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A View of Our Collective Future

May 13, 2021

For those who are not yet familiar, the IBA (Independent Broadcasters Association) is a newly formed group of broadcasters. The predominance are owners that have stations in just a few markets, and the association is adding an important voice for our industry. In a short time, they have become a valuable resource to their 1,500 member stations.

The IBA just conducted a survey of its members on how they performed in the first quarter of 2021.

When looking at the survey results, one needs to keep in mind that the economic slowdown had just started at the end of the first quarter of 2020. Most consider 10 of the 12 weeks as being pre-pandemic…remember pre-pandemic?

Overall, the survey’s conclusion was that, while we are not out of the woods yet, there are positive signs when it comes to billing.

When the first quarter of 2021 was compared to its 2020 equivalent, nearly 40% of the survey participants said their billing was either flat or up, with nearly one in eight reporting their revenue had increased more than 10%. This is a great sign for these broadcasters. Conversely, the survey revealed that a majority of stations are still not where they were before COVID devastated the economy and negatively impacted our industry.

However, how people finished Q1 is not the real story. The survey posed an open-ended question about the future. It asked: “As an industry, are you bullish and optimistic about the future?” A vast majority (71.8%) of those that responded stated that they were. Only 17.9% were not optimistic about the future.

To quote Ron Stone, President of the IBA, “There is light at the end of the tunnel! The IBA membership had more stations with Q1 growth versus not. Local direct clients are leading the comeback for the membership, proving that the more radio focuses on local direct, the more direct path to profitability.”
In addition to this IBA survey, we at Research Director, Inc. are hearing from our sales research clients. Most are seeing every month improve compared to the previous month. We may not be out of the woods yet, but we can see the meadow and blue skies ahead. Hard work will get us all there.

If you’d like more information on the IBA, feel free to contact Ron Stone at ronstone@iba.media.

To learn how Research Director, Inc.’s team of ratings experts can improve your bottom line, contact us here.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner