Friday, November 13, 2015

Meet the Guy Behind The iHeartRadio App

Ayinde Alakoye
His name is Ayinde Alakoye. And even if that fails to ring a bell, chances are you know his work.

In 2007, according to, he created the mobile app that Clear Channel turned into iHeartRadio, the flagship Internet radio platform that boasts 70 million users.

“I grew up in a single parent household,” says Alakoye, whose father was murdered when he was seven.  “Donnie Simpson in Washington D.C. used to get me off to school each day because he was the male voice I would hear.”

His musical seeds were sewn early on, but Alakoye, who graduated from Juniata College with a marketing degree, would play professional beach volleyball for several years before trading in his shorts for a suit. As a media sales professional, Alakoye quickly climbed the ranks at WTOP in his native Washington D.C. before moving on to Clear Channel and CBS.

And then, just as his career began to crest, in classic entrepreneur fashion, Alakoye left corporate America to pursue his unique vision for radio.

In 2003, he started a company called Thumb Radio, which sought to make every local station in the country accessible via mobile phone.  Today, that concept is ubiquitous, but in 2003, Alakoye was early to the party. Thumb Radio debuted four years ahead of the iPhone, and five years before Apple launched its app store,  which coincided with third party app development.

In 2007, Alakoye approached Clear Channel with his novel technology. At the time, the radio giant had nearly 1100 local radio stations streaming live on about 1100 different websites.

“I went to Randy Mays, one of the owners of Clear Channel, and I said ‘All of your radio stations should be on one property and you should stream them on mobile platforms’,” he says.“He loved the idea and we formed what is now the basis of iHeartRadio back in 2007.”

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