Ed Salamon says country radio is faced with a challenging radio advertising marketplace despite more stations, more markets and a bigger share of radio listening.
In an article about “The State of Country Radio 2008,” he said Arbitron Format Trends reports showed country radio with a 9.7 share in spring 2007, the highest share since the first published Format Trends tracking began in 1998.
Additionally, country radio gained two important markets this year, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and again gained in total number of stations, growing by six stations to 2,052.
Salamon noted that overall radio revenues fell 5% in the third quarter of 2007 to $5.5 billion, the worst quarterly decline in years, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau.
“The loss is due entirely to decreases in local revenue — which fell 5% to $3.7 billion in the third quarter – and national, down 8% to $1.1 billion,” he said.
“These losses more than offset 9% growth in network radio, which ended at $293 million, and 7% growth in non-spot radio revenues, ending at $395 million.”
The song business fared better in 2007, he said; ASCAP announced record revenues of $785 million for fiscal 2006, representing a 5% growth, with royalty payments to its members in the amount of $680 million.
Other highlights of Salamon’s “state of country” report: HD2 continues to grow in number of stations and receivers sold; country formats include new offerings such as new country, classic country and outlaw country; many country artists have been exposed on pop radio, which resulted in more fans for country radio; and 2007 album sales are predicted to be 20% less than last year.