Is Apple Still Interested in iHeart?


Late last night The Financial Times shed a little more light on why Apple might want to partner in some way with radio’s largest company. It has to due with bolstering its flailing Beats 1 radio station and becoming a serious player in the streaming game, which is now being dominated globally by Spotify.

The paper quotes people familiar with negotiations between Apple and iHeart stating that Apple has considered buying a stake in iHeart or signing a marketing or promotional deal. A third option the paper says is being looked at is Apple purchasing iHeartRadio. iHeart has not commented at all on the Apple rumors.

An unnamed music industry source told the paper, “Terrestrial radio is not the force it once was, but there are millions of people listening to the radio. These radio listeners will inevitably migrate to online services, and they could be herded towards Apple.”

Analyst Mark Mulligan said any deal could lend Apple the knowledge required to succeed in radio, which is often driven by strong personalities and brands. “Apple understands that when it gets radio right, that’s going to be an important asset. They’ve shown an understanding that building radio is not as simple as putting music in the sequence.

You have to know how to program, build personalities and brands. Apple is still on that journey [with Beats 1], and [iHeartMedia] would give them industry IQ on that.”

Read the full FT story HERE (subscription required)


  1. Funny how one measure of podcast success is **if** they make it onto Broadcast Radio. I don’t buy the inevitability of our demise. Just more competition that our investment in localization will insulate us against. We will never give up on radio!!

  2. This is laughable, that this story purports to say that iHeart knows how to build personalities! Short of paying Ryan Seacrest millions and then voice-trackimg him all over the country, Pittman and his minions have did anything but develop new breakthrough personalities for radio. Not a criticism, just a fact. Their focus has been on voice-trackimg, and using announcer voices in as many markets as possible. Their weekend announcers in all but the major markets, generally get paid $10 to $12 an hour. You can get paid more working in an Amazon warehouse, no joke. There is not one – not one – NEW major market/ national radio personality that iHeart has produced under Pittman! The ones that do exist, were already in place when Clear Channel changed their name to iHeart. And it’s highly highly doubtful that Apple would pay any significant money for AM/FM radio stations. That would be like someone paying to buy AT+T’s copper telephone land lines, just as wireless/mobile phones started taking off. There is still a place, and a value, to AM and FM right now. But that will be highly problematic in 10 years.

    • Name all the personalities at Apple Music or Beats 1. In fact, name all the personalities at Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon. Say what you will about iHeart personalities. At least they have them. The streaming companies have none.

      • “There is not one – not one – NEW major market/ national radio personality that iHeart has produced under Pittman!”

        Really? How about Bobby Bones?

      • We are not talking about Apple or Beats. Nice try Bob, lol. But you are comparing internet streaming apps to LOCAL AM/FM radio stations. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. Purportedly, AM and FM stations are there to serve the local community, with LOCAL personalities. Although iHeart has largely ignored that responsibility, and gone with voice tracking in many instances. Apple, Pandora, Spotify and the rest do NOT occupy public airwaves local radio licenses, and do NOT try to be local radio stations. … So stop comparing iHeart’s (mis) managing of local stations, to streaming apps.

        • “We are not talking about Apple or Beats.”

          Huh? Did you read the article? The article is about Apple, not about local personalities.

          • No, the article is about Apple supposedly being interested in iHeart.
            Stop your hostility, and your diversion from the KEY POINTS…IHeart has failed MISERABLY operating local radio stations. You know that…Bob?? Right. Stop obfuscating the facts!!!

          • “Failed miserably?” They own the highest rated and best billing stations in most of the major markets. Who is #1 in NY and LA? And they have live and local airstaffs in both places. Why so angry?

  3. Really? You really think that a company that owns hundreds of stations has no value? Really? Hate them all you want, they’re apparently not going away. (By the way, I don’t work for them).


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