Digital and Network Lead 1st Q Radio Surge

According to a new report from the RAB, radio posted its third consecutive Q1 increase in 2012 with a 1% rise to $3.814B. Surges in Digital (+10%) and Network (+8%) and a significant increase in Off-Air (+3%) combined with a stable Spot sector, led to the positive results.

First Quarter Radio Revenue Growth Trend

First Quarter

Revenue (Billion $)

Q1 2009


Q1 2010


Q1 2011


Q1 2012


Source: ARB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co, May 2012

Erica Farber, RAB President and CEO, says “... Radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans... (and advertisers are) increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement... “

Radio Engagement (Million Dollars)

Revenue Source

1st Q 2012

% Chg vs. 2011
















Source: ARB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co, May 2012

Growth from a diverse group of categories and advertisers contributed to the Q1 increases. “Radio continues to benefit from new advertisers beyond the traditional top tier,” stated Farber.

The top ten Spot Radio advertisers for Q1 2012 in order: ·

  • Comcast Xfinity Cable - $89.7M 
  • McDonald’s - $87.6M
  • Safeway - $59.3M
  • Verizon Wireless - $48.5M
  • GEICO - $46M
  • AT&T - $45.5M
  • T-Mobile - $42.2M
  • Toyota Dealer Association - $41.7M
  • Fox TV Network - $39.6M
  • Honda Dealer Association - $32M

Political advertising is playing an important role in Radio’s 2012 revenue growth, says the report. The RAB has partnered with PQ Media to provide the industry with a deep-dive view of the political sector and its impact on Radio.

While benefitting from activity in hotly contested markets, Radio saw only the tip of the iceberg in Q1 2012, says the report. Within the Miller Kaplan markets political spending from candidates, Issues, PACs,etc., totaled $6.9M for the quarter. Over half (55%, $3.7M) of these dollars were driven by PACs and various coalitions. The pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning our Future, topped the charts with $724K, followed by pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, with $538K.

Spending from various candidates accounted for 32% of the political dollars ($2.2M). Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, and his committee, Romney for President, placed over $363K in the quarter – accounting for 16% of the subcategory.

Advertisers in the rebounding automotive, supermarket, home furnishings, and retail categories - aided by the gaming industry selling promises and dreams - provided boosts to Radio’s Q1 ‘12 Spot comps:

First Quarter 2012 Leading Growth Categories (Spot Radio (in Millions)


$Q1 '12

% Chg

Automotive Dealers/Dealer Groups/Manufacturers



Grocery/Convenience Stores






Home Furnishings/Floor Coverings



Department/Discount Stores & Shopping Centers



Source: ARB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co, May 2012

Automobile sales are tracking toward a very good year in 2012, says the report, and manufacturers and dealers are employing Radio to help make this happen. Radio’s automotive Spot revenue grew 1% in Q1 2012, building on the huge 27% rebound posted for the same period last year. Automotive is the top category for the quarter across the Spot Radio markets.

With inventories restored following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japanese automakers are again able to compete for share. Toyota Dealer Association and Honda Dealer Association move up into the top rankings in this category in Q1. GMC Motor Corporation surges into the #3 spot, and Chrysler’s Corporate and Dealer expenditures round out the top ranks for the quarter.

Radio also saw impressive Q1 Spot growth from Ford Dealer Association (+54% to $14.4M), Chevrolet Dealer Association (+12% to $12.2M), Honda Motor Corp (+145% to $10.9M), Scion Motor Corporation (+131% to $9.3M), Mercedes-Benz Dealer Association (+32% to $9.3M), and Acura Dealer Association (+117% to $6.3M).

Across Network Radio airwaves, Automotive is ranked #5 with $14.8M. Ford Motor Co. was the top spending advertiser for the quarter with $3.9M, followed by Midas Muffler Shops with $2.4M. Advertisers with significant Q1 2012 increases were:

  • General Motors Corp. – up 69% to $2.4M
  • Daimler AG – up 74% to $752K
  • Interstate Battery System of America – up 319% to $491K
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. – up 34% to $429K

Included in the report are first quarter radio performance for:

  • Grocery and convience stores
  • Casinos and lottery
  • Home furnishings
  • Health care

...and detailed analysis for eight additional categories.

To view the complete report in PDF format, please visit here.


1 comment about "Digital and Network Lead 1st Q Radio Surge".
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  1. ANGEL BLAIR from LOCAL TRUCKING COMPANY, May 29, 2012 at 6:58 a.m.

    I tend to disagree. The Southeast area that I live in I am seeing the above more on television and in Newspapers.

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