Many years ago John Sykes was on the original team with Bob Pittman that launched MTV. Sykes had already been consulting Clear Channel Communications, where Pittman became CEO last year, and now Sykes is coming on full time as President of a new division, Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises.
The company says Sykes will use the assets of Clear Channel in radio, outdoor and digital to develop new businesses across a range of media, including television and live events.
The announcement noted the wide range of Sykes’ resume: President of VH1, President of Network Development for MTV Networks, CEO of Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio), President of Champion Entertainment, President of Chrysalis Records and as an agent at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). He was also a core member of the original team that created MTV.
“John’s experience and relationships in so many sectors of the entertainment and media business make him the perfect choice to lead this new initiative,” said Pittman. “He has one of the most diverse entertainment careers — from being on the original team that created MTV to re-launching VH1, managing major music artists, running a significant radio group and even being a Hollywood agent — as well as a track record of working with talent and entertainment properties in innovative new ways. In this role, he’s perfectly positioned to create new assets and increased value for our advertisers and strategic partners, using both our unparalleled reach and the creativity of our people at the local, national and international levels.”
Sykes spent 21 years at MTV and Viacom. Since 2008 he has been affiliates with Pilot Group, Pittman’s private investment company. He became a consultant to Clear Channel last year and was involved in creating the first iHeartRadio Music Festival.
“Clear Channel has a unique relationship with our audiences, who have a deep loyalty to our brands and trust us to bring them innovative and creative media and entertainment experiences. I’m looking forward to working with the impressive teams across the company to tap Clear Channel’s unique marketing and promotional capabilities across a variety of media and platforms to serve our consumers, the music industry, advertisers and our key strategic partners in additional and meaningful ways,” said Sykes.
RBR-TVBR observation: Despite the brief and uneventful period he spent as the head of Infinity/CBS Radio, Sykes is a video guy through and through. With the barriers separating various types of media falling in the digital age, we would expect him to come up with innovative new ways for Clear Channel’s radio stations and iHeartRadio to use video – both for content and promotion.