Bob Pittman Looks To Make Radio 'Cool Again'
October 15, 2012 at 4:53 AM (PT)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL profiles CLEAR CHANNEL CEO BOB PITTMAN in an article in which he explains how and why he wants to make radio "cool again." Writes THE JOURNAL, "It is a challenge unlike anything else he has taken on. Whereas his involvement with both MTV and AOL occurred when they were fresh and new, Radio is one of the oldest of old media. Its future was bleak even before the Internet and satellite radio came along, but now traditional radio faces an array of digital competitors in streaming music services, from PANDORA to SPOTIFY."
The article notes that PITTMAN's job is hampered by the slow growth of radio advertising, which "grew just 1% to $17.4 billion in 2011, according to the RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU," and by the mountain of debt hanging over the company. "To make life even tougher, CLEAR CHANNEL is laboring under $20 billion of debt, a legacy of a 2008 leveraged buyout arranged right before that year's financial crisis. The company reported $4 billion in losses for each of 2008 and 2009 due to onerous impairment charges. By 2011, the outlook improved but the company was still in the red to the tune of $302 million."
"BOB's drawn to the challenge of a turnaround and working on something that most people think is doomed," said former MTV Chief TOM FRESTON, to the paper.
Check out the full article here [subscription required].