Bob Pittman downplays Pandora threat, touts radio brands


In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Bob Pittman was enthusiastic about his new role as Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms for Clear Channel Communications. He insisted that consumers don’t care about the platform, so long as they get the radio content they want, so Clear Channel is in a good position with its established brands.

“We’ve got these great powerful brands, so our strategy is that we should be wherever our listeners are, with the features and the products they expect,” Pittman said, and he praised efforts by Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan and his staff to move the company onto new platforms.

Asked about the threat of Pandora, Pittman noted that all Internet radio services currently account for only about 4% of listening. But as it grows he wants to be sure that Clear Channel is equipped to take advantage of that platform and grow a new segment of its business. “It appears that right now that it is additive, that it’s not that people are leaving terrestrial to go to this,” he said. “So guess what? They listen to more radio.”

Looking to the future, Pittman said consumers are blind to the distinctions between AM radio, FM radio, satellite radio and Internet radio. “The consumers want something, and they get it,” he said. “What we do know is that consumers develop brand loyalty to everything,” Pittman said, and he noted that Google, for all its success, still has fewer monthly users than Clear Channel Radio has listeners.

Click here to view the Bloomberg interview.

RBR-TVBR observation: Did you like the anchor’s reference to Pittman putting his own $5 million into “a big bet on a struggling industry”? No doubt she knows a lot more about investing in media ventures than a self-made media mogul. Yeah, right!

Exclusive – RBR-TVBR spoke w/ Bob Pittman before he joined Clear Channel this year. Remember: Pittman doesn’t do anything without three plans of attack for his advantage. Listen on where he sees the radio business heading. RBR-TVBR’s 5 part audio interview worth a listen.

Part 1: Bob Pittman is bullish on broadcasting

Part 2: Pittman says broadband won’t replace broadcasting

Part 3: Pittman on the differing roles of broadcast and Internet

Part 4: Bob Pittman on radio and on radio/TV station values

Part 5: Bob Pittman looks to the future (audio)