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U.S. Radio Revenue Flat Again in Q1

It’s the fifth consecutive quarter with no net gain or decline

Spot and network radio revenue in the United States both declined in the first quarter compared to a year ago, while the smaller categories of digital and off-air posted increases. That netted out to a flat Q1 for radio.

It was the fifth quarter in a row of flat performance for the U.S. commercial radio industry, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Digital and off-air each increased 16% vs. last year’s Q1, while spot spending was off 2% and network down 8%. See chart at bottom, below.

The spot, digital and off-air numbers are based results in about 100 markets, reported by the accounting firm of Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and extrapolated for the country. Digital revenue refers to activity from websites, Internet/Web streaming and HD Radio including HD2 and HD3 stations. Network revenue includes seven major radio network companies.
RAB President/CEO Erica Farber said the numbers in digital and off-air “highlight the growing interest among advertisers in utilizing radio’s multiple facets.”

Adverse weather conditions dragged on the quarter’s results, she said, but implementation of the Affordable Care Act gave a boost, particularly in insurance and health care advertising.

The leading revenue category for radio is automotive, which was flat in the first three months of the year. The communications/cellular sector saw big increases and came in as the number 2 category for spot radio.

Leading spenders in the quarter, according to RAB:

1) AT&T
2) MetroPCS
3) Verizon Wireless
4) Comcast XFinity Cable Service
5) McDonald’s
6) T-Mobile
7) GEICO Insurance Company
8) Toyota Dealer Association
9) Safeway
10) Fox TV Network