Seeking to raise its profile even further in the fast-moving world of podcasting, iHeartMedia has added an event to its 2019 roster. The inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will be held Jan. 18 in Los Angeles, the media company announced.
“The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will provide a forum to celebrate the high-caliber, creative content that has made podcasting a major new audio category — and that truly reflects America’s favorite podcasts, voted by the listeners themselves,” said iHeartMedia Podcast Division President Conal Byrne.
The announcement says that podcasting in now more than a “major new audio category” — podcasts now have twice the reach of satellite radio, and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network has seen a nearly 200% year-over-year growth in listening since 2017.
According to iHeart, the awards show is the first of its kind for the podcast world. It will be streamed live for 90 minutes and be held in front of a live audience at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles. Plus, 17 of the 22 categories will be decided by listener votes (online and via Instagram and Twitter now through Jan. 6).
Nominees are not limited to the iHeart podcast ecosystem, which includes the recently acquired Stuff Media. For example, Podcast of the Year nominees are “Atlanta Monster” (Tenderfoot TV/ Stuff Media) “Dirty John” (Wondery/Los Angeles Times), “Hardcore History,” “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “Radiolab” (WNYC Studios), “Serial” (WBEZ Chicago/This American Life) “Slow Burn” (Slate Plus) “Stuff You Should Know” (Stuff Media), “The Daily” (The New York Times) and “The Habitat” (Gimlet Media).
The winners in five categories — Podcast of the Year, Breakout Podcast, Best Branded Podcast, Best Social Impact from Podcast/Host and Podcast Innovator Award — will be decided by “industry creatives and experts,” according to iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.
The panel consists of Marc Smerling (“Crimetown”); Jake Brennan (“Disgraceland”); Gimlet’s Alex Blumberg; iHeartMedia’s Conal Byrne and Chris Peterson; Aaron Mahnke (“Lore”); NPR’s Anya Grundmann; Parcast’s Max Cutler; Pocket Casts’ Owen Grover; PRX’s Maggie Taylor; Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark (“Stuff You Should Know”); Holly Frey (“Stuff You Missed in History Class”); Tenderfoot TV’s Donald Albright and Payne Lindsay; Unqualified Media’s Sim Sarna; and Wondery’s Hernan Lopez.
Some of the judges will also serve as presenters alongside radio/podcast personalities Charlamagne Tha God and Bobby Bones. Mario Lopez will also host the live stream.