Radio sales growth hasn't been going through the roof, but, for the first five months of the year, ad revenues were up 3% (that's combined local and national dollars) vs. the same period last year, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Local revenue was up 2% while national revenue grew 6%.
April's combined national and local revenues increased just 1% over the same period last year, however. And, with May tracking equally thin, radio insiders are hoping for a sales spurt this summer to make third-quarter totals a bit healthier.
Both sellers and buyers are forecasting ad-spending growth for the summer months. "From a national perspective, April and May were soft," says Stu Olds, president, Katz Media, "with only low-single-digit increases. But I think we'll see double-digit growth in June, with national gaining 8%-10%."
He says the automotive, entertainment and retail categories will be particularly strong in the third and fourth quarters.
Marc Guild, president of Interep's marketing division, concurs. "The summer months are getting red hot," he says. "Stores are having incredible discounts to advertise."
Guild also sees bigger gains for the second half of the year, somewhere between 6% and 8%.
And summer sales are growing brisk for Randi Soodak, senior buyer, LCI. "A lot of auto money is coming in," she says.
Dennis McGuire, VP/regional brands, Carat (which represents Hyundai and Kia) notes that, although April "was not good," May was better. He down-plays the notion that, for the summer months, ad prices will soar. Rates are still "very negotiable," he says.