Some radio groups are angling to capture a bigger slice of local online listening with their own dedicated apps geared to a specific market or region. It’s not just in the big cities either. Two new apps have debuted – one in Washington, DC and the other in Boise, ID.
Iliad Media Group has just launched its new app called Listen Boise. After what the company says was nearly a year of technical development, the podcast and streaming app will feature national podcasts, but it puts locally produced content front and center.
“We are planning for the time when the radio moves from the dashboard to the back seat as autonomous driving solidifies,” says Darrell Calton, CEO of Iliad Media Group.
The app also includes what Iliad says will be interactive podcasts that allow listeners to lean-in and interact with their favorite creators and shows with interactive “tags” similar to “stories” on various social media platforms. Tags can include pictures, links, poll questions, geo-locations, "buy now" storefronts, and more. All while the podcast plays in the background. And in tune with the local flavor, it will also feature trending stories in Boise and blog posts from local curators.
Calton said just like the big streaming aggregators such as iHeartRadio, Radio.com and TuneIn, Listen Boise will offer the ability to listen to or subscribe to a podcast. What the big platforms cannot do, he says, is provide the interactive content they have developed.
“When we originate from ours, we can bring visual to the audio. We have a unique to broadcasting platform that allows us to score the audio with that type of content when used from the player or website. Think podcast endorsements on steroids. Audio, logo, ‘buy now’ links, pictures of the products or topics,” said Calton. “We are planning for the time when the radio moves from the dashboard to the back seat as autonomous driving solidifies.”
The app also features live streams of Iliad’s radio brands in the Boise market, which include oldies “Kool FM” KKOO (1260), country “101.9 The Bull” KQBL, adult hits “96.1 Bob FM” KSRV-FM, rhythmic CHR “Wild 101.1” KWYD, and hot AC “My 102.7” KZMG. Calton points out when it comes to ratings or monetization, the reality is that only the listeners who listen online from within the Boise area are of any benefit to the broadcaster.
Targeting Inside The Beltway Listeners
Meanwhile in Washington, Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP-FM (103.5) has launched a new podcast app to showcase the station’s growing portfolio of shows as well as other podcasts that feature voices, topics and stories that are rooted in the city. Hubbard Radio says the goal of the app is to give Washingtonians, and people who want to stay connected to D.C., an easy place to find local content.
“It’s easy to understand how local can get lost,” Hubbard Radio’s VP of Digital Strategy Jeremy Sinon said. “If your main source of discovery for podcasts is one of the big podcast apps, you would have a hard time knowing that local content even exists. We’re trying to solve that problem by giving Washingtonians an app that is dedicated to serving them audio that caters to their local interests.”
The PodcastDC app will still require some searching, however. Hubbard says users will see hundreds of podcast offerings covering local sports across the region, including podcasts from Washington radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, businesses, and universities, among others.
Marketing strategist Elly Rowe, who hosts the WTOP-produced Women-Owned Wednesday By Elly Jane podcast hopes the new app will help her show stand out more on a local level. “PodcastDC creates an excellent opportunity to help highlight independent D.C. podcasters with content that is not only relevant to local listeners but also deserves more national attention,” said Rowe.
PodcastDC will also offer rewards aimed at supporting local businesses for listeners on the app. “Our prizes will always support the D.C. based businesses that are an integral part of our community,” said WTOP’s Director of News and Programming Julia Ziegler. “This gives us the ability to not only incentivize listeners to listen local, but gives our great local partners ways to participate and put their product in front of local consumers.”