The podcast became the broadcast format as iHeartMedia launched stations in the Albuquerque, NM and Allentown-Bethlehem, PA markets earlier this year that aired nothing but podcasts. Both were relatively low-risk gambles on second-tier AM stations. Now iHeart is giving the all-podcast format its biggest test to date slotting it on an FM in the Erie, PA market. Soft AC “95.9 Lite FM” WLTM had been airing an all-Christmas music format in recent weeks giving the iHeartPodcast Channel a larger cume base to launch from in market No. 182.
“Now our local listeners have even more access to a variety of their favorite iHeart podcasts, while helping them discover new podcast content all through the power of radio,” Joe Lang, Senior VP of Programming said in a release. The lineup includes podcasts such as Stuff You Should Know, Part-Time Genius and Broken Harts. “From true crime to history, comedy to food, this station will offer a wide variety of topics every week,” Lang continued.
Here is the Monday-Friday Lineup:
In March WSAN (1470) in the Allentown-Bethlehem, PA market became iHeart’s first all-podcast station. The station had been airing the Spanish-language sports network ESPN Deportes since May 2016 and had failed to show in previous books. Then in July “Progressive Talk 1350” KABQ in the Albuquerque market made a similar move.
The idea of putting podcasts on broadcast radio is nearly as old as podcasting itself. In May 2005 CBS Radio flipped KYCY San Francisco (1550) into what at the time was American’s first-ever podcast station. Billed as “K-Your Radio,” the station allowed listeners to contribute—for free—their podcast for airplay, and at its launch programmers said they had more than 400 podcasts submitted. As Inside Radio reported at the time, KYCY typically ran about 1,200 podcasts per week, rotating the playlist to fill the hours. Yet with low ratings and podcasting remaining a niche medium, CBS decided to pull the plug on “K-Your Radio” in 2007. It has had a number of formats in past decade and since May 2018 the signal is known as “1550 The Game” KGMZ under new owner Entercom.