Pockets of Opportunity for Radio: Tom Buono Explains in Radio Ink Podcast

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BIA’s CEO Tom Buono had the opportunity to discuss the company’s recent analysis of how COVID-19 has impacted ad revenue, in particular for Radio, in a recent podcast interview with Radio Ink publisher Deborah Parenti. Even with the negative news we have all become too familiar with, Radio has opportunities to focus on right now and a real opportunity to help Main Street prepare for the reopening of the economy.

Click to listen to the podcast. A summary is offered below.

To summarize the current situation, Buono starts by pointing out that BIA’s updated forecast released in mid-April now estimates local ad spending across 16 media platforms will be down 10.6 percent for the year. This assumes a U-shaped recovery with a down Q2, rebounding in Q3 and a stronger Q4. 

Buono cautions that while the overall economy is a major driver, two other factors weigh in strongly – the prevalence and management of coronavirus locally, and the make-up of local economies.

For example, some markets are more reliant on auto, health care, manufacturing, or service industries than others and supply chain issues in these verticals will cause issues. However, as these different business verticals get impacted and then recover, each will have its own story. The impact of the virus will vary across markets both in terms of timing of recovery and how steeply markets declined.

Buono calls out selling opportunities for radio both during the downturn in Q2 but also looks ahead to help clients plan for the rebound in Q3 and Q4.

For example, in the Finance vertical, commercial banks, mortgage lenders, financial advisors and investment advisors are in great demand, and they’ll need to get the word out that they’re open and help communities understand what services they’re offering. 

With so many people quarantining at home, lots of home improvement and maintenance projects are coming up. HVAC service providers, lawn care providers, even telecom service providers are offering upgraded broadband services for the newly increased masses of WFH (working from home) professionals. All these companies need to get the word out and let clients know they’re following COVID-19 safe practices.

Buono concludes that even though radio stations are certainly facing historic challenges, there are pockets of opportunity during the downturn and radio can show its strength by focusing on them and delivering valuable advertising guidance and opportunities.

Looking forward is also important. Buono advises its very important to work with clients right now to help them plan ahead for when their businesses start to recover. Demand for ad inventory may be lower now, but clients should make plans to reserve inventory for later when demand picks back up.

Hear more in the podcast. For specific details about ad spend across business verticals for the Radio industry, BIA offers local market forecasts in the BIA ADVantage platform. Send an email if you’d like to learn more.

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