"It's a superb year for all radio right now," says Jim Duncan, president of Duncan's American Radio. "Industry revenues are up about 9% or 10%, and that's after a 9% increase last year. We've got a slight chance to reach $10 billion in station revenues this year."
Between 1980 and 1992, radio ad revenues tripled to $8.7 billion.
Versatility seems to be a key to the medium's ability to thrive. In markets inundated by numerous stations and formats of every ilk and spoken language, national and local advertisers can virtually pinpoint the consumers of their products, as is especially evident in the No. 3 market, Miami-Fort Lauderdale.
Conversely, in a radio market such as Houston, with comparatively few stations, advertisers don't have as much clutter to cut through to get their messages heard. In addition, the price of radio time makes it worthwhile for an advertiser to buy frequency on more stations.
While many decry the nation's poverty of mass transit, radio rejoices. Hundreds of thousands of commuters stuck in traffic for an hour or more a day are valuable for radio advertisers.
For its selection of the five hottest radio markets, Advertising Age studied gross radio revenues in major markets, divided by the number of households per market. That determined gross radio revenues per household.
The sources used included Duncan's Radio Market Guide and Arbitron Co. data.
The hottest markets should be viewed in relative terms-how they measure up against each other. But, as these profiles show, each market has its own special edge it offers advertisers.
This section was edited by Nancy Coltun Webster; Research Editor Kevin Brown analyzed the data.