The idea that radio will suffer because of new technologies and services, such as Pandora and Clear Channel Communications' iHeartRadio App is somewhat “overblown,” the CEO of Cumulus Media told CNBC Friday.
“The stats prove a little bit different. Radio has 93 percent of listenership across the country, and that basically hasn’t changed for 40 years,” said Lewis Dickey. “So, the number of people listening to radio is actually at an all-time high as the population grows.”
The methodology for measuring time-spent time listening to the radio has changed, however, he added. “Some of the stats…have been a little overinflated,” said Dickey.
“The medium is extremely relevant—it’s local, it’s digital, it’s mobile, it’s social—it really provides all of the great things that people are looking for in push content today on a local basis,” he said.
In terms of radio advertising, political content in 2012 is expected to “be very important,” he said. “We think political is going to be about a $350 million business for the industry.”
Cumuluscompleted acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting on Friday makes it the largest pure-play radio broadcaster in the U.S.
"This is actually a deleveraging transaction for us. We basically bought this company with Citadel’s balance sheet and put the two together," said Dickey. "It ended up being a deleveraging transaction for our shareholders, and we have a long-term capital structure."