Clear Channel Chairman of Media & Entertainment Bob Pittman spoke Wednesday at the Credit Suisse Investor Conference in Miami, and dedicated much of his speech to explaining the differences between radio and newer digital technologies. According to RBR.com, Pittman said, "Radio is quite different than playlists or music lockers. Typically people have had their radio they love and theyíve had their music collection. Things havenít changed. They still have a music collection and they have the radio stations. One is programmed for them, one is where I program stuff myself and look through it and play it and have specific interests."
Pittman took multiple opportunities to differentiate radio from Pandora, noting that "What makes radio different than custom radio Ė a Pandora-like service, playlist, or music locker, Spotify, etc. Ė is that radioís curated and dynamically changes. What that means is we have to do an enormous amount of research every week to understand who that tribe is weíre programming to and what their tastes are. And guess what Ė those tastes change every week." He continued, "So as youíre getting tired of a certain song, it begins to disappear. As you discover a new song, miraculously it appears and starts being played more and more. And every week, every month, every year the station is constantly changing in reaction to changing consumer tastes."
Pittman added that Pandora is essentially just a "playlist," similiar to what you'd make for your own iPod. "Remember how great it was for a while, but over time you got sick of listening to your own playlist. It burns out. Thatís exactly what happens here, because what youíre going to find with Pandora, or even with our service as well, itís a shortcut to create a playlist. Youíre putting in a song. It creates a playlist. Itís a benefit Ė Iím not knocking it Ė itís good, but it ainít radio. You create a playlist and then the songs are put on constant shuffle, to use the iPod analogy, but it constantly shuffles songs that are the same group of songs," Pittman said. "And if your tastes change or you get tired of that new Lady Gaga song, itís still there. And if a new song appears, guess what, it doesnít show up there. So what you do is you go create another playlist Ė and another one."