Thursday, August 12, 1999

Local radio limits ad time


Listeners elsewhere aren't as lucky

BY JOHN ECKBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As radio ad clutter explodes in many U.S. markets, Cincinnati stations have bucked the trend and not increased the number of commercials per hour, according to a study from Empower MediaMarketing.

        The Columbia Tusculum agency found that while the ad volume did not grow at Cincinnati stations in the past two years, that was not the case elsewhere. The number of radio ads swelled by 38 percent in Washington, D.C., 33 percent in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, 32 percent in Philadelphia and 23 percent in Boston.

        “From (a Cincinnati) advertiser's standpoint, this is very good news,” said Julie Pahutski, senior vice president of Empower's knowledge, information and invention group.

        “It shows that stations are not increasing the number of competing messages. In some markets, advertisers got a double whammy: more clutter and higher rates.”

        The Cincinnati-based media strategy company, which has annual billings of $525 million, examined 16 markets and 266 radio stations.

        The study compared the volume of radio advertising during the first quarter in the cities studied and found that nationally, the number of paid advertisements 30 seconds or longer grew by 13 percent in 1999 when compared with the same period in 1998.

        The more competitive the radio market, the more on-air advertising, Ms. Pahutski said.

        Policies not to increase advertising inventory at stations in Cincinnati owned by the former Jacor Communications, bought by Clear Channel this year, tended to contain advertising clutter here, she said.

        Ms. Pahutski said she did not know whether competitive ad rates at other local media outlets such as billboards, newspapers and television stations discouraged an increase in the number of radio ads.

        Clear Channel stations in the market will continue to limit advertising inventory, said Alene Grevey, vice president/general manager for WEBN, WOFX, WKFS and WVMX. “We don't want to overclutter,” she said. “It doesn't help the advertiser, and it doesn't help the product.”

        John Rohm, vice president and general manager for AMFM Inc. Cincinnati, said Cincinnati is one of the healthiest radio markets in the nation. Though 26th in size, it is ranked 20th in revenue, Mr. Rohm said. Radio stations WUBE-FM, WYGY-FM, WBOB-AM and WUBE-AM are AMFM Inc. stations.

       



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