Bob Pittman Named Radio Executive of The Year


Since 1993, in our January issue, Radio Ink has been recognizing a radio executive for all of his or her success from the prior year. 2019 was an incredible year for iHeartMedia and CEO Bob Pittman will appear on the cover of our January 6th issue as the 2019 Radio Executive of The Year.

Bob Pittman joined iHeartMedia (then Clear Channel) in 2010 as an investor. One year later, he was named chief executive officer and took a seat on the board. When Pittman took the top spot at radio’s largest company, he had two major tasks to tackle: to transform a very old radio company into a modern-day multi-platform media company, and to address the company’s massive debt.

Goal No. 1: Transform The Company
Since Pittman became CEO, Clear Channel has changed its name to iHeartMedia (2014), added big national events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, the iHeartCountry festival in Austin, Fiesta Latina in Miami, AlterEgo in Los Angeles, and the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

The iHeartRadio app, which includes every one of the company’s 850 radio stations and hundreds of podcasts, is available to consumers for free, and the service is available on more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs, and gaming consoles.

iHeart now has over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the United States and the largest reach of any radio and television outlet in America.

Goal No. 2: Reduce The $20 Billion In Debt
When Pittman joined the company he inherited $20 billion in debt, thanks to a leveraged buyout of Clear Channel. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2018, and when the proceeding was complete, in early 2019, it separated from Clear Channel Outdoor and total debt was reduced to $5.75 billion.

While in bankruptcy iHeart was still able to make two major purchases to keep transforming: Stuff Media (for podcasts) and Jelli (for its technology).

With a transformed company and a much cleaner balance sheet, iHeart was ready for its next phase of growth under Pittman’s leadership. Since joining the radio industry Bob Pittman has been named Radio Ink’s Most Powerful Person in Radio every year. This is the first time Pittman has been named Radio Ink’s Radio Executive of the Year.

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1993 Gary Fries
1994 Mel Karmazin
1995 Eddie Fritts
1996 James de Castro
and Scott K. Ginsburg
1997 Bob Sillerman
1998 Steven Hicks
1999 Lowry Mays
2000 Randall and Mark Mays
2001 Jeff Smulyan
2002 Larry Wilson
2003 Lew Dickey
2004 Bob Neil
2005 John Hogan
2006 David Field
2007 Peter Smyth
2008 Jerry Lee
2009 Charles Warfield
2010 Bruce Reese
2011 Dan Mason
2012 Ed Christian
2013 Jose Valle
2014 Steven Price
2015 Don Benson
2016 Larry Wilson
2017 Caroline Beasley
2018 David Field
2019 Gordon Smith



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