Canadian commercial radio bounced back in 2010


Statistics Canada says that 1993 was the last time private radio companies in its home nation recorded a year-over-year revenue loss – unless you count 2009, when red ink was once again the order of the day. However, in 2010 the industry managed a 3.2% gain to $1.6B.

Profit margins also increased, with radio owners clearing 19.1% before taxes and interest, compared to 17.9% in 2009. The province of Ontario did best on this score, banking 22.9 cents on the dollar. Manitoba radio exhibited the most sluggish  performance, bringing in 11 cents, but that was a good result considering that 2010 marked the first time every single province recorded a double-digit margin since 1976.

FM as usual was the place to be to gain the most benefit from advertising, which StatCan says is the source of 97.6% of radio revenue in the country. The year-over-year gain for FMs was 3.7% and margin was 21.4%, compared to 1.3% and 10% for AMs.

Language was also a factor. French-speaking stations were up 6%, ethnic stations were up 4.5% and English stations lagged but still gained 2.6%.

Large markets had the biggest profit margin increases, but smaller markets enjoyed faster growth. Large markets grew only 1.5% but had a 24.8% margin; middle market numbers were 4.7% and 15.5%; small market performance was 4.5% and 13.7%.