iHeartMedia has revamped one of its AM radio stations to a podcast channel. The conglomerate’s AM 1470 in Allentown, Penn., will now feature back-to-back podcast programming. The initial podcast selections for this change include several of the flagship shows from HowStuffWorks, which iHeartMedia acquired in September 2018.
This maneuver is a startling demonstration of iHeart’s signature strategic synergy that joins podcasting to broadcasting in various ways. To date, this is the most dramatic experiment along that line.
We tested the station stream to see whether the change has been made, and indeed heard the end of Stuff You Should Know. It was followed by a massive traditional block of radio commercials: the iHeartRadio app, Bank of America, “Best Fiends” mobile game app, an air conditioning company, Outback restaurants, Capital One bank, Curious Goods (a local store), the Home Depot, a pet store, My Computer Career training program, Walgreens, NAPA Auto Care Center, Choice hotels, AARP, Progressive insurance, and the iHeartRadio app again, this time emphasizing podcasts and introducing the next podcast.
In our opinion, the commercial block comes across more effectively in this format — separating two podcasts — than radio’s notoriously big breaks do in music or talk stations where the listener might expect a more continuous flow.
“The iHeartPodcast Channel is a carefully curated experience that brings you the most creative stories from over 25,000 podcasts available on our free iHeartRadio app,” said Craig Stevens, senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Allentown. “From true crime to history, comedy to food, we’ll cover dozens of topics every week.”
The weekday programming schedule will begin as follows:
Stuff You Should Know – 12 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Omnibus – 4 a.m. – 5 a.m.
Stuff to Blow Your Mind – 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.
Unqualified with Anna Ferris – 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Ridiculous History – 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Stuff You Should Know – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Broken Harts – 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Part Time Genius – 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Stuff to Blow Your Mind – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Stuff You Missed in History Class – 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Stuff Your Mom Never Told You – 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Happy Face – 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Broken Harts – 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Unobscured – 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Part Time Genius – 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Hell and Gone – 11 p.m. – 12 a.m