/// MTV Founder Bob Pittman Is Our First Media Visionary

December 16, 2013  |  Media Week

Bob Pittman had no intention of putting lipstick on a pig. The native Southerner and C-suite veteran, who was semi-retired a few years ago and overseeing private equity firm Pilot Group , was looking for a canny investment, a hidden gem with undiscovered value and untapped potential. He didn’t want a flabby firm that he’d need to dress up to hide its inherent flaws. So Pittman ended up staking $5 million into radio behemoth Clear Channel, with its 850 local stations around the country—including top-rated KIIS-FM in Los Angeles and Z100 in New York—as well as a global outdoor advertising division and digital properties. That investment turned out to be the first step in yet another phase of his long and distinguished media career. Pittman went from investor to consultant—as in, “I told them I’d help out part-time”—to chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Communications . The move came as a surprise to many industry watchers but was a homecoming of sorts for Pittman, who, at 15, started his long media career as a small-town radio announcer in Mississippi. “I wasn’t going to do this again,” Pittman —who this year was selected as the first ever Adweek Hot List Media Visionary—says of his 2011 return to a top corporate gig. “But I just thought, Oh my God, look at these assets. Think of what you can do with all that.” It didn’t matter that Clear Channel, syndicated home to right-wing commentators Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, suffered from an image problem and had none of the sex appeal of music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. In fact, that was a major draw to Pitt-man, a media pioneer who, in his 20s, led the original team that launched MTV. He later spearheaded turnarounds at Century 21 real estate and Six Flags theme parks before becoming COO at the ill-fated AOL Time Warner. That exotic r



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