Radio loses a quarter of its revenue


When push came to shove, radio spot advertising in the second quarter of 2009 looked almost exactly like the first quarter – 25% in the red, according to the latest Radio Advertising Bureau/Miller Kaplan Arase & Co. report. But taking all revenue streams into account, the quarter improved ever so slightly. In fact, the spot portion of the chart showing Q2 and YTD results is nothing but -25s with the exception of Q2 national, which came home a smidge better at -24%.

Spot revenue totaled $3.422B, and was enhanced by smaller amounts of income from network, digital and off-air, bringing the total take for the quarter up to $4.171B. Network and off-air both underperformed Q2 2008, coming home -10% and -13% respectively, but digital was in the black by +9%.

Adding the smaller year-over-year losses of network and off-air and the gains in digital to the spot total sanded down the overall revenue losses for both the quarter – reducing the total loss to -22%, and for YTD, bringing it down to -23%.

RAB President/CEO Jeff Haley looked at the bright side, suggesting that signs showed the bottom has finally been reached. “Taking advantage of radio’s core strengths, advertisers marketing to the price/value consumer are increasing their share of voice on the airwaves — providing encouraging signs.”



RBR/TVBR observation: Radio companies with hungry creditors to feed need more than encouraging signs – they need cash. And it’s sad to think that if Q3 came in something like -10%, many will be jumping for joy. Maybe if radio can show it has at least stanched the bleeding, it will buy some time. But with nothing but ridiculously easy comps ahead, at some point we’ve got to start putting up some black numbers.