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Local Radio Stations Now Rank Fifth Most Significant Local Advertising Platform as Overall Ad Revenue Dipped Slightly from Prior Year to $13.87 B in 2017

Apr 5, 2018

Two new BIA Reports examine the state of the radio industry to explain the effect of new audio competition, audience levels, programming trends, transactions and provide market profiles of Nielsen Audio-rated stations

CHANTILLY, Va. (April 5, 2018) – The digital advertising income of U.S. radio stations had a decent rise in 2017, as the industry reported a 9.7% percent increase in online revenues, compared with a slight decline in over-the-air income of 2.0 percent, according to the first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2018 Investing In Radio® Market Report. Overall the industry experienced a 0.2% drop from 2016 to end the year at $13.87 billion. In terms of transactions, the volume was the highest since 2011, with 752 stations being sold at a value of $3.32 billion.

“Although local radio stations are still important players in their local markets, we do not expect the over-the-air advertising revenue of U.S. radio stations to grow much this year or in the near future,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA Advisory Services. “There is an unprecedented number of new audio entertainment and information sources and new advertising platforms competing with radio, including many that are unregulated. It’s an aggressive environment that competes for audiences with local radio.”


BIA examines the hurdles and continuing value of the radio industry in the newly published state-of-the-industry report, Market Assessment and Opportunities for Local Radio: 2018-2022. The report includes analysis on where radio is positioned in the competitive landscape, the effect of digital competition and the variety of new revenue streams the industry is embracing such as podcasting and streaming. The report also explores how radio is improving its sound and quality with multicast signals and FM Translators.

As Fratrik explains, “The radio industry is attempting to build out digital channels to reach local communities, but they are also focused on overall platform improvements. Opportunities for local radio stations include the further adoption of HD Radio technology to transmit their programming and add subchannels for additional programming. With car manufacturers including HD Radio receivers in their new cars, radio has a fresh opportunity to impress advertisers and consumers.”

According to BIA data, as of January 2018, 211 AM and 1,980 FM stations were broadcasting an HD Radio signal.

Another strong opportunity being employed is the increased use of FM translators for rebroadcasting AM signals. Finally, other new technologies including NextRadio opens up new avenues for revenue growth.

About the Reports

Market Assessment and Opportunities for Local Radio: 2018-2022 covers regulatory issues, advertising revenues, advertiser satisfaction, audience demographics, programming trends and content, maturing digital platforms and local radio opportunities.

Other topics covered in this state-of-the-industry report includes:

  • Capital markets views on the radio industry
  • Audience analytics as related to connected cars, podcasting, live streaming, smart speakers
  • Technology initiatives to combat new entrants
  • Competitive advertising market including top verticals utilizing radio
  • Popularity of formats
  • Increased use of FM translators by AM stations

Download the executive summary of the report here. The report can be purchased here.

The 2018 first-quarter edition of Investing In Radio® Market Report provides a complete profile of every Nielsen Audio market, with historic and projected demographic and financial statistics. It is available for purchase online. The report can be purchased here.

Also available is the Investing In Radio® 2018 Ownership Report that delivers a detailed analysis and guide of all owners in the Nielsen Audio rated markets and non-rated markets. The report can be purchased here.

More Local Market Forecasts

In addition to its radio, television and newspaper industry forecasts, BIA offers both nationwide and local market advertising forecasts in its data platform, BIA ADVantage, which includes the forecast included in the Investing In Radio publication, offering subscribers a direct view of national and local market ad spending. For more details, email

About BIA Advisory Services

BIA Advisory Services is the leading authority for data-centered research, analysis, strategic consulting and valuation services for the local media industry. Since 1983, BIA has been a valuable resource for traditional and digital media companies, brands and agencies, the financial and legal community serving media and telecom, as well as the FCC and other government agencies. Today, we offer comprehensive local market advertising intelligence in our BIA ADVantage data platform combined with analyst insights, actionable strategies and business financial assessments to help clients discover their best opportunities. Learn more about our offerings and our regional event series, LOCAL IMPACT, at our website

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