Clear Channel Communications, Inc. was founded in San Antonio, TX with the purchase of a single radio station in 1972. Today, Clear Channel is a media conglomerate with its media and entertainment division having the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America with 243 million monthly listeners. The company serves 150 cities through 850 owned radio stations in the U.S., as well as more than 140 stations in New Zealand and Australia. Some call it one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. According to the company’s website its Outdoor division operates close to one million displays in 45 countries across five continents, and continues to expand upon traditional billboard advertising by packaging unique combinations of displays in airports, rails, malls and more worldwide.
In the past year alone, Clear Channel has had a lot of growth. In a recent interview with Radio Ink Magazine Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman said, “Our monthly reach is now 245 million radio listeners across our broadcast radio platform. The company’s focus has been on expanding its digital platform.” To his point, Clear Channel’s digital network platform has more than 90 million monthly users. Clear Channel also recently announced the expansion of its iHeartRadio Hispanic Network “with the introduction of Mexico’s Grupo ACIR radio stations, which owns and operates more than 55 stations across Mexico.” Pittman also said iHeartRadio passed 50 million registered users, “faster than any other music service and even faster than Twitter and Facebook in reaching that milestone.”
As companies like Clear Channel expand its reach, the way people get their news is also changing. For example, if a story breaks in small town Ohio, we no longer have to be near a radio or television in that market to get the all details. Within seconds, that story will make its way through a news feed and the hundreds of stations who subscribe to that feed will have access to the story…they then will deliver the news to you and me. A handful of networks, such as the U.S.-based Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) are now considered networks. In this model, instead of television networks owning stations, the stations collectively own the network and brand themselves as “PBS member stations” or “member networks,” instead of as affiliates or owned and operated (O&Os).
State-based networks offer another great opportunity to have your message sent out to affiliated stations all across the state. With one interview, your spokesperson could be heard on stations throughout the whole state.
This trend is definitely an advantage for PR professionals pitching their organization’s or their client’s stories to networks across the country. If you keep up with changing trends in media, this trend offers PR professionals the opportunity to strategically pitch these large networks. Your saved time can be spent on expanding the message in other markets, or through other outlets like social media. With all these new opportunities clients have more access to stations and high quality interviews and more desirable content; making it truly win, win for both sides.