September 13, 2022

The Power of Talk: I’m Listening

By Sarah Harris, VP, Social Impact, Audacy

Audio has a unique role to play – sharing stories and connecting us all

In 2017, the city of Seattle – known as the birthplace of grunge music – was mourning the suicide deaths of two profoundly talented artists, Chris Cornell & Chester Bennington. Audacy’s Seattle team felt the palpable pain and responded by hosting real conversations around mental health with listeners, artists and on-air talent – uniting a community in grief with the power of talk.

We were at a loss and had to do something, so we opened the mic and started talking. From celebrities to local listeners, people of all ages and backgrounds joined the conversation. It was raw. It was emotional. It was real.”
Dave Richards
Audacy SVP Programming and Founder of I’m Listening

The response we received after that first broadcast made it clear – we all have mental health, and there is a need for content that fosters connection, provides resources, and empowers our listeners. That 2017 broadcast was the very beginning of “I’m Listening” – Audacy’s platform for more mental health conversations. In the years since, and exacerbated by the pandemic, the need for mental health resources and outlets has skyrocketed. Consumer demand for mental health content is at an all-time high as people look to connect, heal and care for their well-being.


From its origins in Seattle, “I’m Listening” has become Audacy’s national flagship program for mental health conversations. 

This year’s  sixth annual special will be hosted by Carson Daly and Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble,  and airs on September 21st at 6PM across local time zones. Artists, athletes, and health professionals will join live to share their personal mental health experiences as a way to encourage open and honest dialogue.

Renowned mental health expert Dr. Christine Yu Moutier from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will be joining Katie Neal, host of Audacy’s nationally syndicated country show, “Katie + Company,” in studio for the event. The pair will respond to caller questions and stories with real-time advice. 

When you’re experiencing a decline in your mental health, it’s so easy to feel alone and uniquely flawed,” Katie says. “But the more we share and see others share, we realize how universal so many feelings are.”
Katie Neal
Host of Audacy’s nationally syndicated country show, “Katie + Company”


The need for mental health conversations is growing.  More than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health need during their lifetime. 1 in 5 will deal with a mental health condition this year. Almost a third of millennials are grappling with a behavioral health condition – and rates are rising by double digits. 

The antidote? While there may not be a single solution, science confirms simply talking about mental health challenges can help us feel more connected

I’m Listening is meeting listeners’ desire for tools, support, and tips about mental health and well-being.

Listeners want to hear about mental health issues. 6-in-10 are interested in tuning into radio programs that discuss mental health issues.

Key audiences have  a strong interest in audio mental health content, including Hispanics (51%), young adults 18 to 34 (55%), and African Americans (60%)1.

I’m Listening is meeting listeners’ desire for mental health support and content – providing space for real conversations, a natural remedy to address mental health needs.

In addition to powerful content related to mental health, consumers are actively seeking brands, products and services to support their wellness journey. This is good news for brands looking to align with credible nonprofits and media leaders – and even better news for the health of our communities!


Audio’s superpower – the power of talk – can be a lifeline for people without ready access to mental healthcare.

The power of today’s biggest stars – from Lizzo to Michael Phelps to Charlie Puth – revealing they have struggles and experiences just like you and me – is tremendously influential in helping people realize it’s okay to not be okay. 

Lizzo on expressing yourself online
Michael Phelps on wanting to find change in himself
Charlie Puth on importance of surrounding yourself with friends

Audacy’s scale is impressive – 200m listeners every month. Yet it’s the personal connection our listeners feel with our trusted personalities that enables our voice to be significant. 

Katie Neal wants listeners to know, “whether you’re on a personal journey to take better care of your own mental health – or know and love someone who is,” I’m Listening is a place to connect with others, share your story and access content and resources to support you. 

How’s your mental health today? It’s Audacy, I’m Listening.

If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 (or call internationally to 1-800-273-8255) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also get support via text by visiting Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

Let´s Talk

 Audio Brand Research Wave 2, Audacy│S. Radoff Associates, May 2022

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