Inside Radio’s Jim Boyle is the bringer of good tidings this week. His latest post gives a detailed breakdown and analysis of the financial trending, one that I highly recommend taking a look at. It is his opening paragraph that pretty well sums up the current state of radio revenues:
For the first time in 31 months, radio saw some sunlight in December in the form of positive revenue growth. Radio sector revenue was up 2%. A big hint of the upturn arrived when the largest radio station group, Clear Channel, noted its December bookings had entered positive territory mid-way through the month. Although the economy had stabilized and some inflection points cropped up, financial types downplayed the positive indicators, suggesting that while the bottom was likely past, the recession’s effects still lingered. Yes, December was fuelled by easy comparisons, but 2010’s easy comparisons are typically 10-percentage points easier. That means radio industry revenue levels should benefit from dramatically stronger mathematical tailwinds. While it isn’t time to crack open the champagne just yet, it may be time to put some magnums on ice to chill.
Indeed, despite prognostication by detractors, radio seems to be bouncing back while at the same time newspapers are still down twenty percentage points. Mr. Boyle then dives deep into the number showing the breadth and depth of improvement and exactly where within the industry it is occurring.
He also examines the ongoing trend of smaller radio markets outperforming the large ones. In the years since 2005, small markets have experienced about half the decline that large ones have. [11% vs 22% for large markets.]
The economy is still on the rocks, job losses are constantly in the headlines as are property foreclosures, but even so the big picture is brightening. It may be a little bit before we can crack those bottles, but I say, “Yes, throw the champagne in to chill!”