BIAfn is out with its annual tally that radio station revenues were down 2.3% in 2007 to 17.9 billion bucks. That’s slightly better than the drop reported by RAB (excluding network revenues), which BIAfn Vice President Mark Fratrik attributes to his company having estimates for all 302 Arbitron markets, while the monthly Miller Kaplan numbers used by RAB are geared mostly toward large markets, which have been faring more poorly than their smaller market brethren.
More importantly, RBR/TVBR asked Fratrik about the future. He expects 2008 to be worse than ’07, with radio revenues projected to fall 3.1%. “The expectation is that while the economy is going to do better in the second half of the year, it’s still going to take a while to really reinvigorate and get advertisers to spend a considerable amount of money,” he said. He sees the economy being better in ’09, with radio revenues still down, but only by 0.2% — then, at long last, an up year in 2010. His forecast is for radio revenues to grow 0.9% in 2010, 1.8% in 2011 and 2.5% in 2012.
So, RBR/TVBR wondered, will radio ever get back to growth in the mid-single digits? “There is always that possibility, especially if radio really capitalizes on its digital assets. I think there is always a possibility of getting back into mid-single digits. I think that will be challenging and radio faces incredible competition both for listeners and for advertisers,” Fratrik said.