Walliams, HarperCollins and talkRADIO launch The Story Hour

Walliams, HarperCollins and talkRADIO launch The Story Hour

HarperCollins has partnered with talkRADIO to bring “A Summer of Walliams” to the airwaves from this Sunday 18th June.

"The Story Hour" on talkRADIO in association with HarperCollins Children’s Books will run from 3pm-4pm every Sunday, with the aim of airing the best children’s audiobooks, targeting family audiences.

Walliams will kick off the programme with three readings from The World’s Worst Children followed by three readings the following week from the sequel, The World’s Worst Children 2, which has been the UK Official Top 50 number one spot three weeks in a row . The series will continue over the summer with audio versions of Mr Stink and Demon Dentist with “bespoke introductions” from Walliams for each episode. From September, the programme will feature stories from other HarperCollins Children’s Books authors.

HarperCollins and talkRADIO share the same parent company; the latter is owned by the Wireless Group which was bought by News Corp last year.

HarperCollins' brand director Jen Callahan-Packer said the move follows data revealing that more people are listening to books. The value of audiobook downloads to UK publishers increased by 28%, to £16m in 2016, according to the Publishers Association's Annual Yearbook, making the sector the fastest growing in the book industry.

The move complements HarperCollins UK's “Total Audio policy” , which means it releases an audiobook of every print narrative title on the same publication day as other formats -the only UK publisher to do this.

Callahan-Packer said: “At HarperCollins, our long-term commitment to Total Audio and making our author’s content available in audio format simultaneously with print editions has led the way, and we’re hugely excited by the potential of this innovative brand partnership with talkRADIO.”

Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher at HarperCollins Children’s Books, said: “We are thrilled to partner with talkRADIO. 'The Story Hour' offers us a fantastic opportunity to reach a new audience of parents and children listening to stories together – it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time as a family and a wonderful invitation to the joys of reading too.”

She added: “We hope that 'The Story Hour' will become a regular weekend favourite and what better present for dads on Father’s Day than to join in with their children’s laughter as they listen to David’s hilarious stories.”

Dennie Morris, managing editor at talkRADIO, said: "'The Story Hour' is a fantastic new addition to our programme schedule, and we are delighted to be working with both HarperCollins Children’s Books and David Walliams. David’s recognisable voice and personality will help us reach new audiences and this will be a perfect way for us to start #loveaudio week."

In April The Bookseller reported on how publishers are responding to the surge in audiobook downloads by investing more in the sector, hiring new staff, upping the number of titles they publish and exploring audio-first opportunities.

Talkradio is a national talk radio station launched in March last year.