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Radio Revenue Posts Best Increase Since 2000

RAB reports 6% rise

$17.3 billion is the final number for U.S. commercial radio revenue in 2010, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. That means the industry brought in 6% more than the year before. It’s the best year-over-year number since 2000 (though note that radio in 2010 had been coming off a weak prior year that saw revenue drop 18%).

This news marks a welcome change in direction for the industry’s year-by-year revenue tally; the trend had been negative for the past three years and nearly flat over three years before that.

RAB President/CEO said these are “the best comparative figures we’ve seen in over a decade.” RAB also noted that the fourth quarter of 2010 was slightly stronger at 7%.

For the year 2010, U.S. local spot revenue was up 6%, network was up 3%, “digital” 24% and off-air 3%. “Digital” refers to websites, streaming and HD Radio including multicast channels. Though fast-growing, digital still only accounted for $615 million. Local spot is still the biggest earner by far of radio’s pie at $14.1 billion. Automobile advertising was the top producer of local spot revenue, at $1.8 billion.

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, McDonald’s, Comcast Cable and Safeway were the top five individual radio spot spenders for the year.