Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman doesn’t believe streaming hours will overtake traditional radio in his lifetime.
He tells Fortune, “Music collections always replace each other and radio always tends to be yet another choice,” he says. “Satellite didn’t kill FM. AM didn’t kill FM. (Streaming music) one more choice and one more device you can listen to the radio on.”
With that perspective, why would Clear Channel waste resources getting 50 million people to use a streaming service like iHeartRadio to begin with.?
The short answer, Pittman says, is growth. He maintains that digital is an important growth area for the business, even if the $17 billion or so that advertisers spend on radio each year is slow to move over to the Web.
Clear Channel and iHeartRadio have considered selling subscriptions or downloads to monetize, similar to their competitors, Pittman says, but for now the company plans to stay “above the fray” in its relationship with record labels. “They’re in the business of selling the music and we’re not,” he says.