The Radio Advertising Bureau reports that total radio ad spending rose 1% to $4.728 billion during the first quarter of 2007. The gain, which came despite a 1% decline in radio ad spending during March, reflects mixed results for the medium. While local radio ad spending, the biggest source of revenues for the medium, was up 1% to $3.244 billion, demand from national advertisers ebbed during the quarter, dropping 1% to $945 million.
Meanwhile, MediaPost's Joe Mandese dissects the despressing trend:
The relatively flat performance of radio no doubt reflects weakness from its top ad category, automotive, which declined 2.6% from the first quarter of 2006, which was also down 10.0% from the first quarter of 2005. The attrition in automotive ad dollars appears to be coming mainly from the national side. Auto manufacturer spending declined 4.2% during the quarter, while auto dealer advertising actually rose 7.7% over the same quarter in 2006. On the plus side, some key categories are showing renewed radio advertising vigor. The communications/cellular/public utilities category rose 17.3%, as did concerts/theaters/movies, and health care rose 9.5% during the first quarter of 2007. Radio's relatively weak start in 2007 does not bode well for the medium, which like other major traditional media, are under pressure from ad budgets migrating to online. During 2006, radio share of total measured media spending fell 0.2 points to 7.4%, according to estimates compiled by TNS Media Intelligence.