That’s the good news. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau and Nielsen Monitor-Plus, 26.3K political spots have been bought on radio stations in the first half of 2007, a 17% gain over 2005’s 22.5K total. But when looking at overall revenue results for the second quarter and the first half of 2007, the fact that RAB chose to highlight Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. figures on non-spot gains is actually bad news, in that the industry organization is avoiding to key local, national and network figures. But it must be noted that non-spot business is in fact making a noticeable impact on radio’s bottom line. But here’s the ugliness: Local, national and network were down 2% apiece in Q2. But a 16% surge in non-spot was able to reduce the damage to only minus 1% overall for the quarter. For the first half of the year, local is down 1% and national is down 3%. Network, however, it 3% in the black, and non-spot is up 12%. The end result is flat, on par with the first half of 2006. RAB said that important ad growth categories include communications/cell/public utilities, insurance, professional services and concerts/theaters/movies.
RBR/TVBR observation: If radio can keep on taking a bigger slice of the political pie, that may help inject a little black ink into 2008. The medium may also benefit from spillover from regular television users who are forced to seek alternative means to get their message out in battleground areas where TV becomes inundated with political ads.