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A CONVERSATION WITH...

Interview: Simon Glickman
As EVP Premiere Music and Partner Integrations, Alissa Pollack touches virtually every corner of the Clear Channel universe; she and her team develop countless initiatives to connect artists with audiences, brands and worthy causes (and track their progress). Yet she probably wishes she’d chosen to disconnect from us before agreeing to this Q&A.

Tell me about you, because you do so many different things.
I’ve been at the company for 18 years and have had my fingers in so many different things along the way, the job that I currently have is never typical. It can vary dramatically day-to-day based on my current project. Because I am always looking for the best opportunity for our music partners, I end up touching virtually all the different areas of CCM&E.

That said, my "regular" duties fall into two major areas. Under Philippe Generali, I oversee label licensing relationships for Mediabase, RateTheMusic, and M-score, along with leading the Mediabase label sales team to develop national print, digital and radio sales packages for music releases. I also work with Mediabase partners including Big Champagne, USA Today, and Shazam.

In January 2014, I joined the newly announced Clear Channel Networks team under President Darren Davis. In this role, I work to lead on music initiatives for the Premiere Networks and iHeartRadio content teams. I work with Julie Talbott and Jennifer Leimgruber on all of Premiere’s major talent and programs on label and artist integrations. I provide feedback on new programming ideas, work with the affiliate relations team to help grow our station lineups, I work with the Premiere promotions and marketing team to identify opportunities for cool artist promotions, and I oversee Premiere’s ad sales activity with the record labels. I also work closely with Chris Williams and Matt Herron on the iHeartRadio team to explore content opportunities, and to work with labels and artists on marketing the great content and features in iHeartRadio.

Of course I also work very closely with Tom Poleman and Clay Hunnicutt and the whole CCM&E national programming platforms team.

You’ve always been passionate about embracing new artists. How do you do it, between your various platforms?
I think the coolest thing about CCM&E is that we touch every form of media, and can offer an artist countless forms of exposure on air, online, digital audio, TV, events, print, social and more.

CCM&E has a number of specific new music and new artist programs including NPP’s Artist Integration Program and Digital Artist Integration Program; World Premieres for major new song releases; On the Verge campaigns to help build familiarity for new and developing artists, the Macy’s Rising Star campaign—really, there are more than I can even mention.

In addition to all of those activities, Premiere talent and programs offer opportunities to showcase new talent with various song spotlights in our shows and countdowns, profiles on our show’s websites and in their email newsletters, featured interviews and online video, album premiere specials and lots of other opportunities.

Creating an efficient way for artists and bands to reach the consumer is one of the things our company does best, because they can spend an hour or two in our offices and touch every possible media platform there is. In a single visit you might talk to Ryan Seacrest, co-host the iHeartRadio Countdown, do something with Saturday Night Online with Tim Herbster, visit the Elvis Duran Morning Show, do a satellite tour to 30 other stations, generate content for all of the Clear Channel websites or that gets distributed even outside of the Clear Channel platform via Premiere’s assets. It’s just such an efficient process for the artist. 

Because of my role at Mediabase, I’m exposed to all music in every format before it’s released, since we’re encoding it before it goes to radio. Or we’re working on advertising with the label, so we know what’s coming. From the Mediabase perspective, I tend to be contacted very early on in the process Then I’m able to identify key people within the company I should reach out to.
You’re a point of entry at the company.
I’ve been in the company so long, and I joke that my best skill is being a human corporate directory! People come to me with their ideas and goals and I help them develop a road map of the ways in which they can work with CCM&E, and direct them to the right people to get things done. Because I am aware of so many areas of our activity, I can be a valuable "first stop" to help ensure that our partners are aware of all the ways in which CCM&E can work with them.

Let’s talk about the iHeartRadio Chart or the POWERLPAYLIST Chart. What’s unique about them?
We’re very excited about our new Mediabase POWERPLAYLIST, which we’ve been working on for almost two years. You know, we’ve always been the dominant player in airplay data. However, as the industry and platforms have changed, we’ve had to adapt and be sure that we’re measuring the success of a record across all platforms.

We’ve created a chart that will include radio airplay, digital sales, audio and video streaming and, included in a chart for the first time, Shazam. This is the first and only chart that includes iHeartRadio data as well. Radio airplay contributes to the biggest percentage, which is 30%, but the other data providers are spread in a representative way.

What’s awesome about this chart is that after playing around with it, we’ve identified what we feel is the perfect formula to not only represent what’s truly going on across all platforms, but also to identify hits faster than we could with just radio data. So, socially massive songs from artists like Robin Thicke, Pharrell and Miley Cyrus, which may or may not have been getting airplay at the time, because of the massive social response that they were getting, were jumping up on the charts dramatically faster.

It’s a three-dimensional picture. Who else falls in that category, of breaking through everywhere?
Iggy Azalea
had something that we noticed very early on; so did Ariana Grande. We knew they’d be big at radio, but they jumped dramatically faster on that chart—before there was significant airplay. 

The greatest thing about this chart is that it can’t be manipulated. It’s balanced; you’re getting the benefit of the social and consumer response to a song, even if radio hasn’t put it in power yet. Artists that are really engaging the audience are getting credit for the fact that they have amassed this big a following.

Are you going to start using that chart in any of the syndicated programs? Will it be a countdown at some point for you?
We have launched the iHeartRadio Countdown in Top 40, which is based on the Mediabase POWERPLAYLIST, but focuses specifically on CHR. I would expect you will see Premiere extend the iHeartRadio Countdown concept into other formats as well.

Tell us a bit more about Premiere, and what differentiates it.
Premiere Networks is the largest network radio company in the world. I’m not sure everyone realizes that, while Premiere works with all of CCM&E’s 850 owned and operated stations, we syndicate programs and services to over 6,000 unique radio stations across all the ownership groups. Premiere Networks is known for having top talent including Ryan Seacrest; Elvis Duran, Steve Harvey, Mario Lopez, Delilah, Bobby Bones, Cody Alan, Nikki Sixx, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and great brands like American Top 40 and Fox Sports Radio. Premiere is constantly developing new programming including shows like the iHeartRadio Countdown hosted by Romeo, and specialty programming like The Evolution Beatport Show With Pete Tong, which focuses on EDM. Premiere also produces countless artist, album and holiday specials, has a substantial jock prep and imaging business and works with CCM&E to produce the broadcast component for major events and iHeartRadio Theater shows. Last I checked we’d hit 238m in reach per week, but it’s probably more now. Our reach is insane.
You also bring artists and brands together.
Let’s say it’s Ryan Seacrest’s show and Coca-Cola is looking for exclusive experiences to tie in. Typically, I’ll work with the producer of the show to match the right talent to those programs. I love bringing research to those programs. Sometimes brands don’t give us enough credit for being the music authorities that we are. We are in the business of knowing what’s big and what’s next—that’s the kind of data we use to program our stations and plan events like Jingle Ball and the iHeartRadio Festival

Let’s get into some of for charity work, particularly cancer research with City of Hope, the Taste of Hope event and the newly launched memorial fund for Musicians on Call.
I’m obviously very passionate about it. I’m on three charity boards currently. That would be City of Hope, Musicians on Call and MusiCares.

It started when Richard Palmese asked me to be on the COH committee and I tried to come up with creative ways to raise money, since I was the youngest and poorest in the room. One of the ideas we came up with was the Taste of Hope, because we know a lot of people in the industry like to drink wine. It almost gave me a heart attack the first year, but it’s now one of the best-attended events in the music industry.

I was exposed to Musicians on Call through Tom Poleman. I thought it was a great cause but never really expected it would get personal. Then my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away. I tried to think of how I could honor him so his name could live on. I realized my love for music comes from him, so I tried to marry two of my charities that made the most sense at the time, which was Musicians on Call and COH. We launched the Jason Pollack Bedside Performance Program, where the musicians from come to COH and play at the bedsides of patients that are very sick. We really want to expand that program; we may distribute iPods or extend it to other hospitals, but we definitely want my dad’s program to keep growing. I believe in the healing power of music, and we want to figure out as many ways as possible to deliver that to people who need it.

And you can help these causes in some of the same ways you can help artists.
Traditionally, we’ve raised money the way most charities do. But in our industry we can develop creative programs that could raise a ton of money for great causes and benefit artists at the same time. Another great thing about our company is that we’re very charity-oriented and community-oriented. We’re able to put together PSA programs and things that, again, provide huge exposure and opportunity for artists and good causes.

In the same way that we would put together an advertising campaign for an artist, those same assets could be used for a program that’s about not only just driving awareness to a charity, but also auctioning off tickets, meet-and-greets and autographed guitars—things that can raise a lot of money. It becomes a win-win for the charity, for the artist and for us.

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