October Radio Ad Numbers Breath Of Fresh Air To Industry

There were some hopeful signs in October for the beleaguered radio industry, which has trailed other media in emerging from the recession.

National radio ad revenue surged 6 percent that month—the largest year-over-year gain in six months, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. Still, national accounts for only 20 percent of the radio advertising business, and local radio revenue (which rings up the lion’s share of industry profits) slipped 1 percent.

Combined local and national ad sales revenue in October rose 1 percent from that month in 2003, according to the RAB. And for the first 10 months of this year, combined local and national ad revenue grew 2 percent, compared with the year-earlier period, the organization said.

While business was good in the first quarter—with combined local and national radio revenue up 4 percent from the year-earlier period—demand for radio ad sales has since slacked off, and observers are looking to the fourth quarter to regain momentum. The RAB expects 2004 to end up 3-4 percent.