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At Mid-Year, U.S. Radio Revenue Was Down 1%

RAB says off-air category was a winner and represents a growing piece of radio's pie

Despite a boost from off-air revenue, U.S. commercial radio took in a bit less money in the first half of 2015 than in the same period a year earlier.

The Radio Advertising Bureau says grand total revenue was $8.2 billion, down 1% from the comparable period last year, a performance that RAB describes as holding steady.

“While radio revenue remains steady, it continues to make inroads with advertisers. In contrast, other traditional media revenues have been impacted by the rise of online, mobile and social platforms. For the first half radio’s grand total of $8.2B held steady with FH 2014 performance (–1%).”

Spot revenue fell 3%, network was down 1%, digital was up 2%. The real bright spot is the off-air category, up 11% to $943 million for the six months. RAB says off-air now constitutes 11% of U.S. radio’s revenue volume.

The bureau said recent reports by Nielsen and several radio companies “have garnered a wave of positive press, reminding the ad community that radio is America’s premiere reach medium and packs a powerful sales impact – positioning the medium to capitalize on this increased awareness among advertisers.”

The top five categories of ad revenue at mid-year were auto, professional services, health care, financial services and communications/cellular, though the last showed a decline of 20%. “This category remained in flux due to pending mergers and consolidation activity,” RAB stated.