Radio Is Headed For Worst Year Since 1954
November 25, 2008

With the RAB's October revenue results announced, CL King & Associates' Jim Boyle has released his latest dreary analysis of the industry's finances. Boyle says that radio is heading for its worst year financially since 1954, "when The Lone Ranger had its last new radio episode and Senator Joseph McCarthy was railing against hidden Communists."

Thus far in 2008, radio revenue is off by seven percent, but in 1954, radio ad revenue fell by nine percent after falling two percent in 1953. He adds that after 1954, "it was three years before radio revived its advertising growth to be comparable or better than total domestic ad revenue growth."

Boyle notes that "October was the 18th consecutive negative year-over-year revenue month and 2008 is the eighth straight struggling year. If the recession lasts for all of 2009 and the weakness persists in many of the major radio ad categories, such as auto, to a point where spending severely plunges, then it may be 2010 or beyond before radio revives."

Once again, Boyle says that small market radio revenues continue to outpace the larger markets. Over the last 20 months, small markets have seen their average revenue grow by 0.6 percent, while the average large market has lost 4 percent of revenue monthly.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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