Richard Bon is the Managing Director of Clear Channel, one of the UK’s largest outdoor media and infrastructure businesses. He joined Clear Channel back in 2000 and now sits on the company’s European ExCo board.
Who is your media hero?
Always a hard to pick just one, yet looking back at 2019, two people stand out for me personally:
Cephas Williams, founder of Drummer Boy Studios & 56 Black Men and also my colleague Caroline Forbes.
It was Caroline who first connected with Cephas and then inspired everyone at Clear Channel to embrace the 56 Black Men campaign.
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
In late 2018, Cephas Williams saw, on Sky News, a report that 56 black people had been murdered in London in 2018. His frustration at the article and the singular lens that the black male experience is seen through in the media became the catalyst for his vision to change the narrative.
With his 56 Black Men campaign, Cephas has set out to challenge the lazy and dangerous stereotypical portrayal of black men in the media and change social perceptions by championing the idea that “I am Not My Stereotype”.
The campaign makes a visually bold statement by showing black men wearing a hoody, while it also features text on what these men currently do for work. It includes a vast spectrum of men from the world of finance, the arts, legal and business, right through to the medical field and more.
How has their heroism helped drive media?
“The media serves a wide-ranging community, so I think it should be reflective of a wide-ranging viewer, and at the moment, it’s not”, Cephas Williams.
Aside from educating and mobilising the Clear Channel team, Cephas continues to inspire so many people through his passion and authenticity. Whilst 56 Black Men is not a short-term project, Cephas is certainly gaining some fantastic support from across the media spectrum. Action speaks louder than words, let’s ensure we all play our part!
What are the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?
With our multi-faceted challenges around trust and impact, we need to ensure that advertising continues to work for brands, while working harder to ensure it makes a positive, cohesive societal contribution.
Closer to home, Clear Channel has a bold vision — to create the future of media, as both an effective platform for brands and a purposeful platform for good.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in media?
Heroic might not be quite right but, I was proud to have led the launch of Adshel Live, our market leading digital network, back in 2016.
The launch was both exciting and challenging. It represented an unprecedented infrastructure investment, combined with a seismic shift towards a fresh commercial model, built upon entirely flexible audience delivery.
I’m pleased to say Adshel Live is now the largest digital ooh network in the UK, attracting an ever-increasing number of global brands and local advertisers.
Think big, start small but start now!