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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
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Counting Words in RAB Revenue Report


By now you've had a chance to see how the latest RAB Revenue Report has been positioned in various radio industry publications. None that I saw used the word "flat" to describe year-to-year revenues - 1% more than 2010. Nor did I see any that gave concentrated coverage of the 4% drop in Spot revenue, preferring instead (as RAB did in its report) to emphasize "...a double-digit gain in Digital (+15%), and stronger showings in Off-Air (+7%) and Network (+3%)."

I'm just a little worried that the radio commercial (local and national) is not being considered important enough to highlight, as its ability to generate revenue slides.

"While we're counting words, let's take a look at a few others that seem to indicate where RAB wishes to place emphasis." Digital is up 15%, which is great, showing how buyers are moving more money towards that side of the ad space.

Only, besides delivering impressions in the digital environment, how else is the radio industry addressing "digital"? We still do not see any movement towards using behavioral placement, metrics, or analytics, which are propelling this segment of advertising in pureplays.


I'm slightly concerned that "Off-Air" and "Network" are showing gains (7% and 3% respectively) while we have lost all mention of what "local" sales is doing. With radio having a foundation of being local and its executives continuing to yell "we're local," this absence of the word "local" in an industry revenue report is rather frightening.

In the report, the term "local" only comes up twice: 1) Driven by Radio’s mobility, local appeal and scale, broadcasters are finding more and more ways to generate the interactive experience expected in today’s marketplace. 2) Additional spending [relative to political ads] came from various offices and local seats in Indianapolis, Michigan, New York, and Texas to name a few.

While we're counting words, let's take a look at a few others that seem to indicate where RAB wishes to place emphasis. I believe it's an exercise like this that reveals the slant of writing. For instance, take a look at how many times the words "growing," "grown," and "growth" appear in the report (1, 1, and 14 times, respectively).

Isolate "increasing," "increases," "increased," and "increase," and we see them used respectively 1, 3, 9, and 11 times.

It's not that I'm claiming the RAB Revenue Report is not factual. I believe it contains all fact. Where I'd like to see the radio industry put a little more effort, however, is in areas that seem to be avoided, like use of the words "decrease," decreased," and "lower." The first two appeared once and twice in the RAB Revenue report, and the last not at all. I'm sure we all know there are a few places where these could have been expanded upon to enlighten executives to the true status of radio's position. I'll throw out the area of explaining "local spot revenue" just to start the conversation.

Read the RAB Revenue Report; it's only 9 pages. But please take into consideration who is producing this, and how the words are strung together. As a final reminder, let us visit how many times the words "topped" and "top" are used (3 and 18 times).

And, while using my text editor to do the counting on this report (produced by the leading cheerleader of the radio industry), count the word "up." It appears 42 times.

2011 must have been one great year for radio.















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