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Station Transactions Down in First Half

The latest data from BIA/Kelsey

The number of U.S. radio stations sold so far this year is well behind last year’s pace, about 40% fewer in fact.

BIA/Kelsey tracks the number of TV and radio stations sold monthly and year-to-date, as well as the value of those transactions.

According to its midyear data, 322 radio stations were sold in the first six months of 2015 compared to 524 at this time last year. The number of TV stations sold also dropped, from 107 to 23.

In terms of the value of those deals, radio saw a drop from $622 million at the midpoint of last year, to $217 million this year. And TV saw a huge drop, from $3.66 billion to $116 million, for the first half. See chart below.

Senior Vice President Mark Fratrik tells Radio World that the recent “malaise” in radio transactions reflects the competitive nature of media in general, an environment in which buyers have more apprehension about buying stations. “It doesn’t mean radio can’t compete, but there’s more uncertainty. … Advertisers aren’t pouring money into all forms of advertising.”

Transactions, he continued, are not as slow as they were in 2009 or 2010, during the recession.

TV transactions last year benefited in activity in anticipation of the spectrum auction, as well as the big Media General/LIN Media deal.