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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pittman: Facebook Is The New Request Line


Both Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman and CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason started their radio careers on the air spinning records. Today they run two of radio's largest companies. Both were on a panel called "From the Control Room to the Board Room" at the Radio Show. After hearing old airchecks from Pittman and Mason, dug up by the NAB's John David (who slipped in an old aircheck of his own), Pittman told the packed room that radio is a business where impatience pays off. "Urgency wins. It's better to do things sooner rather than later. We need to be trying new things. We're not going to beat technology, we need to figure out how to use it. Facebook is today's new request line."

Pittman says when he came into radio he was surprised at how much fighting for dollars inside the radio segment goes on and says other industries don't operate that way. "The TV guys stick together. When I was working at AOL, we all went and sold the Internet. We need to bring more money to this category. We have such a great product but we have not gotten our act together in telling the story." Pittman went on to say that the Nielsen/Catalina R.O.I. study that's been quoted so much this week is a step in the right direction. Pittman also says when he talks to advertisers who attend the iHeartRadio Festival or the Jingle Ball in New York (which sells out Madison Square Garden) he has them look at the audience and tells them, "This is the power of radio."

Pittman also said both CBS and Clear Channel are companies that put talent first. And, what some Clear Channel jocks may find surprising, Pittman listens to hundreds of Clear Channel stations every weekend, on iHeartRadio. And he's constantly sending Tom Poleman notes about those stations: Why are we doing this in this market? Why are we doing that in that market? He also admits the industry is not seeing enough young people come into the business and radio needs to figure out a way to fix that. "Programmers are our creative."

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