Radio Revenue Tumbles By 20% in November

Radio’s revenue decline deepened dramatically in November with over-all industry revenue down a staggering 20 percent compared to November 2007, according to new estimates released by the RAB.

Local revenue sank 21 percent while national registered the steepest loss, down 24 percent. Combined local and national revenue fell 22 percent. Off-air revenue, radio’s bright spot for most of the year, which jumped 18% as recently as March, offered no silver lining in November, up just 1 percent.

Local and national revenue are based on approximately 100 markets as reported by the accounting firm of Miller Kaplan Arase & Co.

November’s loss was double that of October and occurred in a month when the U.S. economy entered an unprecedented financial crisis that saw stock markets plunge to record low levels.

Based on October and November numbers, the radio industry is poised for a fourth quarter as frigid as the Arctic air currently gripping the Northeast. Even before the November figures were released, BIA Advisory Services forecast radio revenue would hit a five-year low in 2008 with a negative 7 percent growth rate.

The outlook for 2009 is even worse: total radio revenue is expected to tumble by 10 percent before returning to positive territory in 2010, with a modest 1.5 percent gain.