Well, that’s no way to start a new year.
Commercial U.S. radio revenue in January fell 6% compared to a year earlier, according to RAB.
Local revenue, the biggest piece of radio’s pie, dropped 5% while national sales plummeted 13%. Non-spot revenue was up 11% but that remains a much smaller piece of radio’s overall revenue pool.
Analyst Marci Ryvicker of Wachovia Capital Markets called it a “horrible start to the year” that does not bode well for the next round of financial results from publicly held radio companies. “The January revenue numbers support our belief that radio groups will, on average, provide disappointing Q1 guidance. While Q1 is typically the lightest quarter of the radio year and has not historically been a great indicator of the full year, we tend to think that such a significant decline does not bode well for 2008.”
She lowered her outlook for the year to flat and predicted that radio is about to be hit with other lower Wall Street forecasts on its likely performance for the rest of the year.