Current company: Clear Channel Media and Entertainment
Position: Chairman and CEO
Location: New York
Place of Birth: Chicago
Date of Birth: 10.15.56
Personal info: Nancy – Wife, Makenzi – Daughter
College: Lake Forest College
Favorite band or artist: Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits, Springsteen, Van Morrison and Adele
Favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life
Favorite books: Favorite authors – David McCullough, Robert Crais and John Locke
Sports Team Preferences: Spurs, Bears and Boston Bruins
Hobbies/Passions: Tennis, reading, traveling and family
Causes/Charities: ALR and Susan G. Komen
1. How did you get started in the business?
I started as an account executive in Atlanta in 1981 at WGST and WPCH. I had always listened to and loved news radio, so working for WGST was a perfect fit.
2. How is it looking for 2013 for radio in general and Clear Channel in particular?
2013 looks incredibly promising for CCM+E! We’ve recently launched a number of new initiatives for our local sales organizations; we continue to invest in and grow our iHeartRadio app; and we continue to make great progress in developing partnerships with large national advertisers, while expanding our ability to deliver results for local advertisers. CCM+E is moving forward at a very fast pace. We have a lot of opportunities as we move beyond “just” radio and our challenge is…how to get to them all.
3. What is the revenue model with iHeart? Are you making money yet with it?
We look at digital as an opportunity…another way for consumers to access our brands as well as a custom music experience. The iHeartRadio digital platform brings incremental listening to Clear Channel’s 243 million monthly listeners, the largest audience of any media outlet in the U.S. Digital is just one way our listeners can reach our radio stations. Our strategy is to be where our listeners are with the products and services they expect. Even with the great success of iHR, digital in only 2% of our listening – and because digital across all the players only represents about 6% of total radio listening, the game is just beginning.
Near-term, our advertising strategy for iHeartRadio is tied to our live stations. We have a healthy business on that front with streaming and display ad opportunities. When we meet with advertisers, we have a real competitive advantage that no one else can match: we have the ability to work with them on a plethora of offerings with the power to immerse consumers in a unique way — including on-air, online, through social media, contests and promotions, personality endorsements, online or on-air commerce, events like the massive national iHeartRadio Music Festival and our local Jingle Balls across the country, etc.
4. What are the next steps in the Big Machine-style agreements? Any chance of a blanket deal with a major recording company for all their labels, or is it going to be more of a label-by-label process?
We know a healthy, growing music industry is good for artists, labels, management and CCM+E…and digital is an important part of that. An environment where we can grow digital and use it to help artists reach more consumers is good for all and we need a business model in which all interests are aligned. We are excited about the deals with labels such as Big Machine and we will continue to work on others.
5. Is Clear Channel planning to enter the station trading market in 2013 as a buyer, seller or both?
We continue to be both…a buyer and seller. We have stations in the Aloha Trust that we are marketing for sale and just this past year we bought WFNX and WOR. We have such an expansive platform that we are much more strategic, and look to fill in where we can to complement our portfolio.
6. Operationally, how much latitude do local market managers have in running stations and clusters – or in other words, is their a corporate framework in which they operate, and where are the lines drawn between national guidelines and local control?
Our market presidents and their teams are extremely important in “running” markets, but we think of our operational approach as a partnership between markets and our corporate teams. Because of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s size and unmatched resources, it’s a terrific advantage for us to leverage the talent, programming, technology and best practices and assets throughout our organization, where we see fit. We rely on our managers to know their markets, their listeners, the community and the advertisers and to use any or all of the resources we have available as a company to best serve those constituencies.