Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Radio Industry Coming in Loud and Clear

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Radio Industry Coming in Loud and Clear

Article excerpt

At a time when cutting edge technology is all the rage in the stock market, one technology from early in the century ended the 1900s on a high note -- radio.

The radio industry has been going through a wave of consolidation in the 1990s into a handful of major players. The stocks of the surviving companies performed very nicely in 1999, particularly the two companies that dominate Jacksonville radio.

Clear Channel Communications Inc., which operates seven Jacksonville radio stations (and two television stations), rose from 54 1/2 at the end of 1998 to as high as 91 1/2 in late December. Cox Radio Inc., which operates six Jacksonville radio stations, rose from 42 1/4 at the end of 1998 to as high as 107 last week.

Radio may be a relatively old technology, but it is holding up quite well against newer competition. A survey of public companies by investment bank Veronis, Suhler & Associates found that radio industry revenue grew by 34 percent a year from 1994 to 1998, faster than all other media expect the Internet.

In comparison, movie revenue grew by 19 percent annually, television rose by 11, newspapers rose by 8 percent, book publishers rose by 3 percent and recorded music grew by less than 1 percent. Internet companies grew revenue by 66 percent a year over that period.

Ironically, the Internet has helped the radio industry, because Internet companies have been advertising heavily on the radio in order to build name recognition. In the first nine months of 1999, Internet companies spent $1.4 billion in advertising in traditional media such as radio and television, more than double the $649 million spent for all of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Clear Channel has been a particular success story in the 1990s, growing from a relatively small media company into a giant with radio stations in 187 markets, once it completes its merger with AMFM Inc. …

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