Adjusting To The New Normal

How’s everyone settling in to this new, hopefully temporary, normal? Have you configured your home office to the ideal setup? Locked your kids away with screens and toys and if you’re lucky, a schoolbook? Are you checking in with your friends and family, your coworkers and employees?

We hope so, because some things are likely to get worse before they get better. That’s certainly the story with our pacing trends and forecasts this week. We made big moves last week, concerned we weren’t going far enough with our forecasts, and this week proves that to be true. More states are ordering shelter in place, which in turn drives Local cancels.

Once we get past these orders to stay home, once we figure out how to sell remotely, we hope to see a leveling out. There are quite a few advertisers that have important messages to share with their literally captive audiences desperate for news and entertainment. They just need time to figure out what to say and how. And one day, though no one really knows when, we should be able to get out of our houses and into the world again.

In the meantime, you should continue to face the harsh realities of where spending is today and price in line with that, while also keeping an eye out for aggressive negotiation tactics by agencies and advertisers looking for a good deal. Are they taking advantage of your pain? Maybe, but they’re probably in pain too. The question is, how do we get through this pain together?

That’s what we all must remember – in one way or another, each and everyone of us is feeling the effects of this pandemic. Some much more seriously than others. We need to take care of each other, personally and professionally, as much as we possibly can. That’s what we’ll be doing for you.

ShareBuilders Radio Forecast

 

L+N Radio
Q1 2.4%
Q2 -19.3%
Q3 -0.1%
Q4 10.2%
Jan Feb Mar Q1
Local -0.3% 7.0% -15.0% -2.2%
Natl 23.2% 28.2% -17.0% 13.6%
L+N 6.2% 13.6% -15.6% 2.4%
April May June Q2
Local -25.0% -20.0% -10.0% -18.8%
Natl -28.0% -20.0% -12.0% -20.7%
L+N -25.8% -20.0% -10.5% -19.3%

Radio Forecast Observations

 

Q1 Local

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

The quarter’s pace fell off by 5.1 points thanks to March’s 14.6-point drop.

Forecast Updates

As more cities and states roll out shelter-in-place orders, pacing will continue to fall as local advertisers unable to stay open must close. This is definitely more of a Local issue than a National one, though no category escapes unscathed.

With these declines, March won’t be doing any growing from here, and we’re lowering its forecast significantly:

  • -0.3% for January
  • +7.0% for February
  • -15.0% for March – down 13.5 points from last week
  • +2.2% for the Quarter – down 4 points

Q1 National

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

The strength of January and February absorbed March’s 4.4-point drop this week, with the quarter as whole only down 1.6 points.

Forecast Updates

Like Local, March just keeps moving in the wrong direction and requires another downward adjustment:

  • +23.2% for January
  • +28.2% for February
  • -17.0% for March – down 4 points
  • +13.6% for the Quarter – down 0.7 points from last week

Q1 Local + National

We are hopeful that the impact of the coronavirus is confined mostly to March and April, though that might be overly optimistic. It’s certainly possible, especially in harder-hit markets, that we’re locked in our homes for longer than just a couple of weeks.  Even if the time away from outdoor events and commuting to work and all of the things that normally drive our business is extended, with time some advertisers may be able to tweak their messages to address our new normal. Until they do, we’ll recommend aggressive pricing targets and forecast conservatively. This means our Q1 combined forecast drops from +5.2% last week to -2.4% today.

 

 

Q2 Local

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

Our pacing for Q2 shows a dramatic dip of 11.8 points in the last week.

April lost 24.2 points, May 9.5, and June 11.2.

Forecast Updates

Remember that pacing was elevated before this coronavirus-related mess began; we knew pacing would fall due to earliness in booking this year versus last year. Of course, it’s falling far more than we expected now, and clearly more heavily in April than in May or June.

There’s no way around it, April is going to be a terrible month. The best we can hope for is that we’re either coming out of shelter-in-place orders in a few weeks, which will drive May and June spending, or advertisers figure out how to tweak their messaging for our new reality.

In the meantime, we’re going to stay very conservative in our forecasts, especially in April:

  • -25.0% for April – down 20 points
  • -20.0% for May – down 13 points
  • -10.0% for June – down 8 points
  • -18.8% for the Quarter – down 14 points

Q2 National

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

Thanks to a big drop early last week, Q2 National pace lost 28 points week to week.

April saw the biggest losses of 28 points, while May was down 9.4. June lost 11.7 points over the last week, but has been gaining slowly over the last few days.

Forecast Updates

As in Local, we’re going to err on the side of ultra-conservatism when it comes to forecasting for now. Just as we would recommend when it comes to pricing your own station, it’s better to price or forecast low – the only risk is things end up better than we think and you end up running too hot. We think you’d be ok with that!

So, with that said, brace yourself for some big forecast changes:

  • -28.0% for January – down 19.5 points
  • -20.0% for February – down 12 points
  • -12.0% for March – down 10 points
  • -20.7% for the Quarter – down 14 points

Q2 Local + National

As we’ve told you before, we don’t have a huge sample size in our radio numbers, and as such we can see big fluctuations day to day, especially considering that not all of our customers give us daily billing updates. So, we saw a big drop early last week. We’re hopeful the drops won’t be so large from here, but as more states order shelter-in-place big declines could continue. In the meantime, stay aggressive in your pricing and go for share. Our combined forecast reflects this philosophy, dropping 14.1 points to -19.3% today.

 

 

Radio Pacing Charts Q1

      Jan Feb Mar Q1
    All SB Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -0.3% 7.0% -13.8% -2.6%
             
    Midwest Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -4.8% 7.7% -9.2% -2.3%
    Northeast Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -2.0% 9.0% -8.7% -0.6%
    South Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 0.7% 12.5% -12.5% 0.0%
    West Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 0.7% 2.6% -17.2% -5.0%
             
    Radio Market Rank 1→20 Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 1.1% 7.8% -13.6% -1.9%
    Radio Market Rank 21+ Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -3.9% 4.7% -14.4% -4.5%
             
    Radio News/Talk/Sports Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -7.0% -1.7% -12.3% -7.1%
    Radio Rock – Adult/Male Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 10.0% 1.5% -15.8% -0.8%
    Radio Rock – Female Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -3.3% 5.3% -29.0% -9.5%
    Radio Urban Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -1.0% 10.5% -11.9% -0.9%
             
    All SB TV Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -2.1% -6.0% -12.8% -7.1%

     

      Jan Feb Mar Q1
    All SB Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 23.2% 28.2% -15.7% 10.2%
             
    Midwest Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 2.4% 0.5% -27.1% -10.4%
    Northeast Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 16.9% 21.0% -10.2% 8.8%
    South Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 14.4% 19.9% -19.1% 4.1%
    West Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 41.9% 49.5% -9.7% 24.4%
             
    Radio Market Rank 1→20 Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 27.2% 31.4% -16.8% 11.6%
    Radio Market Rank 21+ Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 10.8% 18.6% -11.9% 5.6%
             
    Radio News/Talk/Sports Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 65.2% 95.5% 26.5% 60.7%
    Radio Rock – Adult/Male Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -1.8% 0.4% -13.1% -4.5%
    Radio Rock – Female Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 40.3% 31.1% -22.6% 12.4%
    Radio Urban Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 14.5% 18.0% -11.3% 6.6%
             
    All SB TV Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -0.8% -7.3% -11.0% -6.7%
      Jan Feb Mar Q1
    All SB Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 6.2% 13.6% -14.4% 1.3%
             
    Midwest Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -2.9% 5.6% -15.0% -4.7%
    Northeast Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 3.8% 12.9% -9.2% 2.4%
    South Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 5.2% 15.4% -15.1% 1.5%
    West Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 10.3% 14.8% -15.1% 2.6%
             
    Radio Market Rank 1→20 Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 8.6% 15.4% -14.7% 2.4%
    Radio Market Rank 21+ Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -0.2% 8.7% -13.7% -1.7%
             
    Radio News/Talk/Sports Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 1.0% 9.2% -7.7% 0.6%
    Radio Rock – Adult/Male Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 6.1% 1.1% -14.8% -2.1%
    Radio Rock – Female Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 11.1% 15.6% -26.4% -1.2%
    Radio Urban Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 4.4% 13.4% -11.7% 1.9%
             
    All SB TV Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -1.7% -6.4% -12.2% -7.0%

    Radio Pacing Charts Q2

        Jan Feb Mar Q1
      All SB Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 6.2% 13.6% -14.4% 1.3%
               
      Midwest Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -2.9% 5.6% -15.0% -4.7%
      Northeast Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 3.8% 12.9% -9.2% 2.4%
      South Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 5.2% 15.4% -15.1% 1.5%
      West Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 10.3% 14.8% -15.1% 2.6%
               
      Radio Market Rank 1→20 Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 8.6% 15.4% -14.7% 2.4%
      Radio Market Rank 21+ Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -0.2% 8.7% -13.7% -1.7%
               
      Radio News/Talk/Sports Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 1.0% 9.2% -7.7% 0.6%
      Radio Rock – Adult/Male Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 6.1% 1.1% -14.8% -2.1%
      Radio Rock – Female Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 11.1% 15.6% -26.4% -1.2%
      Radio Urban Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace 4.4% 13.4% -11.7% 1.9%
               
      All SB TV Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -1.7% -6.4% -12.2% -7.0%
        Apr May Jun Q2
      All SB Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -23.1% -14.8% 0.6% -14.5%
               
      Midwest Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -33.7% -33.1% -41.7% -35.6%
      Northeast Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -21.9% -20.6% -1.5% -16.4%
      South Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -26.0% -12.3% 0.0% -14.9%
      West Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -18.0% -10.3% 16.1% -7.5%
               
      Radio Market Rank 1→20 Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -20.3% -10.1% 6.8% -10.4%
      Radio Market Rank 21+ Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -32.4% -29.0% -17.2% -27.3%
               
      Radio News/Talk/Sports Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -3.8% -10.1% 4.9% -3.9%
      Radio Rock – Adult/Male Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -31.1% -19.4% 2.5% -19.0%
      Radio Rock – Female Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -30.3% -10.2% 8.9% -13.9%
      Radio Urban Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -20.2% -12.4% 2.6% -11.9%
               
      All SB TV Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -25.3% -17.0% -13.8% -19.3%

       

        Apr May Jun Q2
      All SB Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -20.5% -11.5% -1.7% -12.5%
               
      Midwest Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -22.7% -15.1% -8.4% -16.4%
      Northeast Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -19.5% -8.1% -6.6% -12.6%
      South Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -16.0% -6.5% 1.7% -8.0%
      West Radio Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -22.7% -13.9% -1.2% -14.0%
               
      Radio Market Rank 1→20 Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -19.6% -9.7% 0.4% -11.0%
      Radio Market Rank 21+ Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -22.8% -16.5% -7.6% -16.7%
               
      Radio News/Talk/Sports Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -15.6% -14.3% 1.6% -10.5%
      Radio Rock – Adult/Male Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -23.5% -15.7% -7.9% -16.8%
      Radio Rock – Female Oriented Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -33.6% -14.5% -3.0% -19.4%
      Radio Urban Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -17.4% -4.7% 2.3% -8.0%
               
      All SB TV Stations Radio Executive Summary Pace -20.6% -10.7% -2.6% -12.5%