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Radio Revenue Flat in Q3; Continues Up, Barely, for Year

RAB says U.S. commercial radio trends reflect the economy

Nine months, 1%.

That’s the bottom line for the U.S. commercial radio industry in the latest revenue report from the Radio Advertising Bureau. It’s a continuation of a trend; recall that all of last year saw a 1% increase over the year before, per RAB. Revenue for the most recent quarter was flat despite continued growth in the digital sector.

Bureau President/CEO Erica Farber sees the situation thus: “While on-air advertising represents the core of radio’s revenue stream, it’s most encouraging that advertisers are taking advantage of expanding digital opportunities offered by stations.” She said in the announcement that more marketers are tapping into the “multi-platform aspects of radio,” and she added that the latest numbers “reflect the American economic picture.”

Digital spending was up 7% for the period; off-air was up 2% and spot was flat.

For just the third quarter, revenue remained flat while digital was up 8%. In the last three months, growth sectors have been political, autos, national grocery, clothing and big box retailers. Decreased activity in the quarter came in communications/cellular, financial services, insurance companies and restaurants. The top three advertisers in the quarter were Comcast Xfinity, McDonald’s and AT&T.

RAB posted a detailed breakdown of the numbers (PDF) that includes a discussion about political revenue.