Another Sign That Radio Declines May Be Over

New Forecast Predicts Slow But Welcome Growth, Fed in Part By Growing Online Operations

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NEW YORK ( -- The radio industry, one of the hardest-hit sectors of the media business in 2009, got another piece of good news today when a new forecast predicted not just a slight increase for 2010 but several years of compounding growth -- fueled partly by growing operations on the web.

Radio: 5 Year ForecastEnlarge
The predicted turnaround will be slight, leaving radio revenue in 2014 still shy of its 2008 level, but will be welcome nonetheless. The new forecast follows recent indications from other sources that radio's several years of revenue declines could finally end in 2010. It also joins broader forecasts suggesting that the worst is behind other media sectors as well.

After radio ad revenue fell 18.4% last year to $13.7 billion, it is poised this year to eke out a 1.5% gain, to $13.9 billion, according to the forecast from BIA/Kelsey, the consulting firm specializing in local media. But this year will also mark the beginning of several years' worth of annual growth at 2% to 4%, including increases in radio station revenue from untraditional sources such as the web.

"While the poor economy held it down momentarily, radio is coming back to demonstrate that it is an important advertising vehicle, particularly in local media markets," Mark R. Fratrik, VP at BIA/Kelsey, said in the forecast. "The industry will continue to grow its online revenues in 2010 as increasingly more progressive radio groups recognize they are more than just over-the-air transmitters and begin to integrate cross-platform promotions with their broadcast and web operations."

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