Looking At IHeartRadio Talk

IHeartRadio Talk Spreaker Stitcher KCRW Nerdist Earwolf Daily Pulse ABCClear Channel today launched IHeartRadio Talk. The new addition to IHeartRadio.com features on-demand listening of talk content from a variety of sources.

In addition to content from Clear Channel’s stations and Premiere Radio Networks, IHeartRadio Talk features content from ABC, American Public Media, KCRW, Yahoo! Sports Radio, Envision Radio Networks, and multiple Podcasting networks such as Earwolf and Nerdist among the shows we’ve seen. The best comparison for the new feature would be Stitcher.com, which allows users to stream podcasts on demand.

The content is built around a feature called “Daily Pulse”, which Clear Channel describes in its press release as “a customizable Talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them”.

Unlike creating a custom music station, IHeartRadio Talk requires a user to login. Following my login I was greeted with Marketplace Headlines from American Public Media with a 1:20 run time. After hitting the skip button, a two minute ABC News Update followed. Next was “Pop News” from Good Morning America about Beyonce which had a custom intro announcing it as being exlusive on IHeartRadio Talk. Next was a 51 second “Direct From Hollywood” with Ryan Seacrest, a 1:15 ABC News World report about Nelson Mandela, a “Sleaze” report from Danielle Monaro of the Elvis Duran show, a report about Amanda Bynes from TMZ, a Fox Sports Radio top of the hour newscast, and a commentary about steroids in baseball from FSR’s Jay Mohr. The Daily Pulse homepage also highlights content from Dave Ramsey, Scientific American magazine, Moviefone, Mashable, WOR, and Paul Shaffer’s Day In Rock. There’s no limit to the amount of times you can skip to the next show and each show allows you to add or remove it from your custom stream.

Clear Channel has expanded its local news, weather, and traffic content to feature many more markets. If you’re driving in Los Angeles and need to cleanse your pallet with a traffic report from Defiance, OH (Light volume everywhere this morning!) or a weather report in Fairbault, MN both are now options.

Any podcast allows you to select any episode from its archives. The Comedy section features most of the Earwolf, Nerdist, and Toadhop network programs alongside A Prairie Home Companion, Clarissa Jenkins Phone Checks, Free Beer & Hot Wings, and Clear Channel shows such as Bobby Bones, Bob & Tom, Alan Cox, and Monsters In The Morning. Currently the custom talk content is only available on the web version of the site, although you can search for the content manually through the apps. The custom talk channels will be made available on the IHeartRadio apps this fall. A full list of the content providers contributing content is available here.

The other major feature being highlighted as part of IHeartRadio Talk is a partnership with Spreaker.com. Spreaker allows users to record audio from any device and IHeart will then make the content available on IHeartRadio Talk in some form. Details of how it will work a still sketchy, but they claim it will provide a publishing capability and pair it with a mass market distribution outlet.

If Clear Channel opens IHeartRadio Talk to other long and short form podcast services, this could become a worthy competitor to not just Stitcher, but also ITunes and Google Play in that it will have access to music streaming and a full podcast directory. Will their other radio partners like Cumulus and Emmis be allowed to make their on-demand content available? Will an independent podcast not using Spreaker be allowed in?

IHeartRadio Talk does give Clear Channel something to massively differentiate its product from Pandora, Spotify, and other radio companies apps in making on-demand content more accessible and less reliant on just music listeners. Will that lead to others following suit. How long until better monetization of the talk content?

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