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iHeartRadio’s Talkback Feature Launches For Podcasts.

Two months after iHeartMedia began giving listeners a way to send recorded messages to air personalities at its 850 radio stations, the company has beta-launched the feature for podcasters. Dozens of podcasts on the iHeartRadio app will now be reachable from listeners who will be able to instantly send a message and connect with their favorite hosts with the touch of a button.

In development since third quarter 2021, the Talkback feature lets users participate in conversations. Listeners can simply tap to record when they have something to say, and when they’re done, tap again to send. The app will then send the voice recording directly to the podcast hosts and teams to listen to and utilize for their show.

“We’ve seen such a positive response to Talkback on our radio stations, and we’re absolutely thrilled to be diving into the podcasting space with this new feature,” said Chris Williams, iHeartRadio Chief Product Officer. “Talkback will not only make podcast listeners feel more connected and engaged, but also help podcast hosts understand what topics their listeners are really interested in, and shape their shows moving forward,” he said in a statement.

The beta launch goes live with two dozen podcasts that have opted-in to use the Talkback feature. They include --

Listeners are limited to 30-second messages but can send multiple messages and preview them before hitting send. Hosts can block users who abuse the feature. And while on-air promos encourage Talkback participants to introduce themselves by name, it is not required.

The iHeart app includes plenty of podcasts not produced by the company, and executives have said they are looking to a phased-in rollout that would open up the feature to other podcasts that distribute their shows on the iHeart app. While these shows would still be available on other platforms, having the ability to participate in the program by sending messages could make listening to them on the iHeart app more attractive to some listeners.

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