Although 62% of respondents said they are currently accepting ads from hard-liquor marketers, even more stations, 81%, plan to boost revenue from the spirits category, primarily by increasing on-air advertising, in addition to ramping up event and Internet sponsorships.
The RAB estimated liquor advertising represents approximately $100 million in revenue annually for the radio industry.
The majority, 60%, of radio stations surveyed have been accepting liquor ads for more than a year. But the the number of stations soliciting liquor commercials has increased recently, with 26% of respondents stating they have been exploring the category
The spirit industry broke its 48-year-old self-imposed broadcast ban in 1996 when the Joseph E. Seagram Co. aired an ad for Crown Royal on an NBC affiliate in Texas. Since then most liquor marketers have gone to TV with their most popular products, though radio carries even more brands.
Of the stations surveyed, 14% said they advertise more than four liquor brands on air.
The primary reason cited for not accepting liquor ads was company policy. Of those stations that do not air spirits spots, 51% said the ban was dictated by the company; 26% said liquor ads would upset loyal listeners; 24% said the station did not know how to break into the category; and 24% said they thought advertising hard alcohol was illegal.