Art & Commerce




Sound Waves Radio advertising grew by 9 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, and sales cranked up by 12 percent in the month of March alone, the 67th consecutive monthly uptick. The gains are broad-based, spread across the five regions monitored by the Radio Advertising Bureau. The radio industry has undergone a major consolidation, with fewer companies owning more stations than five years ago. This change has helped the industry get tougher when negotiating prices with advertisers, and there has been some squawking over the significant increase in rates. Advertisers, however, continue to deliver results. While radio remains predominately a local medium (79 percent of revenues last year were local), national advertising is growing faster–up nearly 14 percent last year versus local’s 9 percent. National ads, at 11 percent, outgrew local sales in this year’s first quarter. Some of the faster-growing ad categories in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting, were communications and utility companies, drug manufacturers and financial-services providers. In each of these cases, radio’s customary 60-second unit can provide a good platform for telling a complicated story. –Alan Gottesman (westendal pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.


THE GOTTESMAN FILE
Local radio’s five-year streak of uninterrupted ad-sales growth has continued through 1998’s first quarter.
…..Region…..Full year ’97…..1st quarter ’98
…..East…..9%…..8%
…..Southeast…..9%…..7%
…..Midwest…..9%…..9%
…..Southwest…..10%…..11%
…..West…..8%…..10%
…..Total…..9%…..9%

Source: Radio Advertising Bureau