Radio Likes Second Half


Radio revenues are growing as second-half numbers come in.

Stu Olds, CEO Katz Media Group, citing Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) rep reports, notes, "National spot was up 13% in June. August is pacing up 13.5%, and September forward is pacing up double digits."

Tim Wallace, managing director, UBS broadcast research, forecasts total radio revenues up 2.5% in the third quarter and 3% the in fourth quarter, with total 2003 numbers rising 2.8% over 2002.

These positive second half reports follow an RAB release showing, on a year-to-date basis, January-to-June revenue in the national sector up 7% and local dollars inching up 1% despite a flat June. According to the RAB, combined local and national sales figures for the first half climbed 3% over first half 2002.

"Third quarter will probably finish up 5% for network radio," says Traug Keller, president, ABC Radio Network. "And fourth quarter looks like it's tracking in the high single digits. September looks strong across the board, in auto, back-to-school and pharmaceuticals. But what's really huge is tune-in advertising coming from both broadcast and cable."

Dennis McGuire, VP/regional broadcast director, Carat, agrees but adds a warning. Carat clients such as CBS, UPN, MTV, VH1 and Nick, he says, are putting increased dollars into tune-in spots in September, but he's worried about "unfair" pod placement.

"The big bone of contention last year was that spots often ran back to back," he says. "This year, we're asking for good separation between spots in a single pod." He says e-mailed station groups months ago asking for a pledge to "police those pods."