We Expect To Be at 2019 Levels End of This Year


That’s what iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman told investors and analysts Thursday evening when the company reported Q4 and full year 2020 earnings. iHeart revenue was down 9% in the 4th quarter of 2020 with broadcast down 19%, network revenue off 16% and digital up 53%, including a 100% jump in podcasting revenue.

The 9% Q4 drop was an improvement over Q3, which was down 47% and Q2 which was off 26%.

Event revenue continued to take a major chunk of revenue out of the numbers for iHeart as the lingering pandemic prevented all major concerts, awards ceremonies and any other crowd gathering shows from happening. iHeart’s event business was down $37 million in Q4 (52%), slightly offset by moving some of those events, like The Jingle Ball, virtual.

Both Pittman and CFO Rich Bressler said trends are improving and as the vaccine gets distributed they expect advertisers to come back to radio. Pittman said while it’s difficult to predict he expects iHeart back to 2019 performance levels by the end of this year.

For the full year of 2020, with revenue of $2.95 billion, iHeart was down 20%

January of this year was down 15% (remember it was March when revenue started to fade from the pandemic). Podcasting revenue in January of this year was up 126%.

With employee reductions, pay cuts and other cost cutting moves in 2020 the company was able to slash $250 million in expenses, much of that will be permanent.

iHeart did generate $53 million in free cash flow in the 4th quarter of 2020 and $130 million for the year.



  1. What happens to radio when the shareholders become more important than the public you serve…Station clusters that once had programming staffs of 30 or more down to 4-5 full timers and more sales people than jocks.

  2. IF 80% of your advertisers are local and 50% are permanently out of business…How can you return to what was, by Q4?

    More magical thinking by someone who has never sold radio advertising.

    • Not to mention less opportunities for sales such as endorsements and remotes, due to massive cuts in the programming side…

      But hey, that podcast revenue is up huge! And the shell game continues…

    • Bob Pittman is very familiar with radio, prior to his being asked to run iHeart. He started at WNBC Radio, before he launched both MTV and later AOL. Bob has majestically transformed iHeart from being just a radio company, to a worldwide entertainment and audio powerhouse.
      Without Bob Pittman at the helm, it’s very doubtful that iHeart would have survived and florished as it is now.

      • He was a program director. He has no sales background.

        He lead AOL and Century 21into bankruptcy.

        But you keep worshipping at the altar of Pitchman.

        • BF, don’t confuse ‘BigA’ with the facts and business history.

          ‘Big’s’ nose and lips are now brown, if you know what I mean, with the kissing up to ‘Pitchman’.

          ‘Big’ is to be totally ignored, quite frankly…

          • Your juvenile comments aside, facts are facts. Bob Pittman has successfully steered iHeart through a bankruptcy caused by huge debt that preceded him. He and Rich Bressler have brilliantly transformed iHeart into the largest audio content provider, and the widest audio platforms, of any company in the world. Bob led the development and monetization of podcasts, now the trend of smaller audio companies. The fact is, Bob Pittman and his team are the Gold Standard of the audio content world.
            You need to try to think beyond your “in the box” perspective of just living in the AM/FM world. That is only one community member, of the vast Audio Content world now.


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