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Good News: Ryvicker Says Radio is Doing Well


Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker is one of the best in the business at breaking down complex Wall Street jargon and making it easy for everyone to understand. Sometimes her reports on the radio industry, to the radio industry, are not  glowing, but everyone respects her work, her brutal honesty, and her devotion to detail. Ryvicker makes annual presentations at the Radio Show, and when she speaks, the industry listens.

This year Ryvicker is more optimistic about radio's prospects for growth than she's been in the past, and she's impressed with radio's leadership. She gives radio a "B-"grade in the revenue-growth department, adding that a few years ago, that would have been a "D."

Radio revenue is growing, according to Ryvicker's calculations -- slowly, but it's growing. She seemed to take that as a good sign, but noted that industry revenue is still 20 percent below its 2006 peak. She pointed out that TV is growing in the low single digits, but is down only 10 percent from its 2006 revenue peak.

Ryvicker predicts that radio will get 9 percent of total advertising dollars in 2012, compared to 10 percent in 2006. "Newspapers continue to lose share, the Internet, cable TV, and broadcast TV are growing," she said.

A lot of Ryvicker's optimism stems from one sector that seems to be booming: automotive, radio's largest ad category. She says there are 14.5 million new vehicle sales are expected in 2013, and that means more advertising for radio.

On listening trends, Ryvicker said time spent listening is down 26 percent -- drawing whispers of "not true, not true" from the crowd in the packed room. But she did say the number of listeners and radio's reach are increasing, and that's impressive. In fact, she gave the radio industry an "A" grade on listening trends.

Ryvicker noted that leadership is extremely important and said that, for quite some time, radio lacked that leadership. "A lot has changed," she said. “You have Bob Pittman, iHeartRadio,
Sweetjack, and the CBS sports network. It's extremely exciting."

Ryvicker said, "Radio is really doing well. I hear it in your voices. A lot of change is happening, and it's all for the better."

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