Novartis and iHeartRadio are mixing music and informational podcasts on a new on-demand streaming radio station created for the multiple sclerosis community.
The free "MS Vibes" channel, featuring music curated for the community, debuted last month, with the first podcast series planned for December. That series, “MS Journeys,” will launch with radio personality Skeery Jones from “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” and patient advocate Kate Milliken as hosts.
Novartis decided to team up with iHeart on the first-of-its-kind audio streaming station with several goals in mind.
"We could engage the MS community focused on popular music, creating a sense of community but also provide educational content, and other relatable topics to people living with MS,” Leverne Marsh, Novartis’ VP and head of the neuroscience franchise in the U.S., said.
Each month, Jones or Milliken will interview various people in the MS community—from people living with the condition to healthcare providers—with the goal of informing, inspiring and entertaining.
While Jones does not have MS, it's had an impact on his life. Growing up, he watched his uncle suffer from the disease. Jones' girlfriend also has MS, although she displays milder symptoms. He acknowledges that much of MS is a mystery to him and plans to use the platform to educate himself as well.
“My goal is to learn as much as I can about this. There are so many misconceptions,” he said, adding that he wants "to bring what I learned and be kind of like this enthusiastic cheerleader to get as much information out in a positive way."
The 30-minute MS Journeys episodes will premier on the third Thursday each month at 7 p.m. So far, 12 months of shows are planned, with each one available on-demand on the app after airing.
Novartis' MS drugs include Gilenya, Mayzent and the newly approved Kesimpta. Kesimpta, which is already approved as Arzerra in leukemia, targets CD20-expressing B cells and was approved in August to treat relapsing forms of MS. Its enters a competitive MS market that includes Sanofi’s Aubagio and Roche’s Ocrevus.