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iHeart Hails “Virtual Reality for the Ears”

Company launches a big 3D audio effort for binaural podcasting

iHeartRadio has launched a big 3D audio effort and announced a “strategic expansion into binaural podcasting.”

It promises to put listeners “into the middle of an audio soundscape, immersing them in the story like never before.”

It released this audio sample to promote it. “Put your headphones on,” it states.

The company plans to introduce a slate of podcasts using this technique.

“Binaural, or 3D audio, creates a sense of movement, location and triggers other senses,” the company wrote in its announcement, “enhancing listening experiences and providing a new way for people to hear high quality, surround sound, immersive content, and reproducing real-life experiences, much like virtual reality has done for video, right in their own homes.”

The announcement was made by Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network. Byrne was quoted describing the technology as “virtual reality for the ears,” a more immersive way of listening.

It said its binaural audio series “13 Days of Halloween,” produced with Blumhouse Television, drew 2.8 million listeners and that it will expand the franchise to other holidays.

“The new iHeart 3D Audio slate will also include the upcoming podcast ‘The Mantawauk Caves,’ a co-production with Blumhouse Television, as well as a series of bonus 3D episodes across the year for hit shows like ‘The Ron Burgundy Podcast,’” it stated.

A company spokeswoman wrote in the announcement, “The tech has been wildly underused in podcasting, and the move makes iHeart the first company to carve out a substantial stake in the space.”