to work at his father’s restaurants and make music, until he enrolled in central washington university to study information technology. Eventually, he was able to combine his interests and studies with a career at Audacy in Seattle.
“My love of music is what drew me to working at Audacy,” Bonora said. “Audacy had stations that I grew up and identified with, including 107.7 which broke bands like Nirvana, Weezer and Beck. It was exciting to see how the sausage was made and to have access to the stations that I idolized for so long.
Audacy is a Philadelphia-based, multi-platform audio and entertainment content company spanning radio, podcasts, digital audio platforms, and live music, news, and sports events. Originally founded in 1986 as entertainment communications (a.k.a Entercom), the company got its start by acquiring popular FM radio stations across the country. In 2017, it played a leading role in audio content innovation, first acquiring CBS Radio become the second largest broadcasting group in the country, launching RADIO.COM the following year as an exclusive platform to deliver its portfolio of stations, developing brand partnerships with the likes of HBO and netflixand dive into the podcast market through its acquisition of brands such as Pineapple Street Studios, Cadence 13 and Podcorn.
As the business has evolved, so has Bonora’s role. Twelve years ago, he started as digital director of the Audacy group of radio stations in Seattle. In this role, he created and maintained each station’s digital promotions, marketing assets, email campaigns and websites. The job also came with a life-changing perk for music-obsessed Bonora.
“One of the walls in my office was glass and looked directly into our studio’s performance space,” he said. “I got to see some really big artists come through and play music live 50 feet away from me in the most intimate setting. It was super cool.
From there, Bonora moved on to the company’s digital team, taking a lead role in selecting technology and building functionality for a new open-source content management system.
When the company later merged with CBS Radio, Bonora’s skills were again called upon to initiate Audacy’s transition from a broadcast company to an audio technology company.
“At that time, it felt like we had adopted a startup mentality,” he said. “We were trying to be present in the space, move quickly to get things done, and be at the table. We had to change the way we perceived ourselves – to look and act like a technical company in terms of processes and to become agile. »
Today, still based in Seattle as Director of Tools Engineering and Internal Workflows, Bonora leads a team of 20 people responsible for developing and maintaining Audacy’s content management system and creating the next generation of microservices for the brand’s latest and greatest native iOS and Android. apps.
“It was exciting to watch the evolution and digital transformation of the business,” said Bonora, who had two children during her tenure at Audacy. “I appreciate the focus on engineering and being a technology company that sees our teams as a critical part of business success.”
Over the past 12 years, Bonora has been central to Audacy’s growth from broadcast to technology business. And while he doesn’t wear leather pants or own a wind turbine (as far as we know), his ongoing commitment to music and audio innovation certainly deserves rock star status.