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%.