For two years, iHeartMedia has been using its portfolio of 850 radio stations to give some podcasts high-profile on-air launches on an ad hoc basis. Now as part of its “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” initiative, the company is formalizing that strategy with the launch of the weekly radio show “Sunday Night Podcasts.” The weekly radio show will allow some of iHeartRadio’s most popular podcasts to reach new audiences while helping expose the medium to radio listeners who aren’t yet podcast consumers.
“iHeartMedia reaches 91% of the U.S. population with just our broadcast radio stations alone, so we’re uniquely able to provide the scale critical to introducing podcasts to the millions of Americans who aren’t yet familiar with them,” said Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network. “Research shows that more than two-thirds of the population still are not dedicated podcast listeners—many have never even heard a podcast before—and ‘Sunday Night Podcasts’ will help introduce different audio series from a variety of genres to a whole new audience.”
“Sunday Night Podcasts” will debut this Sunday (Aug. 11) with the premiere of the second season of The Ron Burgundy Podcast, a co-production of iHeart and Funny Or Die. The podcast created by actor Will Ferrell will air on 270 iHeartMedia radio stations across a variety of formats, including CHR, hot AC, country, rock, urban and news/talk.
With more than 250,000 podcasts on iHeartRadio, there’s plenty to pick from and the company says other shows that will get radio airings come from the comedy, true crime, business, history, technology, and culture genres, including such podcasts as Stuff You Should Know, Ridiculous History, Atlanta Monster, Stuff You Missed In History Class, TechStuff, Whine Down with Jana Kramer, Hell and Gone, The Ben and Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast, and Happy Face. Plus listeners will also be able to hear from iHeart CEO Bob Pittman himself. One of the podcasts set for inclusion in the “Sunday Night Podcasts” lineup is the Pittman-hosted Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing.
“We’re thrilled to bring some of the world’s best and most popular podcasts to our broadcast listeners every Sunday,” said Byrne.
The linking of podcast and broadcast has shown benefits for podcasts in particular. When the new season of Disgraceland was rolled out in March, with a debut on 150 radio stations including 70 classic rock FMs, the number of downloads exploded from 800,000 per month to 2.2 million. Since then, iHeart has rolled out the radio carpet for new podcasts like Family Secrets and Monster: The Zodiac Killer.
iHeartMedia first leveraged its “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” strategy in October 2017, when Mark Ramsey’s much lauded Inside Psycho aired as a 1-hour special on more than 70 iHeartMedia News/Talk stations across the country. And then in June 2018, iHeartMedia announced a first-of-its-kind agreement with actor Anna Faris and Unqualified Media to bring her hit podcast Anna Faris is Unqualified to top 40 radio and the iHeartPodcast Network.