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Pittman on Why People Need Radio, Staying Creative, And What Keeps Him Up At Night.

What keeps Bob Pittman up at night? The unexpected that is lurking out there, the iHeartMedia CEO says in a Q&A with Lydia Moynihan for the New York Post’s “On The Money” series. “Are there early warning signs that I am staring at, but don’t see?” Pittman asks. “We can plan for the expected. It is the unexpected that requires enormous nimbleness and a wildly open mind to see and solve for.”

One of the ways Pittman keeps his mind open to new ideas is seeking out experiences that foster creativity, he says. Among them is making an annual trek to Burning Man, an event focused on community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance held annually in the western U.S. He calls it a catalyst for creativity. “For all of us who work in creative businesses, if we’re not careful as we age, our world narrows to our own experiences and views,” he tells the Post. “Anything that can open my blinders is always helpful, and Burning Man is a perfect way to open those blinders.”

An interview with Pittman wouldn’t be complete without him singing radio’s praises and he does a lot of that in the Q&A. Asked why people still need radio with all the other audio options out there, he says radio is as strong as ever. “All the new streaming music services replace products that came before – iTunes, CDs, and even cassettes. Radio and music collection services are quite different products,” he explains, citing research that found 80% of Americans agree with the statement, ‘I listen to both FM radio and music collections, but at different times, for different reasons.’ In fact, he sees more synergy than competition between radio and digital music services. Streaming music is for unplugging from the world, radio is for joining it, he says.

When Moynihan asks if he would eventually shut down the radio stations and towers and use the spectrum for other purposes, Pittman answers to the contrary. “The strength and foundation of our company is our broadcast radio stations. 90% of Americans listen to iHeart broadcast radio stations every month.” As he’s touted several times before, it is the radio megaphone that has enabled iHeart to build large national events, a massive podcast network and other ancillary businesses. “It all starts with using the trusted voices on our broadcast radio stations and creating demand – and with our unparalleled reach we have quite an advantage over the other audio players, regardless of their cash war chests.”

Read the Q&A HERE.

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