Bob Pittman, founder of MTV and current CEO of Clear Channel Communications, is out to reinvent radio. He told The Wall Street Journal, ”I’ve not had my adrenaline pumped up like this in years and I forgot how great it feels. As much as I’ve denied it by trying to stop working, I’m absolutely hard-wired to run companies.” Pittman left AOL in 2002 to spend time traveling and eventually began a private investment firm. However, he is now back in the corporate world and is taking on the massive challenge of convincing advertisers that radio is worth their time.
Radio currently faces competition from streaming music services like Pandora and Spotify, and advertising in the sector only grew 1% in 2011. Additionally, Clear Channel has $20 billion in debt and reported major losses in 2008 and 2009. Clear Channel has 850 radio stations and big-name hosts like Ryan Seacrest, and half of its revenue comes from “outdoor advertising.” However, Pittman sees potential in radio’s lower fixed costs and source of two-thirds of earnings. Recently, Pittman has been traveling the U.S. and trying to appeal to advertisers with various show business events.