The Average AM/FM Property Earned $362,250 In Digital Revenue Last Year


NEW YORK — Local radio stations hit the jackpot with digital sales last year, generating $1.5 billion, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s 10th annual benchmarking report on the industry’s digital activities.

Stations are poised to follow last year’s growth of 33% with another strong year, with digital sales forecast to grow 22%, approaching the $2 billion mark.

“The radio industry seems to have finally found its digital groove,” the RAB report, compiled by Borrell Associates and sponsored by Marketron, notes. The 47-page analysis covers the activity of more than 3,000 radio stations.

“The findings from this report highlight the rewarded efforts of stations’ digital offerings to drive results for local advertisers,” said RAB President/CEO Erica Farber. “The focus on the importance of digital training has produced dividends for stations and sellers alike. RAB continues to provide business and professional development training that will help stations to super-serve their local businesses.”

For Gordon Borrell, he was happy to report that Borrell Associates underestimated radio’s digital determination when last year’s report was published. He comments, “We predicted that radio would hit a double by increasing sales 18%. They hit a triple – maybe even a home run. It’s quite impressive, especially when you see that little stat that shows how digitally savvy radio sales reps are in the eyes of local advertisers.”

The annual report showed that the average station made $362,250 in digital revenue in 2021, and the average market cluster made $1.6 million.

Top-performing market clusters made more than $10 million, even in some of the smaller markets.

“The local radio salesperson is now the marketing expert in their community by bringing linear and digital solutions to advertisers that produce real, measurable results,” said Todd Kalman, SVP/Sales at Marketron. “In this report, you’ll find data and insights that position radio and digital together for new advertising opportunities in 2022.”

The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 10th annual report, “Finally, A Digital Bounty: Radio’s Digital Sales Rise 33%,” released today to RAB members. It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,645 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,107 local radio buyers and 256 radio managers.

Among the findings:

Advertisers now rate radio sellers higher than all competitors for marketing expertise.

• Advertisers now rate radio sellers on par with or higher than competitors for digital expertise.

• Nearly one in four station managers now deem their digital strategy “brilliant.”

• Eighty-eight percent of radio advertisers buy digital advertising, but only 46% buy it from their radio rep.

• Twice as many stations as last year say online-only reps are the best way to drive more sales.

• Virtual events didn’t stick in 2021; only 13% of stations are planning them this year.

• While 44% of stations have a local podcast, only 20% have one that produces revenue.