Clear Channel Radio parent CC Media Holdings Inc. named Robert Pittman as chief executive, increasing the high-profile media executive's sway over the nation's largest radio company, where he has held a high degree of influence since buying an equity stake nearly a year ago.
Pittman, 57 years old, helped found MTV and and was later a senior executive at America Online Inc. through its ill-fated merger with Time Warner Inc. and was the combined company's chief operating officer.
He has since invested in a range of Internet properties, including DailyCandy, a coupon-type email newsletter that is now owned by Comcast Corp. Pittman's Clear Channel investment represented a return to his roots, since he started in the medium as a teenager and rose through the ranks at NBC Radio before moving into television.
At the same time he bought the equity stake in Clear Channel, he was named chairman of the company's media and entertainment divisions, which generate about half the company's revenue and 60% of its operating income.
In a statement, Pittman said "the chance to get even more deeply involved has just become irresistible."
Pittman's predecessor as CC Media CEO was Mark Mays, a son of Clear Channel founder Lowry Mays. The younger Mays stepped down in March and is now the company's chairman.
Clear Channel was taken private three years ago by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital LLC and carries nearly $20 billion in long-term debt.
In the three months ended June 30, the most recent quarter for which the company reported results, CC Media posted a loss of $53.2 million on revenue of $1.6 billion. In the year-earlier period, the company lost $86.3 million on $1.5 billion in revenue.