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BIA Projects Radio 2009 Revenues to Drop 19%

Sees slight improvement in 2010

U.S. commercial radio stations have been hit hard by the economy, and the industry will end 2009 with revenues of $13.3 billion, a 19% decrease from last year, according to BIA/Kelsey.

The financial company forecasts that online business and, in particular, mobile-related revenue will give radio a boost in 2010, as stations embrace cross-platforms and begin integrating them into their sales strategies.

In 2009 online revenues will bring the industry $382 million, up from $342 million in 2008, according to BIA/Kelsey analysts, who forecast the number will rise to $459 million in 2010.

The trick is to demonstrate to local advertisers that their message can be effectively bridged between media, says BIA/Kelsey. “Once the cross-platform model is embraced by sales teams, and advertisers learn how to effectively plan and buy radio’s digital and air assets, the revenue will follow,” predicted Rick Ducey, chief strategy officer, BIA/Kelsey.

Radio has strong brand equity in local markets, and while the economy slowly is coming out of recession, the industry continues to show strong listenership levels with teens and younger adults. The possible introduction of FM radio receiving chips in cellular phones will generate both a positive image effect on radio and an increase in radio listening, according to BIA/Kelsey VP Mark Fratrik.

According to the company, U.S. radio revenue’s peak in recent years was $18.1 billion, achieved each year in 2004–2006.

2009 Shaping Up As Lowest Radio Revenue Since Late ’90s” (Nov. 24, 2009)