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iHeartMedia heard a need and delivers with creation of first podcast awards

<p class="text-align-right"><em>Image from Business Wire</em>&nbsp;</p>

Image from Business Wire 

The podcasting industry will reach new media recognition when iHeartMedia hosts its inaugural Podcast Awards on January 18 at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.

The ceremony is set to last around an hour and a half with The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne Tha God, Stuff You Missed in History Class co-host Holly Frey, and country radio personality Bobby Bones all hosting the live awards program. President of iHeartMedia’s podcasting division, Conal Byrne said the show will, “provide a forum to celebrate high-caliber, creative content that has made podcasting a major new audio category.”

Listeners even have a chance to influence the outcome of many award winners as well. Much like the E! People’s Choice Awards, fans can vote for their favorite acts in 17 out of the 22 categories that are up for grabs. The remaining five categories – Podcast of the Year, Breakout Podcast, Best Branded Podcast, Best Social Impact from Podcast/Host, and the Podcast Innovator Award – will have winners selected by a panel of podcast industry figures. “We are delighted to use our expertise with events and awards shows to build the first major industry awards show for podcasts,” stated iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.

News Director of Indiana Public Radio and Ball State Telecommunications lecturer Terry Heifetz commented on the impact of the new award show. “Podcasts may still be a niche, but they are growing, and growing fast…while the number is still not huge, it has gone up a lot,” said. The threat looms then of the possibility of podcasting garnering a fanbase so large that traditional radio may be falling by the wayside. With that speculation in mind, Heifetz said, “While podcasting has gone up, traditional radio is still huge…research shows that radio listening is down.  But it’s not down by a lot. One reason, radio is still live… while a podcast must be downloaded.”

That doesn’t mean radio is bulletproof though. Advancements in live streaming platforms such as Pandora and others which follow a typical model of radio broadcast programming have become very popular. At the end of the day, the majority of Americans are still listening to and are affected by radio programming. The end of modern-day radio broadcasting may come, but according to Heifetz, “I don’t think it’s anytime in the near future.” Which still leaves enough room for future personalities to get their deserved recognition.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Image: Business Wire