With 2017 fading into the history books, the radio industry is looking ahead to a brighter 2018. Based on Inside Radio’s Year-End Readers Poll, revenue growth of mid-to-high single digits is the goal for a majority of radio stations next year. When it comes to 2018 budgets, one third of poll takers say they’re aiming for station or cluster revenue to grow by 4%-6% in 2018, higher than any other choice. Another 22% expect billings to grow by 1%-3%. But one in five participants in our unscientific poll (20%) project revenue will grow by 7%-10% and another 11% anticipate revenue growth of 11% or greater.
Digital and sales initiatives are primed to receive the biggest investments from radio in 2018. More than half of respondents (56%) said their station will allocate more resources to their digital assets in 2018, followed by general sales initiatives at 50%. Events (38%) and programming (28%) are also teed up for additional allocations in 2018.
Radio has been a success for over 100 years. It's a proven medium, not a traditional medium. Sixty five percent of Americans will listen to their radios today. Ninety two percent this week. More homes have radios than have TVs. Radio is the No. 1 medium of music discovery. Spotify and SiriusXM call themselves “radio” because that is what they would like to be. It seems that nobody has a problem with the medium of radio except radio people. The handwringing at conventions, conferences and in the trades is epic. There is a profound gap between the reality of radio’s success as a medium and the actions of people in the radio business. What is the inside-industry problem and how can it be solved? What follows are a few no-nonsense, common-sense suggestions.