iHeartMedia a smart change for Clear Channel

By Managing Editor

Clear Channel Media Holdings Inc., the largest operator of U.S. radio stations, announced in a Sept. 16 press release that it has changed its name to iHeartMedia to better associate with its digital radio service iHeartRadio and embrace its various media platforms.

Since the iHeartRadio app was released in 2008, it has grown wildly popular and served as the online outlet for the company’s 859 radio stations and 245 million monthly listeners and engaged consumers through broadcast radio, digital and mobile radio, social media, TV and outdoor events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the largest live concert event in radio history.

“iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices,” said Bob Pittman, chairman and chief executive officer of iHeartMedia. 

Despite some critics claiming that the name change will lead to the deterioration of radio as an the industry, the company said in the press release that it still plans to focus on local broadcast radio stations and the stations’ on-air personalities. 

“iHeartMedia was created by the strongest broadcast radio stations in the country, and we will continue to build this company the same way—on the country’s strongest radio stations,” Pittman said in the press release. “We are especially excited because our digital platform extends the reach and impact for our wildly popular on-air personalities—and it is a platform that only iHeartMedia provides.”

People who oppose Clear Channel’s decision to focus more on media and different forms of radio fear that such a move will kill radio, but the company is simply keeping up with the times and its consumers. With the growing popularity of services like Spotify, it only makes sense that Clear Channel would make the change to remain competitive and transform itself into a multiplatform media company. 

The name change could benefit the company because consumers are more likely to recognize a casual name like the “iHeart” brand as opposed to Clear Channel, with its association with conservative talk radio. The new name could be the smartest tactic to make the company a household name.

Those who are against the company’s name change are unrealistic. The company is in no way threatening the validity or success of radio, but rather trying to bolster its accessibility and ensure its livelihood by resonating with iHeartRadio consumers. 

There will always be a market for radio, but that does not mean listeners should not be able to access it in a variety of ways .

“We’re pulling together our powerful local and national brands and industry-leading platforms to make it easier for advertisers to tap into the range of content, audiences and experiences we deliver on devices, in cars and everywhere consumers want to be entertained,” said Rich Bressler, president and chief financial officer of iHeartMedia, Inc.