BIAfn Sees Rebound Ahead for Radio, But Confirms Weak ‘07

BIAfn predicts radio revenues will be down as much as 3.1 percent in 2008, due in large part to the economy, but will begin its rebound in 2009.
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Radio revenue fell 2.3 percent in 2007, according to BIA Financial Network.

That was the fourth year of disappointing revenue performance.

The company issued its quarterly “Investing In Radio Market Report” and said U.S. commercial radio closed the year with $17.9 billion in income, slightly lower than the $18.1 billion recorded in 2006, 2005 and 2004.

“BIAfn predicts radio revenues will be down as much as 3.1 percent in 2008, due in large part to the economy, but will begin its rebound in 2009 as the marketplace improves and the industry starts to see increased income from digital opportunities online and through the airwaves,” it stated.

The company said smaller and middle-sized markets “have retained some stamina due to the value of radio recognized by local advertisers.” It cited Wilkes-Barre, Des Moines and Poughkeepsie as markets with increased revenue of 5 to 8 percent. “Parts of Texas have also remained strong, a reflection of their local economies.”

Transactions last year “demonstrated continued strategic repositioning in the market by stations and ownership groups,” he said. “Most recognize the potentials for future growth and are positioning themselves now in markets and regions where they see long-term station values.”

He said BIA is encouraged by the efforts radio is now making online and in implementing digital technology.

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