September 16, 2014 Last Updated 8:18 am

Clear Channel rebrands as iHeartMedia

Outdoor advertising division will retain the Clear Channel brand name

What’s in a name? Clear Channel hopes it is a more digitally-oriented, hipper company as the company announced today that it would be rebranding itself as iHeartMedia.

The new name comes from iHeart Radio, the Internet radio platform owned by Clear Channel, founded in 2008.

“iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices,” said Bob Pittman, CEO of what is now iHeartMedia, Inc.

iHeart-feature“We have massive consumer reach and influence across our platforms because we know how to program the live content people want to hear, see and share right now, we are the largest mobile media company in existence — more than 60 percent of our broadcast usage is out of home, compared to just 30 percent for other mobile devices – and we deliver more live programming than any other media company today, built on the national and local on-air personalities who are the heart of our powerful broadcast radio franchises. Combined with Clear Channel Outdoor’s reach of over half a billion people worldwide across 30 countries and five continents, it’s clear that no other company can match our reach or broad spectrum of media platforms,” Pittman said.

The exception to the rebranding move will be Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. which will retain the Clear Channel brand. (Disclosure: I once interviewed with Clear Channel Outdoor but backed out of the process when told that the goal of the new executive would be to find a way to force customers, who wanted digital displays, to buy the old print displays instead.)

The move to rebrand Clear Channel as iHeartMedia reflects the changing radio landscape. As more and more listeners stream their music via services such as Pandora, Beats and others, radio networks risk losing their audiences, and worse, their advertising, to the new services. As auto companies make it easier to bring those services to their vehicles, the days of “tuning in” may be numbered.

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