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Readings Of Lists And Catalogs Are Becoming Podcasts After IKEA's Success

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

IKEA, the Swedish retail company, launched its first podcast recently.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “THE IKEA AUDIO CATALOG”)

JASMIN RICHARDSON: You're listening to the "2021 IKEA Audio Catalogue," surrounding a very inviting white Songesand queen bed frame.

CHANG: It's a simple, handy and hands-free version of IKEA's big printed catalogue, perfect for a road trip. It's four hours long. But as Karen Zamora from member station KAFJ discovered, IKEA was a little late to the party.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “COMBINE NATION”)

SEAN BELLEVILLE: You're listening to "Combine Nation" (ph), your weekly agricultural machinery marketplace update.

KAREN ZAMORA, BYLINE: In Collinsville, Ill., podcasters Sean Belleville and Maura Marrison host a podcast rooted in the area's rich farming history.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “COMBINE NATION”)

MORA MORRISON: This is for a 2018 Massey Ferguson AC25 bale accumulator and mover.

BELLEVILLE: It's a beaut.

MORRISON: The serial number is AGC...

ZAMORA: How did you two come up with this idea?

MORRISON: We were looking for something with really great cross-platform synergy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

MORRISON: ...MAC250GZBLR213. Its stock number is 17931.

BETSY MORGAN: Welcome to "Ingredients." I'm Betsy Morgan.

RUBEN TIDWHILLER: And I'm Ruben Tidwhiller.

MORGAN: Cheerios.

ZAMORA: "Ingredients" is a podcast that's meant to start your day.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “INGREDIENTS”)

MORGAN: A serving of cereal plus skim milk provides 2 grams of total fat.

ZAMORA: The hosts see the service as a trigger for ASMR, also known as autonomous sensory meridian responses.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “INGREDIENTS”)

MORGAN: 260 milligrams of sodium.

TIDWHILLER: 36 grams of total carbohydrates.

ZAMORA: Aren't you afraid listeners will fall asleep when they're listening to "Ingredients"?

MORGAN: We want them to fall asleep, actually.

TIDWHILLER: We tell them not to drive while they're listening to the podcast. That's important.

ZAMORA: And there's another podcast favorite in this genre.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “PODCAST”)

SIRHAN BROOKS: Welcome to the podcast "Podcast." I'm Sirhan Brooks (ph).

STELLA WINTERS: And I'm Stella Winters (ph).

BROOKS: Let's begin.

ZAMORA: If you enjoy all things meta, this one's for you - a podcast that rattles off the names of other podcasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “PODCAST”)

BROOKS: Planet Money.

WINTERS: "My Favorite Murderer" (ph).

BROOKS: "You're Wrong About That" (ph).

WINTERS: "Office Ladies."

BROOKS: "Slow Burn."

WINTERS: "Floodline" (ph).

BROOKS: "Binge Mode."

WINTERS: "Dr. Death."

BROOKS: "Armchair Expert."

ZAMORA: But the number one downloaded podcast in the country this week is "These American Names."

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “THESE AMERICAN NAMES”)

EUDORA ROBERTS: Act 2 - The Birmingham, Ala., Whitepages - June 1961.

MYRON PELLA: Hinkelman, Delbert - 664-94...

ZAMORA: Myron Pella and Eudora Roberts have perfected a simple concept.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “THESE AMERICAN NAMES”)

ROBERTS: Hinkle, Bob - 922-3412.

PELLA: Hinkley, Louis - 246-7347.

ZAMORA: Many are puzzled by the success of this type of podcast, but one expert knows the real reason these sort of non-storytelling podcasts work.

RANDY SHEPHERD: Music.

ZAMORA: Randy Shepherd - he thinks people in 2021 have had it with narrative and all the baggage that it carries. These new podcasts work because they use, what they call in the biz, scoring.

SHEPHERD: That adds emotion to the listings of the items. And I mean, you know, without scoring, what is there?

ZAMORA: He thinks that even traditional news suffers without the musical element.

SHEPHERD: Listeners today, they couldn't imagine Edward R. Murrow up on that rooftop reporting on the London Blitz if there wasn't some mood music. I mean, how are we supposed to know what we're supposed to feel?

ZAMORA: Meanwhile, the FCC says it has granted over 3,000 new podcast licenses in just the last month, with a backlog of hundreds more. I'm Karen Zamora for NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “THESE AMERICAN NAMES”)

ROBERTS: ...233-4578.

PELLA: Hersh, Albert (ph) - 264-5683

ROBERTS: Hire, William (ph) - 657-2167. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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