Three all-podcast radio stations have been launched so far by iHeartMedia in the U.S., now the format is touching down in the U.K. Podcast Radio will showcase podcasts from all over the world as it arrives in London on Tuesday (Feb. 11) with a 24-hour format serving up podcasts.
“There have been experiments with radio stations playing podcasts in the U.S., but no serious attempt to create a station devoted to playing and talking about podcasts. The time is now right for a U.K. station showcasing fantastic podcasts,” said CEO Gerry Edwards. “For listeners, Podcast Radio will enable them to discover and sample podcasts to find out what they like. For podcast producers, it’s a showcase and shop window for their content.”
Edwards has been working with consultant Paul Chantler to launch the station since last spring.
“There’s so much podcast choice that it’s overwhelming,” said Chantler. “We believe there’s a need for a trusted guide to help navigate the wonderful world of podcasts and that’s Podcast Radio’s job.”
Among the featured podcasts will be Jo Wood’s popular podcast Alien Nation which discusses UFOs and extra-terrestrials and Planet Porky featuring U.K. television and radio personality Mike Parry. In addition to putting podcasts on the air, Podcast Radio will also feature talk shows about podcasts with interviews of show producers. It will also offer reviews and recommendations, and a weekly chart of what’s popular. The new station, which will broadcast on DAB+ to a potential audience of 12 million people.
Edwards, from Liverpool, started his radio career as an on-air personality and producer on radio in New Zealand. After he returned to the U.K., he has worked for Global Radio and for the last few years designed and managed Panda Radio for the European-based media company GB Times. He’s also been a podcast enthusiast and evangelist and calls himself a “podjock” – a cross between a DJ and continuity announcer. “I’m excited to combine my love of podcasts with radio,” Edwards said.
In December iHeartMedia has launched three all-podcast stations to date, most recently in the Erie, PA market in December. Last March WSAN (1470) in the Allentown-Bethlehem, PA market became iHeart’s first all-podcast station. 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 America’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. Yet with low ratings and podcasting remaining a niche medium, CBS decided to pull the plug on “K-Your Radio” in 2007 on what is now known as “1550 The Game” KGMZ under new owner Entercom.