The iHeart CEO was asked a question about localism during the Thursday night earnings call. Pittman frequently talks about how radio is the listener’s companion. An analyst asked if companionship meant being local, and did iHeart’s emphasis on technology get away from being local, harming audience levels.
Pittman said being local matters a lot and companionship is very important. “The number one job of programmers, no matter where we’re using them from, is getting integrated into the local community and talking about things that are relevant and interesting to the people.”
And, Pittman pointed out that getting integrated into the community doesn’t always mean there has to be a host sitting in every studio. “We have taken some of our best talent — Elvis Duran, The Breakfast Club, Bobby Bones, Ryan Seacrest — and put them on multiple stations, because we find that they can integrate themselves into the community. And the quality they provide is a ratings enhancer and also enhances that companionship relationship with the consumer. We continue to do that, and we have a lot of great talent in this company whose names you might not recognize, but are equally as powerful in the community they’re in. And our job is to continue to look for that and continue to serve the community. To the listeners, it is local. It will continue to be local. That’s probably the most important relationship to have.”