'Podvertising' is born as Virgin Radio launches podcast for Pete & Geoff show

LONDON - Virgin Radio has become the first commercial radio station to create a 'podcast', making highlights from the Pete & Geoff breakfast show, along with advertising, available on portable music players such as Apple's iPod.

The service will be free, thanks to the advertising, with a deal negotiated by OPera. COI Communications, with its Home Office police specials campaign, and online travel agent Expedia are the first two "podcast" advertisers.

The programme will be around 40 minutes long and should be available from about 10.30am each morning for listeners to play back whenever they want. Ads will appear at the beginning and in the outro, with short ads interspersed through the programme.

The highlights package will not feature news, weather nor the music that Pete and Geoff play on their show, only the pair's spoken links. This is because of the issue of copyright and illegally downloading full tracks.

To access the service, listeners must have an MP3 player and download software such as iPodder, and then subscribe to Pete & Geoff on the iPodder website.

Lee Roberts, sales director for Virgin Radio, said: "Podvertising is a new revenue channel and can target a specific audience with a personalised message. Radio stations have to adapt to the changing market and new platforms in order to create new revenue channels, we're proud to be the first with podvertising."

The BBC has already experimented with the podcast format, for Radio 4's 'In Our Time' and Radio Five Live's 'Fighting Talk'.

Virgin Radio says that it is planning to make other programmes available via the podcast service.

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