Ad sales at local radio stations plunge 18pc over first half
IRELAND's 'independent' local radio stations suffered an 18pc fall in centralised agency sales over the first half of the year, despite the supposed recovery in the advertising sector.
The figures were revealed at a recent board meeting of Independent Radio Sales (IRS), which handles some agency sales for a group of 18 local and regional stations.
Board members were told that just four of IRS's member stations had seen their agency sales revenue rise over the first six months.
The four -- Red FM, i105-107, i102-104 and Spin South West -- are understood to have grown their IRS revenue by a combined 19pc over the period.
The 14 other local stations are understood to have drawn in less IRS revenue in the first half of this year than they did in the same period in 2009, which was one of the bleakest years in radio's history.
IRS chief executive Dan Healy yesterday declined to comment on the figures, insisting that matters discussed at board meetings were "confidential".
The figures are understood to have been prepared as part of a plan to change the way IRS prices for its airtime.
The independent radio sales house is also believed to be preparing for a major autumn push aimed at highlighting recent listenership gains across the IRS stations.
The push, armed with specially commissioned research, will see IRS pit itself against UTV's Urban Access package, which sells airtime across its eight stations.
News of IRS's figures for the first half of the year comes after UTV reported a 5pc fall in its Irish radio ad revenue in the first four months of the year.
The Belfast media giant had expected the like-for-like falls in Irish ad revenue to be confined to 3pc for May and June -- the accuracy of that prediction will be revealed on Thursday when the PLC reveals first-half results.
IRS's bundles packages of airtime across its stations for agency sales, however many of its stations also sell some ads to agencies on an individual basis.
Local and regional radio stations also get a substantial portion of their revenue from non-agency sales, largely businesses and services in their own communities.