Can radio hang on until 2011?


Radio companies have gone through a rugged 2008, not to mention rugged years pretty much since Y2K and the bursting of the dot-com bubble. And 2009 is looking like more of the same. But a number of crystal ball readers see the business starting to at the very least level out in a couple of years, unlike, say, newspapers. The good news for radio, according to observers at TNS Intelligence, is that a lot of radio’s trouble is not because radio is radio, it’s because of what’s happening around the industry – not only is the economy sucking wind, but two of radio’s biggest clients, automobiles and financial companies, are sucking wind at hurricane and tornado levels.

It is expected that the economy will eventually come back, some of radio’s core categories will come back and eventually replacement clients will be found for some those categories that are gone for good.

The return of at least some business, coupled with reduced local competition (particularly from newspapers), lower overhead related to the cuts going on now, and better revenue generation from associated online operations, are expected to help radio at least find a flat space by 2011.

RBR/TVBR observation: Hey – it’s a light at the end of the tunnel! The stations that do the best job of maintaining their bond with their local audiences are going to be the ones that get first pick of the fruited plains on the outside of this bleak cavern.