Friday, February 11, 2011

Rebirth of Radio?

The industry that pays me the most is the radio industry. Been in it since I was a teenager with a couple of breaks but for the past 8 years, I've worked for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana handling advertising sales, campaign management, and the occasional talk show host.

Of all the folks in the building, there are 5 air staff that have been here longer than me, otherwise, I'm the senior dude.

I've seen good times, and lean times, and 2010 turned out to be a good year, with 2011 looking even better already. And it's not just us:

Print Has a Pulse, But Radio Has a Rebirth
According to the STRATA quarterly survey of media buyers, 24% of agencies' clients are more focused on radio, up from 17% in the prior quarter. The number of agencies reporting they are spending less on radio is off by half, with 17% trimming radio budgets compared to 34% who said that three months ago.

The survey of advertising agency buying teams finds fewer are cutting radio budgets, and client interest in the medium is growing. The report notes that the top three media, television, Internet and radio, appear to be the breakout hits of the advertising recovery.

Areas Of Client Focus

Most Focused

% of Respondents

Spot TV




Spot radio




Network TV


Network cable


Spot cable




Source: Inside Radio/RAB, January 2011

J.D. Miller, STRATA marketing chief, says "... classifying the advertising avenue that agency clients are most focused on... TV remains at the top followed by digital... But survey takers were surprised with #3: radio... 16% of clients rate radio as their top pick, compared to 9% who said that in the prior quarter's survey... "
Spot Radio Focus (% of Respondents; Compared to Previous Year):

  • 24% more than last year
  • 17% less than last year
  • 59% same as last year

Though there's a considerable drop off of interest in other media, notes the report, print ranks fourth, with 7% of clients making it their top pick. Miller says "... print has a pulse... it was almost nonexistent, now it has a pulse... "
STRATA president/CEO John Shelton says, "Advertisers are finally feeling more confident about the economy... " 51% of buyers surveyed in the study say their agency is seeing improving business, up from a low of 23% during the 2008 economic meltdown.

That confidence is manifesting itself in a surprising way, says the report. As budgets come back, buyers appear to be more interested in traditional advertising like television and radio, with demand for digital advertising going in the other direction. But Shelton notes that "... while (digital) is still hot, it is used more in a solid media mix... "
The most popular digital menu items are website display ads, social media and search, but just 29% of buyers say they're buying mobile ads. Among those who are, mobile display is the preferred format with SMS text ads fading fast, with just 15% of agency buyers say they're on their radar in 2011.
For additional information from Inside Radio, please visit the RAB here.

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