IAB Leadership Meeting: Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman
Clear Channel Entertainment CEO Bob Pittman, speaking today at IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, said that radio has been able to leverage its undiminished strength with digital providing a new channel and new listeners for the medium.
Pittman, a legendary industry figure who was one of the early leaders at MTV and then a leader at Six Flags over America, Century 21, AOL and Time Warner (and a BIA/Kelsey keynoter at ILM 2011), noted that “digital was the obvious way to go” for reinforcing Clear Channel’s value when he took the company’s helm a few years ago. “My entire career since the early 1970s has been about trying to find new ways to connect to the home,” he said. “But now we have reversed it,” with the latest trends — driven by mobile — about doubling or even tripling out-of-home usage.
While digital is a great enabler, it is still not the centerpiece of marketing, Pittman stressed. “You want a product strategy.” With Clear Channel, his team has built out “I Heart Radio” with an annual, in person concert that leverages the company’s relationships with on air talent and musical artists. The concert is now the anchor of the company’s marketing, and has helped raise awareness of the digital channel to 70 percent (along with what Pittman described as millions of dollars worth of on air advertising).