Radio’s Resurgence Spans Across Categories and Revenue Sectors

Automotive Category Closes 2010 At #1


New York, New York - February 18, 2011 - Radio's consistent 2010 growth culminated with a year-over-year increase of 6% to $17.3B.

"Coming off solid results through the first three quarters of 2010, Radio's 7% increase in Q4 and full-year gain of 6% cap the year on a strong note - the best comparative figures we've seen in over a decade," says RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley.


For the full year, spending in the Digital sector increased 24% and Spot revenue rose 6%. As anticipated, the key Automotive category regained the #1 rank for Spot spending, powered by 22% comp period increases for both Q4 and total year.

Radio's top five categories ranked by 2010 full-year spending are:
  • Auto Dealers/Dealer Groups/Manufacturers
  • Communications/Cellular
  • Restaurants
  • Television/Networks/Cable Providers
  • Financial Services

With major Radio ad categories posting sales growth and continuing to compete for consumer spending as the U.S. economy expands, Radio has momentum and is poised to build in 2011.

"Increases across multiple Radio categories are indicative of advertisers' confidence in the medium" says Haley. "Radio's top ten advertisers for 2010 spent over $2.6 billion and collectively increased their year-over-year spend by $309 million."

Communications giants AT&T and Verizon Wireless top the list of Radio's leading spot advertisers for the full year 2010:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon Wireless
  • McDonald's
  • Comcast Cable
  • Safeway
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Toyota Dealer Association
  • Walmart
  • Chrysler Group LLC


Political proved to be an important category for Radio across all sectors. Within the Miller Kaplan markets, 2010 political spending for the year totaled $105.2M - with spikes in the Q4 national election period accounting for 49% of the total year spending. Political candidate campaign spending led both Q4 and the full year - $24.0M and $50.8M respectively.

2010 Political Spending Across Spot Radio in Millions

Source: Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.

Government agencies’ Network Radio sector spending totaled $7.5M for Q4 and $23.1M by year end, was led by three government agencies: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Census Bureau and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Breakout is as follows: NHTSA #1 for 2010, with $3.8M; U.S. Census Bureau with $3.3M followed by CMS with $2.9M.

*Spot Radio, Digital and Off-Air revenues are based on a pool of more than 100 markets as reported by the accounting firm of Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. and extrapolated to the entire U.S.  Digital Revenue is comprised from activity generated by websites, Internet/web streaming and HD Radio including HD2 and HD3 stations.  Network Revenue includes the top five Radio network companies. Non-Spot data has been collected and verified since January of 2002, and reported since September of 2004. 

The Radio Advertising Bureau serves more than 6,000 member Radio stations in the U.S. and over 1,000 member networks, representative firms, broadcast vendors, and international organizations. RAB leads and participates in educational, research, sales, and advocacy programs that promote and advance Radio as a primary advertising medium.


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