iHeartRadio introduces ‘Talk Back,’ a service for leaving voice messages for programme presenters

To make radio and podcasts more participatory, iHeartRadio today launched Talk Back, a new tool that allows listeners to contribute straight from the iHeartRadio mobile app. Listeners can provide comments or answer questions by recording a 30-second audio message. Talk Back is connected with the proprietary iHeartRadio CMS (content management system), so the voice recordings are accessible to use, live on air, within around 10 seconds after transmitting.

There are two methods to access the new Talk Back function in the current iHeartRadio app. The red microphone button appears on the programme or podcast full-screen player page, and a Talk Back button appears on the station or podcast profile page.

After pressing the button, a countdown timer appears to let consumers know the recording is about to begin. The 30-second limit is supposed to keep recordings short, although users can send additional messages. However, if the system is misused, the host can prohibit users on their end, while the in-app functionality may still work.

You may playback the message after recording it. You may also re-record if you don’t like your recording.

On-air postings may ask users to identify themselves when leaving a recording, but nothing in the service necessitates it. iHeartRadio users are identified by their user ID, which is linked to their email address and general location. In certain circumstances, the corporation may also have the user’s complete name and mobile phone number if they have previously used services like competitions that need this information.

That is, the new technology should not be used for online bullying or harassment.

Talk Back has been in active development since Q3 2021, when Spotify released its own interactive podcast capabilities, including polls and Q&As, to those who use its Anchor podcast creation platform to produce and distribute their shows. The technology from iHeartRadio isn’t only for podcasters; it’s also for on-air talent who want to make their radio shows more engaging.

The service will be made accessible to all iHeartMedia owned and managed broadcast stations starting today, and to interested iHeartRadio podcasters in early April.

Williams says the iHeartRadio DJs and podcast hosts came up with the idea for Talk Back early last year. The on-air talent liked getting texts and social media posts, but they also wanted to be heard.

“It sustains us. “We want the audience to get involved,” Williams says. It will help drive the discourse and widen the voices heard on television.

In the long run, iHeartRadio thinks the tool will help them recruit and keep more publishers. In the future, the capability may be made available to all users, not just iHeartRadio’s owned-and-operated broadcasters and over 750 original podcast programmes.

“We not only distribute 500,000 additional podcasts, but also 3,000 non-owned and managed broadcast stations ranging from NPR to Cumulus to Cox,” Williams explains. “We’re open to a gradual rollout and eventually opening it to third-party broadcasters and podcast publishers.”

This wouldn’t stop the hosts from distributing their shows and podcasts elsewhere, but it would encourage more people to download the iHeartRadio app and submit notes to the hosts.

Despite being overlooked in discussions regarding podcast streaming services, iHeartRadio still maintains a large listening following. Listeners spend roughly 30 minutes each day listening to broadcast radio across all platforms, according to Nielsen. The iHeartRadio app has approximately 150 million registered users on mobile, and according to Podtrac, it has over 30.3 million monthly listeners.