Revised Forecast: Radio to End Year Up 4.4%

On-air radio revenue is poised to end the year up 4.4 percent to $13.9 billion. Factoring in another $459.3 million in revenue from digital and online, and radio’s 2010 tally is expected to grow 5.1 percent to $14.4 billion, according BIA/Kelsey’s revised forecast released Wednesday (Aug. 25).

BIA/Kelsey adjusted up slightly its May forecast based on ad spending increases in various radio markets. Stations in the top 10 markets are expected to average a 6.26 percent rise in advertising, while markets such as San Francisco and Philadelphia will be up 8 percent on the strength of spending by national advertisers.

Markets 11 to 25 will rise an average of just over 4 percent, while smaller markets will see average revenue increases between 2.73 and 3.66 percent.

With the forecast, the researcher advised some caution. “We’re glad to see positive growth in most U.S. radio markets but still feel there remains enough uncertainty in the country’s overall economic performance to tread carefully stepping into the second half of the year,” said Mark Fratrik, vp of BIA/Kelsey. “Radio’s performance this year will largely be driven by the success of the top markets; however, its impact will resonate to smaller ones.

Slower growth is forecast for 2011 with total radio revenue up 2.7 percent to $14.8 billion.