What does it mean when the industry’s biggest radio company drops the word radio from its title?
Clear Channel calls it a reflection of its evolution to multiple platforms; and that’s certainly true of many other radio companies who might now be drawn to make a similar change. Indeed, for just these reasons, Radio World in recent years has significantly expanded our own coverage of the multiplatform nature of our industry, profiling the new breed of “digital” product managers.
But the news is unlikely to be met with enthusiasm from radio traditionalists — or from those radio companies that are not as far along in expanding themselves to take full advantage of new media.
I understand the reasons; and the move by Bob Pittman et al is going to seem savvy to non-radio observers.
Yet I can’t help feeling disheartened on behalf of those industry executives who have worked so hard in recent years to convince other businesses that the word “radio” should not be equated to “old,” “dated” or “dinosaur.” U.S. commercial radio reaches almost a quarter of a billion people every week, as we’re so often told. Clear Channel is a huge reason why. Yet few other businesses will be able to drop the key word “radio” from their letterhead so blithely, or at least readily. (Wait, do people actually still use “letterhead”?)
Meanwhile I’m left with a question that we hear from time to time, especially each April in Las Vegas: How long will it be before the National Association of Broadcasters becomes the National Association of … Something Else?