Pittman Says Alexa Is The New Radio


    iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman appeared on Beasley Media CEO Caroline Beasley’s business podcast this week where he spoke about the power of radio advertising, how radio has a better R.O.I than the big digital companies, the importance of providing advertisers with data and how Alexa has become the new radio in the home. Did you know that iHeart helped with the development of Alexa?

    Despite the fact that radio stations are in daily competition at the local level, including iHeart and Beasley, Pittman says we are all together when we try to get advertisers to appreciate the benefits of audio. He says in the case of radio, it’s about companionship. And that’s where Amazon’s Alexa comes into the mix. “We are large enough to have teams of people that can work on the future. It’s a luxury most companies in our space do not have. We spent quite a bit of time with Amazon, before Alexa, helping them develop it, so we made sure radio was an important part of it, and that they understood the benefits of radio and that they understood how consumers used the radio. Alexa turned out to be a massive hit.”

    And there’s no doubt that Alexa and other home devices are replacing traditional radio’s in the home. In the case of Alexa Pittman added…”Radio is doing very well in the car, very well in the office and we do well at home where people have the radios. But, over time the number of radio’s in the home has declined and its hard to go find an old fashioned radio to buy. Alexa turned out to be the new radio. And, consumers use it just like their clock radio, their bathroom radio, their kitchen radio except it’s easier to use, just tell it what to do, That’s been the poster child for how these new devices go.”

    Listen to the entire 30 minute podcast HERE


    1. Thanks, Fred!!
      You just gave me the name for my next band: “The Dead Preachers.” 🙂
      Meanwhile, about a new-fangled, more efficient, farther-reaching, louder, lighter and longer lasting transistor radio….. Hmmmm.
      Radio might even improve its services. More “Hmmmm”‘s.
      (And I really mean that. It sure wouldn’t hurt, now would it?)

    2. My Amazon tablets work for about 8 hours without AC (using my phone as a hotspot). If I plug it into my car power outlet, it will run indefinitely. The notion that people will cling to a transistor radio in an emergency is desperation. The AARL also holds on to this fantasy. If there even is a live human at the radio station, how do they know what is going on? The news guy with the Rolodex and personal relationships with government officials are a thing of the past.

      When we lost power in Charlotte for a few hours during the hurricane, there was nothing useful on the radio, just the syndicated programming and sermons of dead preachers warning me to become born again… Duke Energy sent an SMS message about the outage to my phone and I was able to pull up a map of the outages and expected repair time. What value would radio add?

    3. Note to those concerned or even mildly interested:
      Radio IS being left behind – mostly because of a lack of internally-generated improvements and innovations.

    4. The thing not mentioned here is that Beasley uses the iHeart app as its streaming site. So in fact they are business partners. Alexa can receive iHeartRadio stations. But don’t confuse Alexa with an FM radio. There is no FM receiver in that device at all. It is an internet radio that receives audio via the internet. If your station doesn’t stream, it won’t be on Alexa.

    5. All well and good but when the power goes out, bye bye Alexa!
      Battery radios, even crank up models are essential in some market households, many in fact.
      Smart phones are battery portable radios, but during major catastrophic conditions, those 3G/LTE towers will become useless, leaving only traditional radio stations as a viable means to get news and information assuming households keep some batteries around. So if the FM chips are not activated in cellular handsets, one better have a portable radio lying around.

      “Alexa! Find a path to the Internet that does not require AC power.”

    6. The peanut gallery of commentators here is missing the big picture. First, radio nation should be grateful that iHeart helped Amazon develop Alexa–that means that radio stays relevant on that cutting-edge platform. And Bob is leading with a futuristic vision for radio to stay preeminent as a content provider, in the new digital platform world. Without that kind of forward thinking, radio would be left behind.

    7. “Consumers use (Alexa) just like their clock radio.” Oh for Pete’s sake. A18-34 don’t have clock radios, they use that thing in my hand I’m thumbing this sentence on. Radio listening in the home is almost non-existent (just ask Nielsen Audio.)

      Another Pittman interview full of hyperbole.

    8. Holy Crapolie…. go improve something!!
      (Some areas that desperately need work might be:
      On-air performances and local spot creation.)

    9. “And there’s no doubt that Alexa and other home devices are replacing traditional radio’s in the home” and “But, over time the number of radio’s in the…”.

      The plural of radio is “radios”, not the possessive “radio’s”.

      • The British would call this use of the apostrophe in “radio’s” the fool’s apostrophe. The only proper uses for the apostrophe in the English language are to show possession (as Captain Obvious stated) or to substitute for omitted letters in contractions such as isn’t or won’t, not to pluralize nouns.


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