Bob Pittman explains radio to the LA Times


People in radio have heard it before, but an interview with the Los Angeles Times gave Bob Pittman an opportunity to tell a more general audience how radio in general – and Clear Channel in particular – are embracing the new world of digital media. And he got in a few more digs at Internet streamers like Pandora and Slacker.

“Pandora is not really radio in that it’s not curated,” Pittman explained, repeating his mantra that the online music service is more like an iPod on shuffle than a radio station. And he noted the lack of local information or personalities, which are the strengths of radio.

Pittman attacked the perception by some that radio is in trouble, since it continues to reach 93% of the US population. Clear Channel, where Pittman is now Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms, reaches 237 million listeners each month, he explained – and that’s just over the air, not even including the company’s online listeners.

Known as “The Father of MTV,” Pittman knows something about media startups. Asked by the LA Times what it would take to make money online, the media executive said advertisers are slow to move, but will come over time. Pittman noted that Coca Cola didn’t advertise on MTV for the first five years it existed and that advertisers were also slow to embrace AOL, where he served as President.

Click here to read the brief LA Times interview.

RBR-TVBR observation: Even as it prepares for its hotly-anticipated IPO, Bob Pittman is questioning whether Pandora “can be a free-standing business model.” We’ve noted in the past that Pandora owns absolutely none of the content it distributes – and that didn’t change with this week’s first move into talk programming, which is bits from comedy albums.

More reading from the RBR-TVBR archives:

Bob Pittman spells out why Pandora is not radio

Bob Pittman downplays Pandora threat, touts radio brands

Bob Pittman looks to the future