Radio stations still profitable

Private radio stations in Canada increased their profits again, says Statistics Canada. What’s the trick? Better programming? Better-staffed newsrooms to compete with television’s best? Radio ads that don’t sound like they’re made by a bunch of screeching banshees?

Nope. Says StatsCan:

Regulatory changes in 1998 allowed greater concentration of ownership, which helped radio withstand the competition from other media. The industry also rationalized its operations by transferring AM stations to the generally more popular and more profitable FM band.

English-language stations reported the best profit margin (+21.4%), followed by French-language stations (+13.8%) and ethnic stations (+7.9%). This ranking has remained unchanged since 1998. English-language stations’ main competitive advantage is that they spend a smaller percentage of their revenues on programming and administration, two areas where greater ownership concentration offers economies of scale.

But there’s at least one real good news:

The industry had a weekly average of 10,239 employees in 2007, up 3.2% from the previous year. This is the first time since 1991 that employment in the industry has topped 10,000.

Further Reading: Bill Carney’s blog on the StatsCan study. He sounds happy enough.

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