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iHeartMedia to Acquire Podcast Giant Stuff Media, Home of 'Atlanta Monster' and 'Stuff You Should Know'

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iHeartMedia has entered into an agreement to acquire Stuff Media, the pioneering podcast network behind such programs as Stuff You Should Know, Atlanta Monster and Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The purchase, for a reported $55 million, would nearly double iHeart's usage metrics and increase its position as the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher globally.

In Stuff Media, iHeart will soon be able to leverage a decade's worth of podcasts from one of the nation's largest podcast publishers, which boasts more than 61 million global streams and downloads per month. The acquisition would bring with it Stuff Media's experienced podcasting management team as well, including president and CEO Conal Byrne, who will join iHeartMedia as head of its podcast division.

Stuff Media's branding will stay the same and remain headquartered in Atlanta, the companies said. Billboard has confirmed that the acquisition does not include the 20-year-old HowStuffWorks reference website that spawned Stuff Media, which also includes veteran programs like Stuff You Missed in History Class, TechStuff and BrainStuff, as well as Ridiculous History, FoodStuff, Stuff Mom Never Told You and Stuff They Don't Want You to Know. Stuff You Should Know co-host Chuck Bryant -- who doubles as head of development at the network -- launched a movie interview show, Movie Crush, late last year.

"While podcasting has already experienced tremendous growth, the real opportunity to bring the full potential of podcasts to the mainstream still lies ahead," said Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. "Stuff Media is the original trailblazer of the podcasting industry, and we’ve been impressed by its ability to grow a massive, loyal audience over the past decade, led by a strong, experienced and cohesive management team, who we welcome to iHeartMedia."

Pittman added, "This strategic acquisition will pair Stuff Media’s wildly popular content and strong creative capabilities with iHeartMedia’s extensive resources and massive scale through our digital platforms, social reach and broadcast radio stations, introducing podcasts to the vast majority of the country and offering even more unique opportunities for advertisers to reach their consumers."

iHeart currently has two podcasts in the top 20 overall on Apple Podcasts, Sleuth (No. 12) and Spit (No. 16).

Byrne said that combining Stuff Media's assets with iHeart's industry-leading publishing platform "gives us the unassailable position in the podcasting business and a platform like no one else.  No company in the world has iHeart’s audience size and innovative drive, and coupled with the creative engine of Stuff Media, this is a game changer for podcast storytellers and advertisers alike, and I’m honored to be leading this effort."

Given that iHeartMedia is in the middle of a Chapter 11 process, their proposed acquisition of Stuff Media is subject to bankruptcy court approval.