"Radio you can read" is how Aidan McCullen, head of digital at Communicorp, describes Newstalk's new monthly iPad magazine, which debuted on the App Store this week after an 18-month development period.
"It is a first for Irish radio," says Newstalk station editor Garrett Harte of the free magazine, which incorporates audio clips, and was developed in-house at Denis O'Brien's media group Communicorp, which employs eight people in its digital department.
Harte says the company was looking for a platform to showcase “non-news” content produced by “backroom staff, researchers and journalists” at Newstalk.
The magazine ties in with a recent advertising campaign that was designed to highlight the variety on its schedule beyond current affairs. “We’ve tailored the magazine to deliver that kind of content,” says Harte.
The first edition includes an interview with Love/Hate actress Charlie Murphy by The Green Room presenter Orla Barry, a feature on religious leaders by Naomi Linehan (a researcher on the Seán Moncrieff show), and Futureproof presenter Jonathan McCrea on developments in heart surgery.
Vodafone, Samsung, Jaguar, Absolut, Danske Bank and Brown Thomas have all advertised in the first edition, and companies are charged on a per-ad basis (as they would be in a print magazine), rather than on an online cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) basis.
There have been some 50,000 downloads of Newstalk apps to date, and the company is targeting similar uptake of the magazine app. “We would have an ambition to do the magazine weekly,” says McCullen. “The idea is that you could read the whole magazine from over a cup of coffee.”
Communicorp is developing a Newstalk app and the Newstalk magazine for Windows. An Android version of the magazine will come later, and McCullen says the Android app for Newstalk itself “needs a new coat of paint”.