News & Announcements

In a special three-day performance in January, Common at the Minetta Lane: A Journey Through Lyrics & Life at the Minetta Lane Theatre delivered an intimate expression of art, culture and verse that called forth the spirit and legacy of artists, thinkers and heroes who have informed Common’s own creative vision, such as James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rakim and Melle Mel.

“Common’s inspiring work has called attention to the inequalities and injustices in our society, from his influential albums Can I Borrow a Dollar? and Be, to his Grammy Award-winning collaborations with Erykah Badu and Kanye West, to his and John Legend’s Oscar-winning song ‘Glory’ from the movie Selma,’ Don wrote in the program. “Tonight, you will experience Common’s meditation on the complexities of fatherlessness, art, masculinity and black consciousness.”

Below, Don joins Common, Whoopi Goldberg and Ron Howard backstage.

Media and tech executive Bob Carrigan joined Audible on Jan. 2 as CEO reporting to Don, who is now executive chairman of Audible.

Don will work closely with Bob on overarching strategies as Bob takes over responsibility for global business operations. Don will also focus on Audible’s global content strategy and extensive social and public policy objectives in Newark and other locations.

“Bob Carrigan is among the most accomplished, creative, intellectually adept, and inspirational CEOs I have watched succeed over my twenty years of studying and chronicling businesses and my twenty-four years leading Audible,” Don said in the press release. “I have watched him positively disrupt institutional status quos to measurable and lasting effect. I could not be more thrilled that the stars have aligned to allow him to join the Audible adventure full-time.”

Bob joins Audible after a 20-year career that spans positions as Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, CEO of IDG and a senior executive at AOL. Bob most recently served as the Executive Chairman of Genscape.

NJBIZ named Don No. 7 on its Power 100 list, citing his role as founder of Newark Venture Partners, the venture capital firm and accelerator that has attracted dozens of startups to Newark’s growing tech ecosystem.

Katz is the executive chairman of Audible, one of Newark’s most prominent corporate citizens. But Katz’s influence extends further. He is also the founder of Newark Venture Partners, which has invested $26 million in 74 technology companies that employ a total of 500 people. Executives of technology companies said these businesses bring high-paying jobs to New Jersey.

Don was joined by some of India’s best-known actors, writers, directors and comedians for the launch of Audible Suno last week at Famous Studios in Mumbai.

Audible Suno, coming a year after Audible expanded its premium service to India, offers Indian listeners hundreds of hours of original and exclusive spoken-word content for free, with no payment, ads or sign-in. The programs span comedy, horror, spirituality, romance and other genres, and are created by some of India’s biggest talent, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tabu, Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Vir Das and Abish Mathew.

“We are so proud of the power of the performed words that are inside Audible Suno and the many more original programs to come,” Don said before the actors, writers, directors, producers and journalists at the studio.

Read more in Economic Times.


Don with Nawazuddin Siddiqui at the Audible Suno launch in Mumbai

In an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine‘s podcast “The Playbook with David Meltzer,” Don discusses his journey from journalist to leading Audible at scale, the lessons learned along the way, and Audible’s commitment to Newark.

I tried in two careers to pursue meaning. How can a company pursue a sense of what a company means in ways that transcends what it does? That’s why we are here in Newark. That’s why a whole part of our company is engaged with trying to create urban equality where there is inequality, in a completely different way by moving to the city. That’s why we continue to push the envelope on the next generation of written-to-the-form and created-to-the-form audio that makes people happier, that makes them more successful.


“CBS This Morning” interviewed Don for a November 9 segment on Audible’s recently opened Innovation Cathedral, spotlighting the company’s 12-year focus on Newark’s turnaround.

“Everyone in America loves a comeback story. Being part of it actually has a real lot of meaning,” Don said. “The fact that so many people want to work here is justification enough to continue to try to help the city.”

The piece highlighted Audible’s commercialization of the first digital audio player and Project Listen Up, which provides all Newark Public Schools students and teachers a free year of Audible listening. Customer care agent Aiyonnah Post spoke to CBS about finding a job at Audible after living in a local homeless shelter, and the segment also included Nicole Ransome, a Newark native and former high school intern who now works on Audible’s content team.

“They help me shape my future now by investing in their training, their hiring, their programs,” Post said. “Everything they’ve done has helped me achieve what I am today.”


Don paid tribute to the Ironbound Community Corporation’s longtime executive director at the community organization’s 50th anniversary gala on Oct. 24 as Don was honored for Audible’s commitment to Newark.

“Few people I’ve known or observed traveling the world as a journalist for 20 years have exemplified missionary public leadership — moral leadership that does not just call out immoralities without fiercely pursuing solutions — than does Joe Della Fave,” Don said in his remarks. “Joe is a change-maker. If you are at all interested in civics or political science, take look at the 22-year fight Joe led to clean up an unconscionably dangerous stretch of river and create Riverside Park. Joe has heart as big as the Ironbound.”

The other honorees were Newark Councilman Augusto Amador; Aisha Glover, President & CEO of the Newark Alliance; and Roger Leon, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools.

Don and Joe Della Fave (Executive Director of the Ironbound Community Corporation) among the Honorees at the 50th Anniversary Gala

Tom Morello, one of the elite guitar virtuosos, will share an electrifying musical narrative at the Minetta Lane Theatre in September, with T Bone Burnett serving as executive producer.

“As a longtime fan of Tom Morello’s brilliant musicianship, I can’t wait to hear more about his view of the powerful relationship between social conscience and the lyrics in music,” Don said. “We’re also thrilled to announce this important collaboration with the legendary T Bone Burnett on multiple upcoming projects. An artist and producer, T Bone is critically recognized for brilliantly marrying music and storytelling and is the ideal collaborator in helping us reinforce Audible’s commitment to telling great stories.”

Morello, who played guitar in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, said: “I was the only black kid in an all-white town, the only anarchist at a conservative high school, the only heavy metal guitarist at Harvard University, and the only Ivy League Star Trek nerd in the biggest political rap rock band of all time. The songs, the stories, the triumphs, the tragedies, the riffs, the rebellion – all will be revealed. Oh, and I’m going to play a lot of ripping guitar too.”

Tickets to Tom Morello at the Minetta Lane Theatre, running Sept. 18-20, are available on Ticketmaster. 

Read the press release.

Audible this month opened the doors to its Innovation Cathedral, a historic church that is now home to 400 tech employees and features the original stained-glass windows and pipe organ alongside work cafes and lounges.

“The Innovation Cathedral is a proud landmark for Newark and a powerful symbol of Audible’s commitment to the city for more than a decade,” Don said. “We have defined ourselves by the strategic pursuit of what a successful company can mean in ways that transcend what it does — and today is proof that our efforts are yielding positive outcomes for business and invention culture, for the many talented people who want to work with us, and for the comeback of this great American city.”

Since moving its headquarters to Newark in 2007, Audible has grown from 100 employees to more than 1,600 in the city.

The building was home to the Second Presbyterian Church — a congregation founded in 1811 that, at its height, reached 10,000 parishioners — until it dissolved in the mid-’90s. In addition to rehabilitating the 80,000-square-foot church, built in 1933, Audible preserved the stained-glass windows, pipe organ and bowling alley. The space also features a 370-seat auditorium.

The Star-Ledger covered the opening with a front-page story.

Read more here and view photos here.

Don spoke to CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on April 17 about Audible’s “profound levels of storytelling that addict huge numbers of people around the world” as audio becomes a “large, diversifying segment.”

Audible basically created a category around the spoken word that should have existed all along. The audiobook industry was a tiny thing stuck in book publishing, and as it’s flourished and become part of what everybody does when they drive to work, when they exercise, and now with digital assistants, as you report, listening at home is off the charts, it becomes a highly habituating way to use the times that your eyes are busy but your mind is free, which was kind of the watchword of the company back in the ’90s.

Watch the interview.