The Radio Barometer: No Change

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Working in Radio through the recession of the late ’70’s and various minor economic downturns over the decades, a pattern started to emerge.

Somehow, local retailers managed to sense a slowdown in business long before it revealed itself in national statistics.

They responded to their perceptions by cutting back on their advertising budgets. Our stations always saw a drop in overall revenue several months before the recession became apparent to everyone else.

The reverse was also true. After a time, while the media was still moaning about the slow economy, local retailers began increasing their ad budgets. Our stations’ revenues increased. And, a couple of months later — ta-dah! — the recession was over.

As a result, it was encouraging this month that some of the major radio groups are beginning to see sales increases of 4 percent or more over the previous year. It’s an indication that the economy is far from dead.

Given the right conditions, the economy’s natural tendency is to grow. In fact, it’s actually difficult to hold it back.

Unfortunately, we are not experiencing the right conditions. Instead of a government that encourages private industry and increased employment, it appears we have an administration that seeks to place more inhibitions, road blocks, burdens, and red tape on employers. The result is a chilling effect on economic growth.

The economy is trying to recover. We’ll keep an eye on our “Radio barometer” to see if the sales increases continue, and if Radio can predict the end — or continuation — of our current recession.