Radio Revs Dial Down 20% In November

radioSuffering from a combination of a secular downturn and the broader economic recession, radio had its steepest monthly decline in revenue in years in November, when overall revenues tumbled 20% compared to the same month in 2007, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Although the RAB doesn't release dollar figures for monthly revenues, the percentage drops tell the whole story. Local revenue-- traditionally the bread and butter of the radio business--was down 21%, while national plummeted 24%, for a combined decline of 22%.

Even worse, the rate of growth for off-air revenues--which include Internet radio ad revenues--slumped to just 1%, down from an average growth rate of 9% in the third quarter.

Radio broadcasters had pinned their hopes for new revenue growth on Internet advertising, which continues to grow, but has slowed markedly as the economy suffered a sharp downturn.



Moreover, the decline in radio revenue has shown clear evidence of accelerating over the course of 2008. In the first three quarters, it suffered declines of 5%, 6% and 9% respectively, while in the first two months of the fourth quarter, it fell 10% and 20%, respectively.

Nor is there much hope for a turnaround in the near future; heading into 2009, BIA predicts total radio revenues will fall at least 10%.

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