As anticipated, the radio industry took “a very big hit “in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent cutbacks in overall spending activity.
Over-the-air advertising revenues dropped to $9.7 billion, a 23.6 percent decline from $12.8 billion in 2019.
That’s according to the first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2021 Investing In Radio Market Report.
To little surprise, BIA also determined that Digital ad revenues at stations demonstrated their continued strength, posting only a slight decline to $939 million in revenue in 2020 versus $1 billion in 2019.
“Local radio stations have been feeling the impact of new competition for the past few years; unfortunately, the pandemic just exacerbated the problem and it will take some time to recover,” said Dr. Mark Fratrik, BIA Advisory Services’ SVP and Chief Economist. “The shining star continues to be radio’s online digital advertising revenues, which will outpace over-the-air growth this year and moving forward. Those broadcasting groups that have invested-in and oriented their companies toward digital will benefit faster from that foresight.”
Fratrik forecasts 2021 total local radio revenues to reach $11.7 billion, with $1 billion coming directly from online revenues; a 9.7% increase over 2020.
“Mirroring the economic climate in 2020, radio station sales fell to levels that hadn’t
been seen in years,” BIA notes.
Only 534 stations were sold in 2020 for an estimated value of $139 million — a
stark contrast from the 1,080 sold in 2011 for $1.1 billion.