Radio ad revenue makes gains

Networks, cable providers increase Q1 spending by 23%

The radio industry was touting a healthy recovery Wednesday, based on a first quarter that saw advertising revenue rise 6% year-over-year, the biggest gain in three years.

The Radio Advertising Bureau said local ad revenue was up 2%, and national grew 19%. With network, digital and off-air advertising thrown in, revenue in the first quarter grew 6% to $3.7 billion.

"Radio's momentum is outpacing that of other traditional media," RAB chief Jeff Haley said. "First-quarter results prove that advertisers have found and, in many instances, rediscovered radio."

The biggest category of radio advertisers during the quarter encompassed communications/cellular and public utilities, which spent $351 million. The next largest category was TV networks and cable providers, up 23% to $276 million.

In the latter category, Comcast increased its spending 32% to $61 million, ABC increased radio ad spending 105% to $32 million and USA Network 429% to $12 million.

Looking at the past 2 1/2 years on a monthly basis, the radio industry's ad revenue has been on a slow but steady recovery since May 2009, when it was down 25% from May 2008.
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