Clear Channel, the stodgy, 42-year-old company that owns most of America's big FM and AM radio stations, is rebranding itself for the emoji-happy world of today. As of today, it will henceforth be known as "iHeartMedia," a clear reference to its surprisingly popular iHeartRadio app and concert series. "It's a recognition of who we really are today and the transformation this company has made," CEO Rob Pittman told the LA Times of the name change. "We have a company that's doing progressive stuff, and yet we're named after AM radio stations."
Indeed, the newly branded iHeartMedia took the announcement of the name change today as an opportunity to brag about how well its iHeartRadio apps are doing with the youngs, releasing a fact sheet (PR) acknowledging 50 million registered users. The company also says that across all of its 859 combined FM and AM stations, it reaches 245 million people in the US every month, including "93 percent of Millennials." iHeartMedia will continue to focus on delivering music and talk radio, but as the new name indicates, the company will attempt to branch out into other types of content as well. That may be a prudent move, given the fact that radio is a tough business with rivals like Spotify, Pandora and Beats around. iHeartMedia also still carries a heavy debt load (over $20 billion, according to the LA Times) since being taken over by private equity firms back in 2008.