White hot radio gains 6% in 2007


Here’s our advice – let’s hold the next NAB Radio Show in Ottawa. Somehow, the seemingly never-ending radio slump is nothing more than a fairy tale north of the border, where radio shrugged off satellite, online and digital portable distractions on the way to increasing its revenues by 6%, according to Statistics Canada. Even the large markets participated in the bounty. Large markets picked up 4%, other metropolitan areas picked up 8.3% and “non-census” metropolitan areas were up 7.4%.

Total income was $1.473B. AM stations accounted for $320M of that, a 2.1% uptick over 2006, with FM bringing in the remaining $1.153B for a 7.1% gain. StatsCan said that relaxed ownership rules helped fuel the success of the medium in the face of ever increasing competition from new audio sources; also, operators were learning to transfer popular AM programming over the more accessible FM homes. The dereg changes up there went into effect in 1998, only two years after Telecom 1996.

RBR/TVBR observation: We’ve never paid much attention to the Canadian economy. We have simply guessed that it more or less goes in lock-step with our own. At any rate, the medium’s success has surprised not just us, but at least one Canadian analyst who had been predicting doom and gloom with iPods holding the murder weapon. The analyst, however, suspects the inevitable decline will come unless the Canadian government liberalizes content rules to allow more operating room for edgy shock jocks.