Depending on who you ask, radio is either a dying industry or an unshakable cultural force.
You can probably guess which camp iHeartMedia Chairman-CEO Bob Pittman falls into. Tell him that you’re writing about whether radio is relevant, and he’ll ask a DJ to shout your name out on the air.
Pittman did this to me, with the assurance that “your phone will get flooded.”
Not quite. The next day, I received two emails and three tweets from strangers in places such as Maryland and Florida. I got a Facebook message from a friend’s daughter in New Jersey who heard my name uttered by Z100 host Elvis Duran while she was riding in an Uber. (She hadn’t caught the context; I assured her I hadn’t been arrested.) I also earned a Twitter follow from Duran himself, whose syndicated morning show is heard on 80 stations and who has 4.6 million weekly listeners.
Pittman’s prank initially seemed to disprove his point. But radio continues to belie and defy many expectations. Thanks to its ubiquity, especially in cars, radio remains a medium with gobsmacking reach: 271 million Americans, or 93 percent of the country, tune in every week, according to Nielsen’s Audio Today report.