Radio Revenues Drop In May

Total radio revenues probably dropped about 5% or 6% in May, compared to the same month in 2007, according to Jim Boyle, a veteran radio analyst with CL King & Associates. The bad news, based on an analysis of 20 out of 50 markets, dampens hopes that the slide in radio revenues was abating after April's much smaller 1% drop.

As in previous months, Boyle noted that small and mid-sized radio markets are faring much better than large markets, with many posting single-digit increases in ad revenue.

However, the steep drops at radio stations in large markets more than offset these small-market gains.

Radio's steady decline is beginning to resemble newspapers, an ominous parallel considering the latter medium's plummeting fortunes. In the first quarter of 2008, radio's total revenues declined 5%, due mostly to a 7% decline in local and national ad categories. This followed declines in the last three quarters of 2007: 1% in the second quarter, 5% in the third quarter and 4% in the fourth quarter.

A decline in the second quarter of 2008, as is widely predicted, would mark over a year of continuous losses.

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