News Articles

Happy New Year, Says RAB's Fries

1/19/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

In the past 60 days, radio advertising has been moving "out of a downturn into recovery and towards stability," according to Gary Fries, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau. "Pacing in 2003 sees January numbers up 11%, February up 14% and March up 10%."

Katz Media Group CEO Stu Olds feels it: "Radio is off to a great start in 2003, up in seven of its top 10 categories." In particular, January '03 increases in automotive are "huge," up 85% over 2002. Likewise, retail is up 40%, and entertainment is up 28%.

"Getting off to such a good start early on," says Olds, "means a greater demand on inventory, which drives prices up."

Three categories are trending down: consumer products, telcom and travel.

The increases go against very soft numbers felt in early 2002. In the first quarter last year, says Olds, national spot growth was a mere 0.01%. It wasn't until the third and fourth quarter, with increases of 16% and 25%, respectively, that radio spot began to revive.

Indeed, says Horizon Executive Vice President, Broadcast, Aaron Cohen, "the recently completed [network] radio upfront was only somewhat more substantial than 2002." He sees an "OK year" ahead, "not a great year."

But "network radio is a very small piece of the pie," counters RAB's Fries.

Meanwhile, Reyn Leutz, senior partner at MindShare, confirms that the media-buying group will withhold the $60 million it spends annually on network radio from syndicators that do not place at least some of their programming into RADAR (Radio All Dimension Audience Research)'s measurement by end of the year.