That’s because so much debris is falling. In point of fact, the radio business posted significantly better September revenues year-over-year than it did in August, but the bottom line loss of -8% does more to underscore just how bad August was. The bottom line was arrived at via a different route than the other two months in Q3 this year, when national was the loss leader. This time, local business was off the most at -10%, with national only experiencing a -7% decline for a spot total of -9%. The astounding result for the month was the newly renamed off-air category, which dipped -1% compared to September 2007, the first time we can ever remember seeing that category spelled out in red ink. The numbers are from the Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller Kaplan Arase & Company.
The -8% bottom line for September was actually good compared to August, when the industry posted a -11% drop. July results were down -6%, meaning the quarter is tracking toward an overall -8% loss.
The September results were unfortunately built upon the carcass of a bad September 2007, which was down -7%, while Q3 2007 was off -5%. Normally, such numbers would be considered favorable comps, particularly with whatever booster shot is available from the political category. Instead, it only serves to underscore the challenges facing the industry going forward.
RBR/TVBR observation: We’ve seen a recent survey showing that radio is holding its audience. But businesses everywhere are hurting. They are going to hurt even more, however, if they don’t keep their name out before the public. Now more than ever, it is time to target television and newspapers users who may be looking for a more efficient advertising vehicle.