Radio revenue remained stuck on the bottom in second quarter, leading industry pundits to declare that a low point had been reached. Local and national advertising was down 25 percent to $3.4 billion in second quarter, according to figures released late Friday (Aug. 21) by the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Other radio segments performed better than radio's core in second quarter, with network radio down 10 percent to $274 million. Off-air revenue declined 13 percent to $355 million. The only segment posting positive numbers in the quarter was digital, up 9 percent to $120 million. Combined, radio revenue dropped 22 percent to $4.2 billion.
"We are most likely past the Q1 low point for radio revenues and are now on the rebound," said Jeff Haley, president and CEO of the RAB, which itemized only radio's positives in its quarterly report.
Desperately seeking a silver lining, the RAB points out that some advertisers increased radio budgets such as Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, Arby's, Boost Mobile, US Cellular, Metro PCS, some foreign automakers and entertainment companies.
But for the most part, like other local media, radio was hit hard by a shrinking automotive category, slipping from the medium's top category to No. 3; and was also hit hard by skittish retailers.
For the first half of the year, all of radio's revenue segments were collectively down 23 percent to $7.6 billion. Local and national revenue were each down 25 percent to $6.2 billion. Network dropped 11 percent to $512 million. Off-air dropped 13 percent to $619 million. Radio's one positive segment, digital, grew 10 percent to $221 million.