Entertainment & Content

Podcast Ads: SXM Sends the Right Message

Overview CES Tech Talk podcast, in season 6, features interviews with experts bringing you an insider’s look at what’s new and trending in consumer technology and at CES. Subscribe to get this month’s new episodes. Listen to advertising guru Lizzie Widhelm of SXM Media explain the art of advertising technology and, when done correctly, how it can more deeply engage listeners tuned in to their favorite shows.

As loyal podcast audiences know, the medium envelops listeners in an intimate space where the creator seems to share stories for their ears alone. But how can brands blend meaningfully into those narratives? With ad tech, programming from SXM Media treats the listener with a level of audience awareness matched only by the creators. As SMX Media’s Lizzie Widhelm explains, the AI-heavy science works when it grasps the listener’s interests. Lizzie, a podcaster herself, tells a great story about ads as story in episode 31, SXM Media, Podcasts and the Art of Ad Tech, of the CES Tech Talk podcast series.


  • SXM Media holds the largest podcast network in the United States and in Canada. With that status, its mission is to deliver the best audio to customers while delivering advertisers access to those customers. The trick is to engage and enlist the audio creator into that ecosystem.
  • With ad tech, monetizing programs means matching the creator-audience connection to advertisers’ needs for measurability, scalability and clarity as to the product being purchased. AI helps put those pieces together.
  • Perhaps the toughest challenge in Lizzie’s world is trying to sell space on a program before the prospective buyer has been able to hear it. Ad tech is crucial, here, because it can capture and package highly customized vetting criteria such as transcripts and meta data with lightning speed.  
  • But there’s more to the SXM ad story: The company has an innovation lab within its engineering group that can produce high-quality audio content and briefs for ads - in well under five minutes.

They Said It

[W]e are a house of audio brands, the biggest in the business…Sirius XM, best in satellite; Pandora, SoundCloud, best in streaming; and…we acquired Stitcher, which is the leading brand in podcasting…[W]e have the largest podcast network in the United States and in Canada. So our mission is to deliver the best in audio to our customers and to deliver access to those customers for our advertisers.

Lizzie Widhelm (00:59)

We're having to build ad tech that can understand wherever the listener is, and then we're having to build new models and new frameworks to understand identity, and it's really coming through AI and transcription targeting. So we're reading every single show that comes in with AI. We're understanding how to tag these shows, and then we have to build the ad tech and the insertion logic to go at those contextually relevant topics.

Lizzie Widhelm (05:52)

SXM Media at CES 2023

The company’s SiriusXM Radio exhibited at CES and SXM Media was showcased via a session in the C Space Studio at ARIA.

Lizzie Widhelm, SVP of B2B Marketing and Ad Innovation, SXM Media

Lizzie is responsible for marketing and advertising innovation for SXM Media, the combined ad-revenue organization of SiriusXM Holdings, Inc., which spans SiriusXM, Pandora and an extensive podcast network. Hired as Pandora’s first salesperson in 2006, Lizzie is a passionate storyteller with more than a decade of experience driving Pandora to the forefront of audio innovation. She is an Advertising Hall of Achievement inductee, recognized for successes bringing impactful audio ad products to market.

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