Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio isn’t as big as Pandora yet, but it’s making inroads in the personal radio market with 30m users registered for its Custom Stations feature – compared to Pandora’s 70m active users and 200m registered users. Now iHeartRadio is opening up a new area for competition: talk radio. It’s launching a feature called ‘audiosodes’, drawn from broadcasters like ABC as well as websites like Huffington Post, Mashable and Wall Street Journal. Audiosodes will be played much like music tracks, with users able to give them the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to indicate their preferences. Clear Channel says it’s partly an attempt to cater for talk-radio fans – the category accounts for 16% of all listening on its traditional radio stations – as well as to attract more advertisers. “It’s a terrific environment for advertisers,” Clear Channel’s John Hogan tells AdAge. “Product can be weaved into a show, making it less like a commercial, and more like testimonials from hosts they trust.” Clear Channel is also working with startup Spreaker on a way for users to record their own talk-radio content for distribution on iHeartRadio.

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