Thursday, April 2, 2009

Boston radio saw big revenue declines in 2008

Everyone knows 2008 was a very rough year for radio advertising, but its annual "Investing In Radio" market revenue report just released by the Virginia-based media research group BIA Advisory Services,LLC (a subsidiary of BIA Financial Network,Inc) shows just how bad it really was.

Boston radio landscape saw its total revenues slip 8 percent in 2008 over 2007 and only a handful of major stations made more money in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to BIA's estimates. Market revenue dropped below $300 million mark last year - $283.7 million. The rest of Boston major commercial stations saw their annual revenue decline, the report says.

News/Talk station WBZ AM 1030 still generated the most revenue in Boston radio - $31.7 million in 2008 - but the station was down $2.8 million from its 2007 revenues, according to BIA's estimates.

Revenue for each of the five Boston stations(WBZ AM 1030, WBMX 98.5FM, WODS 103.3FM, WBCN 104.1FM and WZLX 100.7FM) owned by media conglomerate CBS Corp also dipped last year. However, CBS stations still led the market in a combined revenue representing 33% of the entire Boston radio pie. WBCN 104.1FM which dropped shock jocks “Opie and Anthony” from mornings in December, saw the biggest revenue drop in the local CBS cluster - from $17.55 million in 2007 to $15.1 million in 2008.

But news wasn't all bad for CBS. Although WBCN's revenues dipped, its "power ratio" went up significantly. A power ratio is the complicated formula BIA uses to determine a station's ability to translate ratings into revenue. BIA gave WBCN a 1.90 ratio for 2008, up from 1.74 in 2007. WBCN maintained the highest power ratio among all commercial stations in the Boston market. Meanwhile, WBCN’s clustermate WBMX 98.5FM had the second highest power ratio with 1.66 and was CBS’ best local performer as far as gains and losses went. WBMX’s showed only a modest drop - from $17.9 million in 2007 to $17.4 million in 2008.

A station that saw the biggest decline in the BIA's report was Greater Media-owned WBOS 92.9FM which flipped from AAA to an automated modern rock Radio 92.9 format last winter – falling from $8.2 million to $3.650 million.

The stations that saw their revenues rise last year recorded only modest gains.

Entercom’s money machine WEEI AM 850 earned $31.2 million in 2008 or $200,000 more than in 2007 and good enough for the 2nd highest revenue earner behind WBZ AM. Northeast Broadcasting’s WXRV 92.5FM/The River bounced from $4.45 million to $4.6 million. And, in the battle of the talk stations, WTKK 96.9FM generated $9.525 million in 2008 compared to $9.250 in 2007 while its nemesis WRKO AM 680 saw its revenue decline from $8.2 million to $7.6 million.

Here are Top 10 Boston stations ranked by revenue estimates in 2008

(Source : BIA Advisory Services)

BRW Notebook :

G...20....Bingo! : WTKK 96.9's midday host Michael Graham has been doing his show(9am-Noon) from Northern Europe for the past couple days As President Barack Obama attends the G20 summit in London, Graham's show is broadcasting from the Dublin studios of Ireland's national NewsTalk network where he has been a guest fill-in on George Hook's program since 2005.

Talking the Talk : While on the talk radio beat, WTKK's
Jay Severin and WRKO's Howie Carr have been named one of America's Top 25 local talk hosts by NewsMax Magazine it was announced this morning.

Mike does good things : WMKK/Mike 93-7 has announced that is teameing up with "The Life is Good" Company to present the annual Life is good® Festival at the Boston Common on June 20, 2009 to benefit Project Joy. This is the third year that Mike-FM has supported the event as the exclusive radio partner

The new frontier : Speaking of recognition, Boston sports journalist Danny Picard has been named to Talkers Magazine's "The Frontier Fifty: A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters” list of web-based broadcasters. Picard's
"I'm Just Sayin'..." sports talk show is heard on the network as well as WBNW AM 1120 where it's been airing in the 6-8pm slot since January. In a related note, as WBNW transitions to a brand new, state-of-the-art, digital studio at the same Needham location, "I'm Just Sayin'..." will be moving to an earlier 4-6pm slot replacing CNN's Lou Dobbs show in the next couple weeks.

Radio bailout : WAAF 107.3FM will kick off its own version of the bailout plan next week when the station begins giving away $1,000 bailout checks three times daily. Listeners can enter to win at Bailout recipients will be announced three times each weekday (9 AM, 2 PM and 5 PM), through April 17, 2009, and listeners will have thirty minutes to call the station to claim their checks.

The station also announced that Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis will return to the airwaves during the upcoming MLB season for the second consecutive year. “Youk” will appear on the Hill-Man morning show on the morning of the home opener. Following that, he is scheduled to call in every Wednesday at 8:40 AM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look at the revenue. Radio as we know it is dying.
Most of the big players are over mortgaged, and cannot afford (or are unwilling), to produce quality content and are shriveling as a result.
In all honesty, I think radio is just dying, and over the next 40 years or so, we will watch radio slowly fade away, and we will all gradually move on and find other jobs with less and less people every year taking our places.
Our children will not listen to the radio, and our childrens children likely wont even know what a radio is.
Sad but true statement.