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True Crime 24/7 Radio Format In The Works At iHeart.

True Crime is such a hot property on podcasting that iHeartMedia is planning to leverage its vast portfolio of shows and launch a new 24-hour radio network dedicated to the genre not unlike what some cable television networks have done. Chief Programming Officer Tom Poleman tells Axios that the radio giant sees an opportunity to take the success of some of its biggest podcasts and use them to build radio networks. No launch date for the True Crime network has been announced.

It is not the first time that iHeart has looked to podcasts for programming. It earlier tested all podcast-formatted stations that relied on a variety of different shows and genres. The stations – two AMs in Albuquerque and Allentown-Bethlehem, PA, and an FM in Erie, PA– failed to catch on with listeners, however.

The connection between radio and podcasting has propelled iHeart to the head of Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the biggest publishers for more than two years. And Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group, says that more than half of the downloads iHeart gets each month are on-demand versions of radio shows. "You cannot underestimate the extent to which the entire podcast industry owes its existence not entirely, but in large part, to broadcast radio talent and shows," Byrne told Axios.

That is also creating new opportunities for some of iHeart’s biggest talent. Nationally syndicated morning radio personality Elvis Duran launched his own podcast network in partnership with iHeartMedia in June. The new network will also be the home of the replay podcast of “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” which is syndicated by iHeart’s Premiere Networks to 70 stations nationwide and reaches more than five million monthly listeners. Duran, who is based at iHeartMedia CHR “Z-100” WHTZ New York, sees the venture as a way to connect with more listeners and fans.

There are also cross-platform promotional opportunities. Media Monitors data released Monday shows iHeartMedia continues to leverage its radio platform to promote its podcasts. The Idaho Massacre, which is distributed by iHeartPodcasts, makes its debut at No. 5 among all national advertisers with 34,213 spots aired last week on radio stations tracked by Media Monitors. The podcast debuted Aug. 9 and is publishing new episodes each Wednesday.

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