US-based radio stations suffered a difficult first quarter, according to figures released by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The group reported a decline of 24 percent to $3.43 billion during the three-month period, thanks to serious advertising drops.
A major part of the fall came from local stations, a group that collectively shed 26 percent to $2.4 billion. Nationwide, network buys slipped 27 percent to $473 million. On a more positive note, revenues from station websites actually gained 13 percent to $101 million, despite a generally distressed online climate.
So why the pronounced downturn? Advertisers are clearly reducing their spending, and automotive as a category slipped from its first-place perch to number four. But the automotive sector was mixed, suggesting greater pain ahead. During the period, GM actually increased its advertising, as did Volvo, Audi, and BMW. Meanwhile, lower-cost categories like pre-paid cellular operators and fast food chains bumped their spending, and assumed top-ranked positions as a result.