Radio Industry Revenues Continue to Slide Downward in 2008; BIA Financial Network Expects -7% Growth, Moving Lower in 2009 : Revenue Decrease More Dramatic Than Last Year; Online Digital Strategies Offer Potential for Industry Turnaround

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By the end of 2008 the radio industry will have experienced its second year of negative growth by tripling station revenue losses to -7 percent, according to the estimates of BIA Advisory Services (, a leading financial and strategic consulting firm serving the media and communications industries. BIA’s fourth edition of the quarterly Investing In Radio® Market Report ( also reports that 641 stations have been sold in transactions valued at $698 million from January through October 2008, a -34 percent change from the same period in 2007 in the number of stations sold and a -44 percent in the value. When the year ends, this will be the lowest level since 1992.

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There exists a wait and see perspective from sellers and buyers simply because of current station valuations and the hope that things won't get worse.

BIA estimates radio station revenues will hit $16.7 billion in 2008, the lowest in more than five years and the beginning of a downward spiral that will go as low as $15 billion next year before possibly rebounding in the next decade. Investing In Radio® Market Report illustrates that revenue percentages will fall another 10 percent in 2009 yet will have a chance for positive growth by 2010.

"The already low forecasts for growth in radio coupled with a generally dismal economic climate have also placed a particular strain on the valuations radio stations need to maintain their financing or to be sold," said Mark R. Fratrik, Ph.D., Vice President, BIA Advisory Services. "The waters are very rough right now but the general profitability of radio keeps us optimistic that the industry will weather the storm providing it strategically invests in its online presence, which will prove to be its rescue as ad budgets continue to shift to more measurable online media."

(A chart showing the historic and projected radio revenue growths in Arbitron markets from 2002 through 2012, including BIA's expectations for the coming four years, is available at:

"Last year's period of strategic acquisitions may have led to this year's shutdown of any significant transactional activity," said Dr. Fratrik. "There exists a wait and see perspective from sellers and buyers simply because of current station valuations and the hope that things won't get worse."

Radio's future relies heavily on its embrace of new media and mobile technologies and local advertisers. This was recently the subject of a panel led by Rick Ducey, BIA's chief strategy officer, at the November "Interactive Local Media Conference," organized by BIA's The Kelsey Group. The consensus among the panelists was that online and traditional media are blending together, offering a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a multiplatform approach to delivering content to mass and niche audiences. For example, the panel discussed how CBS Radio, NBC and Comcast collaborated on a successful Great Used Car Sale Campaign in Chicago utilizing the different forums these competitive firms offer. The 10-day event generated 26 million online impressions. Going forward, radio can certainly embrace similar strategies to extend its presence in more sophisticated ways.

BIA's fourth edition of Investing In Radio® Market Report has introduced information on shares for 10 markets that now have audience estimates from Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM). IIR also contains detailed information on HD multicast stations in each market. The final edition of the year includes BIA's forecast for 2009 with a detailed recap of 2008.

A comprehensive profile of all 299 radio markets is available in the fourth edition of the quarterly Investing In Radio® Market Report published by BIA. The publication is part of the Investing In financial guide series that includes market trend analysis, demographic and economic overviews, competitive overviews, technical data, ownership data, pending and completed transactions, and Arbitron ratings. Information on these publications is available on the BIA website at

BIA also publishes investment reference guides and provides data services for the television and newspaper industries. For more information, call 800.331.5086 or email

About BIA Advisory Services, LLC

BIA Advisory Services, LLC, a subsidiary of BIA Financial Network, provides research, data, analysis, and financial and strategic consulting to media, telecommunications, technology, directory publishing, and local search companies. BIA Advisory Services includes: The Kelsey Group, experts in traditional and online local media and advertising; BIA Research, providers of competitive and comparative market information and analysis through data services, specialized reporting, engineering studies and mapping; and, BIA Consulting, specialists in business intelligence and corporate growth strategy, and the nation's leading communications appraisal and valuation firm. Additional information is available at BIA's blog is located at and the company can be found on Twitter through

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Robert Udowitz
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