Radio Industry Revenue Increases 6% in 2010

The sector reported its first year-over-year improvement since 2006.

NEW YORK - After three years of decline, the radio industry returned to revenue growth last year as an improving economy, elections and rebounding auto makers boosted advertising results.

Radio revenue rose 6 percent, its biggest annual growth rate in more than a decade, from $16 billion to nearly $17.3 billion, the Radio Advertising Bureau said Friday.

The gain came after an 18 percent drop in 2009, a 9 percent decline in 2008 and a 2 percent decrease in 2007, according to the RAB. In 2006, radio revenue had grown 1 percent to $21.7 billion.

"Coming off solid results through the first three quarters of 2010, radio's 7 percent increase in the fourth quarter and full-year gain of 6 percent cap the year on a strong note - the best comparative figures we've seen in over a decade," said RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley.

For the full year 2010, spot ad revenue rose 6 percent. The auto ad category regained the top spot for spot spending with a 22 percent gain for the year to $1.8 billion.

Within the markets covered by accounting firm Miller Kaplan, 2010 political spending totaled $105.2 million with the fourth quarter accounting for 49 percent of that.