Posted June 16, 2009 8:34 am by with 5 comments

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Car RadioWhile likely to be no surprise, the Wall Street Journal reports that radio ad revenues have fallen sharply along with just about anything else that has the word advertising attached to it. That is unless you are in some sectors of Internet advertising and even then it depends on who is doing the research to supply data that determines whether that is true or not.

It looks like the Internet and all of those who participate in the commercialization of it (i.e. advertising, marketing and general trouble making) are responsible for the end of the media world as we know it.

….intensifying competition for listeners, from satellite radio and the Internet, helped slow growth in advertising. The recession sent revenues off a cliff. Station ad revenues fell 7.8% in 2008 and are expected to drop a further 15% this year, estimates consultant BIA Financial Network.

There is a bright spot, however, in the radio world. The smaller market stations that can be more locally focused, while still suffering, are not hurting as badly and have prospects for future success. Makes sense considering the noise that local search has been making lately. Maybe there are ways to make nice and play together on a local level for the small business owner. Covering one’s bases with an inexpensive, targeted radio campaign that gets the message out thus supporting when people search for local solutions makes good sense.

The key element will be the not just radio stations that survive but those who thrive and the small markets are looking to be the most likely prospects for that to happen.

……the best positioned broadcasters may be those exposed to smaller markets, where competition for ad dollars is less. Average revenue at stations in markets below the top 50 fell 6.6% last year compared with around 9% for bigger stations, BIA estimates. It projects smaller stations will continue outperforming through 2013.

One thing that is interesting about that statement is that the competition for ad dollars is less. That is probably more relative in reality. There are not a lot of small businesses right now that are flush with ad spend that has nowhere to go. Just because there are less places to advertise doesn’t necessarily translate to the advertising dollars being there regardless of how many different channels want a slice of the small business ad pie.

So Pilgrims, what’s your view of radio? Is it still viable? If so, in what form or format? How does it play in your ad spend alongside of dwindling print opportunities and abundant Internet options? Is there a future for radio?