BIA Revises Radio Forecast Downward

Radio revenue may have hit bottom, but the bottom was so low, it caused forecasters to rethink their expectations for the medium in 2009. BIA Thursday (June 4) estimated total radio revenue will total $14 billion this year, a 15 percent drop compared to last year. That’s nearly 5 percentage points off BIA’s March forecast of 10.6 percent.

The good news with the forecast is that BIA analysts believe that the economy has begun to bottom out and that fall and winter won’t be nearly as harsh as the beginning of the year.

“Facing this calamitous situation, radio has shown agility by adjusting its programming and how it’s delivered, and listeners are responding,” said Mark Fratrik, vp of BIA Advisory Service. “These adjustments could translate into a viable way of attracting advertisers and showing them positive returns on investment.”

Among the ways stations have been coping with the economy and soft ad market is by format changes, particularly to all-news, noted BIA in its recent report. Although an expensive proposition, news carries over well into other platforms, such as mobile.

According to BIA, which tracks nationwide station formats, in first quarter there was a 9.2 percent rise in consumers listening to news-only stations compared to first quarter last year.