Canadian radio was up before recession

Job cuts, other measures being weighed during downturn

TORONTO -- Canadian private radio stations enjoyed increases in both revenue and profits before they hit severe turbulence in the fall caused by the recession, the country's broadcast regulator said Friday.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission unveiled financial data for private commercial radio stations that points to CAN$1.58 billion ($1.44 billion) in revenue generated to Aug. 31, or up 5% from 2007 levels. Pretax profits for the last reporting year came to CAN$335 million ($305.5 million), against a year-earlier CAN$299 million.

The CRTC also reported that local advertisers put CAN$1.14 billion ($1.04 billion) into radio station coffers last year, up from CAN$1.09 billion in 2007. National advertising sales jumped to CAN$406 million ($370 million), against a year-earlier CAN$379 million.

But the CRTC ominously said its latest report "does not reflect the subsequent worldwide economic downturn and the accompanying decline in advertising revenues."

Canadian AM and FM radio stations, most of which are part of vertically integrated companies, have begun job- and cost-cutting measures to weather the market downturn.