Arbitron CEO assesses outlook for radio


With its financial performance tied to the industry it measures, Arbitron’s top management is keenly aware of what’s happening in radio. In his quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts while reporting Q1 results Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr gave his assessment of where radio revenues are heading this year.

“We are reiterating our full year guidance for 2011. We continue to expect revenue growth of 6-8% and earnings per share, diluted, of $1.90-2.05,” Kerr said of what Wall Street should expect of Arbitron this year.

“In terms of the radio industry as a whole,” he continued, “we continue to see the 2010 rebound in radio ad revenue extended into the first quarter of 2011. It does appear, however, to be at a slower rate than in the fourth quarter of 2010. After a very good fourth quarter with ad spending growing at 6-7% 2010 wrapped up with annual ad sales up around 5-6%. In the first quarter of 2011 preliminary estimates by outside analysts indicate radio advertising revenue grew in the low single digits, which is in line with their expectations for the full year 2011. This is consistent with our view of the radio industry, and while we welcome the continued upturn in ad revenue, we are still seeing signs of caution among our radio station customers,” Kerr told the analysts.