Radio revenue resurgence extends into Q4


The Radio Advertising Bureau is reporting a 7% gain in radio revenue for the fourth quarter of 2010, enough to bring the entire year home with a 6% gain over 2009. Total revenues made it to almost $4.6B for the quarter and almost $17.3B for the year.

RAB did not break spot revenue into local and national. However, the all-important category stated in combination perfectly mirrored the results for both the quarter and the year at plus 7% and plus 6% respectively.

The return of spending from automotive categories, including dealers, dealer groups and manufacturers, was a key driver for the year. They were the number one category, and increased their radio expenditure by 22% in both Q4 and the year as a whole.

Revenue $Q4 2010 % change $FY 2010 % change
Spot 3,747 7% 14,181 6%
Network 297 3% 1,102 3%
Digital 172 29% 615 24%
Off-air 373 8% 1,389 3%
Total 4,589 7% 17,287 6%
* Dollars in millions        
Source: Radio Advertising Bureau, Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.

The top five categories for the year were:

* Auto Dealers/Dealer Groups/Manufacturers, $1,808B

* Communications/Cellular, $1,610B

* Restaurants, $1,342B

* Television/Networks/Cable Providers, $1,333B

* Financial Services, $1,333B

Other big gainers included grocery and convenience stores, up 16% to $1.097B, department/discount stores and shopping centers, up 15% to $655M, and professional services, up 19% to $593M.

Political accounted for $105.2M in spending, with 49% of that total coming in the fourth quarter.

RBR-TVBR observation: Getting positive comps isn’t that hard when going up against numbers posted at the bottom of a down cycle. Don’t get us wrong – it beats the living crap out of digging down even deeper. But we’ll believe radio is on the right path if it keeps the comps in the black throughout 2011.