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Clear Channel’s Terrific New Name

Agita swept over the radio industry at the end of last week as Clear Channel announced that “Clear Channel Radio” is now “Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.”

This is something that should surprise no one.  I first noticed this “new” name in the email signatures of several Clear Channel execs over the past year. And if you believe a company’s category should be shaped by what it does and where it’s going rather than what it used to do and what it became famous for, then you might actually call this change long overdue.

To anyone who thinks that “what’s in a name” doesn’t matter, you’re wrong.  A name is a distillation of an aspiration and a strategic vision. It is with Clear Channel just as it was with the company that was once called “Apple Computer” and is now officially known as “Apple.”

To anyone who thinks that this name-change symbolizes bad news for radio, you too are wrong.

As any reader and viewer of this blog knows, I have long argued that the definition of “radio” can be as broad as our competitive advantages and leverage will allow.  This is why so many broadcasters have already made a name-change.  It’s less a curse on radio and more a recognition that radio is a much bigger box than we and (more importantly) our advertisers have historically believed.

As Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman correctly put it, the new branding “underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it..”

Radio, you see, is not a broadcast tower with a rate card.

Radio is an idea with an audience, where your job is to illustrate that idea with content and get that content to that audience wherever and however they want it.

Once you have an audience you have the freedom to create new ideas congruent with the appetites and expectations of that audience (hence the logic of “deals” and radio together, for example).

You are limited only by your aspirations, your resources, the talents at your disposal, your commitment, and your inherent vision for what’s possible – for new ways to link consumers and advertisers in the presence of your brands.

This is what Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is all about.

Congratulations, Clear Channel.

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