TV Upfront

IHeartMedia Shows Off Original Podcasts at 'Soundfront'

Pitches Podcast With Jared Leto, Gaming Show From 'Walking Dead' Producers

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George Ezra performed at the iHeartMedia event.
George Ezra performed at the iHeartMedia event. Credit: Getty Images for iHeartMedia

In its first "Soundfront," a play on TV's long running upfronts and digital media's more recent NewFronts, iHeartMedia pitched ad buyers Wednesday night on a slew of original podcasts in which they could get involved, citing public radio's "Serial" as evidence of the format's rising importance.

The planned or proposed iHeartMedia podcasts include:

  • "Heart of the Beat"
    Jared Leto hosting artists who discuss the stories and strategies behind their creative processes.
  • "Skybound Rundown"
    A show on everything you need to know about indie gaming, from the producers of the "Walking Dead" TV show and games. "Skybound" is the entertainment company founded by the creator of the "Walking Dead" comic book series, Robert Kirkman.
  • "Who is Marty Hirsch?"
    The "first ever audio mockumentary," telling the story of Marty Hirsch, a fictional man in the background of every rock and roll story. Guests will include real-life musicians.

Additional slated programming includes several titles created with Trium Entertainment: a podcast for moms hosted by Jaime Pressly, a podcast about love in the digital age with "Catfish" host Nev Schulman, and a rap and pop culture show with L.A. radio host Big Boy.

"Let's embrace the power of audio and let's ask ourselves, 'What is your sound strategy?'" CMO Gayle Troberman said during the event at company headquarters in Manhattan, noting iHeartMedia's willingness to work with brands and agencies to produce branded content, whether the proposed programming or something else.

iHeartMedia, which changed its name from Clear Channel last fall, also talked up the automated purchasing for radio advertising that it plans to offer later this year.

The presentation included performances from musicians George Ezra and Ella Henderson as well as comments from Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, who spoke about iHeartMedia's partnership with his company.

Ms. Troberman, who joined in October, also described research that she said demonstrated higher levels of consumer engagement with audio than visual cues.

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