Chantilly, VA. - Jun 4, 2009 - The economy has affected the radio industry more this year than originally projected, according to the second edition of BIA Advisory Services' quarterly Investing In Radio Market Report. New estimates project 2009 revenues of approximately $14 billion, a 15 percent decrease over last year, based on revenue reports from stations across the country. However, analysts at BIA believe that the economy has begun to bottom out and that it will not be quite as bad in the fall and winter months as it was in the beginning of the year. This situation presents an opportunity for radio to leverage new sources of income by making effective investments in new, sustainable ways to attract listeners.
"The residual effects from the recession had a detrimental impact on radio stations the first half of this year," said Mark R. Fratrik, Ph.D., vice president, BIA Advisory Services. "However, facing this calamitous situation, radio has shown agility by adjusting its programming and how it's delivered, and listeners are responding. These adjustments could translate into a viable way of attracting advertisers and showing them positive returns on investment."
The BIA report tracks nationwide station formats and notes a 9.2 percent rise in consumers listening to news-only stations across the country when comparing 1Q08 with 1Q09. Factors including the availability of music formats from sources other than radio and growing consumer interest in local, political and economic news are motivating stations to change their formats and move toward all news. In addition, the report found an increase in consumers listening to rock (3.8 percent) and urban (3.4 percent) formats over the same period time.
Migration to new formats, in particular all news, although expensive, has set radio on the path to carry over programming into multiple platforms, including the Web and mobile where news applications are increasingly popular and can provide sources of income.
Mobile represents an area where radio stations can significantly increase their share of listeners. According to Michael Boland, program director, Mobile Local Media, BIA's The Kelsey Group: "Many stations are creating apps for Iphones and other devices that offer streaming access at mobile users' finger tips. This move represents an opportunity to target different demographics of mobile users and gain incremental listeners, especially among younger groups."