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Small Markets Step Forward

“Whatever one wants to argue small markets benefit from, it’s working.”

Radio business analysts this week were abuzz about the relative successes of sales in smaller markets.

Jim Boyle of CL King & Associates wrote, “We have been banging the drum for several quarters that small/mid markets have been consistently and sometimes dramatically outpacing their top 25 market brethren. We would note that the biggest gap is actually the recently widening one between the top 25 and markets smaller than #75.”

In January, he said, adjusting for harder comparables for smaller markets’ revenue a year before, “the small markets flat-out thrashed the top 25 markets’ revenue performance.”

Boyle said this reminded him of something that President Lincoln was claimed to have said when critics of General Ulysses S. Grant complained that he was a hard drinker: “Whatever he’s drinking, I’d like to send a case to my other generals.”

Boyle said that in January, 16 of the 18 large radio markets saw revenue drop, though he also noted January is typically volatile and not a useful predictor.

But, he said, “Whatever one wants to argue small markets benefit from, it’s working.”