Pittman wants to make advertisers and younger listeners interested in radio again

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 12:05pm

The Wall Street Journal profiles Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, who's taken on the task of making radio "cool again."

"Mr. Pittman sees his challenge as shaking off radio's fusty image and winning back advertisers who left for other media," writes The Journal.

Naturally, for the executive largely credited with Clear Channel's iHeartRadio initiative, "another challenge is locking in a new generation."

The Journal writes, "Building a digital footprint is crucial. Digital commands just 4% of radio advertising but it is fast growing. Mr. Pittman's plan is to make Clear Channel's stations available free on as many platforms as possible. Clear Channel ranks second among domestic online audio networks, according to Triton Digital, but it is dwarfed by Pandora, albeit in a slightly different business. (Pandora offers a personalized music service, a feature Clear Channel added just last year.)"

Find The Wall Street Journal's Pittman piece online here.

RAIN arrives in Dallas for tomorrow's RAIN Summit event

Monday, September 17, 2012 - 9:00am

We're expecting our largest crowd ever for a RAIN Summit fall event (nearly the size of our spring Vegas gathering), and we're very excited for what tomorrow has in store.

On the eve of the Summit (and, of course, the RAB NAB Radio Show), one topic in particular that's buzzing in Internet radio is (once again!) royalties.

For its Radio Show issue, Inside Radio spoke with Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, and touched upon the royalty topic. He told the news source that the existing rate-setting structure for online radio royalties simply will not allow streaming to succeed, "and that’s not good for the music business either." Since Clear Channel's historic deal with Big Machine Records (which pays the label royalties for streaming and on-air, see RAIN here) Pittman says his company continues to have discussions with music business interests, "because I think we're all interested in a long-term sustainable relationship." Read more in Inside Radio here

Illustrative of the challenge that'll likely be, SoundExchange this month (here) took positions on two proposed federal bills that won't likely do much for Pittman's mood. SoundExchange criticizes Congressman Jason Chaffetz's (R-UT) "Internet Radio Fairness Act" (here), instead supporting Rep. Jerrold Nadler's (D-NY) "Interim FIRST Act" (read more here).

Even the blockbuster news of the possibility of Apple becoming on online radio player (which we'll certainly be discussing tomorrow) has a royalty facet. Billboard reports (here) that while Apple's reported talks with labels don't yet concern special rates and waivers to content restrictions, bargaining along those lines isn't far off. "Sources say the labels are willing to accommodate some compulsory license waivers... but they want to make sure that whatever waivers Apple receives can also be rolled out to other custom Web radio operators," says Billboard. "Also, they want to ensure that the deals aren't viewed by the Copyright Royalty Board as a market deal to be incorporated into the next set of CRB rate settings."

There's so much interesting ground to cover, we hope you'll join us!

There's so much interesting ground to cover tomorrow afternoon, and we certainly hope you're able to join us. All the info you need is on our RAIN Summit Dallas page here. We'll get underway just past noon with introductory comments from Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo. RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson will give his "State of the Industry" address at 2:20. At 4:30 our keynote speaker, Clear Channel President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships Tim Castelli takes the podium. At 5:35 we'll present the Triton RAINmaker and RAIN Internet Radio Awards, and then head to the Verandah Shelbourne Room for the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

Our plan is to publish an issue early tomorrow, then follow up with brief Summit coverage on Wednesday, and full coverage of the event in the following days. We also plan to make recorded audio of RAIN Summit panels available online in the coming days. If you'd like to follow along (whether you'll be in the room or not), use the Twitter hashtag #RAINSummit, and follow us @RAINTwitter and @RAINSummits.

Clear Channel's Pittman joins board of Parker/Fanning video start-up Airtime

Friday, June 1, 2012 - 11:35am

Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have recruited Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman to serve on the board of their start-up Airtime, a live video platform for meeting new people.

Parker, who was Facebook's first president and is an investor in Spotify, told AllThingsDigital, (Pittman is) "the only media mogul who’s genuinely an entrepreneur." Pittman, who rode the success of Clear Channel's iHeartRadio initiative to the CEO post last year, returned the compliment: "Sean and Shawn have a unique ability to see opportunities in the consumer internet and create services that fundamentally change our culture."

Read more in AllThingsDigital here.

Clear Channel CEO Pittman discusses radio, mobile, and social media with AllThingsDigital

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 11:25am

AllThingsDigital's Kara Swisher interviewed Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman last week at D: Dive Into Media. You can see video of the entire half-hour video here.

When talking about Internet radio and iHeartRadio, Pittman mostly stuck to his official stances ("radio" and Pandora are two very different things, personalized streaming is simply a "feature" of iHeartRadio, not a focus, etc.). He did make a few interesting, though perhaps not entirely surprising, points:

  • Most of listening via the iHeartRadio app is to streams of broadcast stations, not the personalized radio.
  • Likewise, by far the most listening to station streams is via the radio stations' websites, not the app.
  • Pittman likened Pandora more to Spotify and iTunes as "music collections" and even "retailing," and though Clear Channel offers personalized streaming, stressed that this is "not what we do... it doesn't play to our core strengths." He also hit on the difficulty the company has had with consumer acceptance of advertising on personalized streams.
  • Finally, Pittman did stress the importance of making their franchises available "wherever our listeners are," and that's the value of iHeartRadio as an aggregator.

Again, see the interview here.

10/3: Pittman named new Clear Channel CEO

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Bob Pittman has been named CEO of CC Media Holdings -- Clear Channel's parent company -- effective immediately. The company told RAIN the appointment is an endorsement of Pittman's digital initiatives, including building out web radio platform iHeartRadio. (read more here)

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