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Radio Sales Organization Sees Only Upside for Off-Air Revenue

But U.S. radio revenue overall fell 5% in the first half of this year, even with boost from NTR.

Off-air revenue for commercial U.S. radio is expected to approach $2 billion by the end of this year. That’s nearly a year ahead of earlier predictions, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Such revenue consists largely of online activity and “experiential marketing partnerships,” as opposed to traditional radio commercials. It was up 12% in the first half of this year.

That’s the better news from RAB on the revenue front this week. The bad news is that overall radio revenue fell 5% in the first half of the year and 6% in the second quarter. Local sales were off 6% in the first six months, national was off 11%.

“In the local and national sectors, radio’s Q2 and year-to-date revenue revealed a number of well-performing areas even as total media spending cutbacks in key categories impacted Radio’s bottom line,” RAB continued.

Areas that grew include political, insurance, professional services, department/discount stores/shopping centers and beverages.

But, RAB said, traditional industries hit by the economy include automotive, financial services, home furnishings/floor coverings and home improvement stores. “The communications/cellular/ utilities sector has been slowed down by market saturation (90%+ penetration), and customers not as willing to trade up to new equipment. Residual fallout from the writers’ strike curtailed spending by TV networks/cable providers.”