Ryan Seacrest accepted Variety’s inaugural Digital Impact Leadership Award at the publication’s annual Entertainment Summit Thursday at CES.
In Las Vegas to get the honor just as the final season of the Fox primtime series he hosts, “American Idol,” kicks off, Seacrest pointed out the continued importance of his roots in radio. He is the longtime host of nationally syndicated “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” for iHeartMedia’s 102.7 KIIS-FM.
“Radio is how people can connect with the stars, as well as really engage in the great events we offer, such as the iHeartMedia Music festival,” said Seacrest in a keynote Q&A on stage with Variety co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein, adding that he enjoys how the daily nature of his radio gig “makes people feel comfortable with me.”
Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, presented the honor to Seacrest and joined the keynote Q&A as well. He noted that there are more radios in the marketplace than smartphones or PCs, and radio enjoys nearly 100% penetration with the key millennial demographic.
“As moms are taking kids to school, they are listening to the radio, so from day one they are growing up with it,” said Pittman.
Seacrest is just as big a fan of digital media, believing that people need to embrace all media technologies to connect with today’s audiences.
“It’s always tough to break through, but there are now so many platforms on which to do so,” he said. “You do need a full court press across platforms. And you need to be ferocious about it.”
Also an investor in digital technologies, Seacrest did warn that not every new shiny thing is here to stay.
“You don’t want to get sucked into every fad or trend in the world, but you really need to pay attention to consumer needs,” he explained.