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Radio Sales Edge Up in Q3

RAB says overall year is tracking 2012

One percentage point might not sound like much, but it’s the best quarterly performance for U.S. commercial radio this year compared to the same quarters a year earlier.

The Radio Advertising Bureau says overall industry revenue was up by that single digit, and that “year-to-date performance remains on par with 2012,” when radio finished the year at $16.48 billion.

“The third quarter uptick was based on a 1% gain in the spot sector, which represents the largest portion of radio’s revenue base,” RAB reported. “Digital continues to show robust gains — up nearly 1/5 — while off-air was up 3%. Network posted a decline of 11% against last year’s sales.”

For the year, spot revenue is flat; digital, off-air and network are +15%, +3% and –7% respectively.

“Digital continues its reign as radio’s fastest growing sector. Off-air activity also remains steadfast, increasing every quarter in 2013. Combined, digital and off-air represent 13% of radio’s total revenue.”

RAB President/CEO Erica Farber also released a list of top advertiser categories, “led by Communications/Cellular with a healthy 24% increase.” She said Automotive, Professional Services, Health Care and Home Furnishings showed “substantial increases.” Automotive regained the top category ranking in Q3 but communications “remains as a strong #2.”