“Radio deserves a lot more than it gets” – Clear Channel boss urges marketers to take a hard look at their media mix

Clear Channel CEO, Bob Pittman, has said marketers need to revise their media mix and give more consideration to radio, which he said is a medium largely overlooked despite its “incredible return”.

Speaking at the Festival of Media, Pittman continued: “Radio has done a terrible job of marketing itself,” and added that it performed a “unique function” especially as consumers continue to move on to mobile devices.

“In this mobile world, these outdoor and radio businesses that we have are the sweet spot,” he explained, saying that TV advertisers are beginning to recognise that they’ve been overspending on that one medium.

“TV is wonderful but the media mix is out of whack – radio deserves a lot more than it gets. The usage is about the same and about the third of the money spent in digital goes to radio. The media mix has changed,” he said.

Offering an example, he spoke of a friend of his who runs a Hollywood film studio; “He was looking at data and told me his exit survey found 60 per cent of people heard about the movie on TV, 20 per cent on radio. Then he looked at his ad spend and realised he’d spend 80 per cent on TV and three per cent on radio. His media mix was wrong."

Discussing the effect music curating services like Spotify and Pandora are having on radio, Pittman was relatively dismissive; “The music collection is when you want to escape from the world, you don’t want to hear commercials or a DJ. But radio is when you want to find out what’s going on." He then cited a recent study looking at where radio sits alongside music streaming services.

“Today on radio you discover a record and you may go and put it on your curated playlist. A little over 70 per cent of consumers discover their new music on FM radio. When we looked at Pandora users it was also 70 per cent and on Spotify it was 70 per cent.”

Alongside its outdoor business, Clear Channel owns iHeartRadio, a platform which now has over 1,500 live radio stations.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.