Canadian Radio Ad Revenues Took Nosedive in 2016

courtesy FYI Canadian Music News

Operating revenues in private radio broadcasting fell 3.3% (-$52.5 million) from 2015 to $1.6 billion in 2016, Statistics Canada reports.

This third consecutive annual decrease in operating revenue was attributable to a 5.4% decline in local advertising sales. In 2016, 98.4% of total operating revenues in private radio broadcasting were generated from advertising sales.


The profit margin before interest and taxes fell from 18.9% in 2015 to 18.6% in 2016, and profits before interest and taxes totalled $289.0 million, leading to a 3.3% decline in operating revenue to $1.6 billion.


Operating expenses fell 2.9% to $1.3 billion in 2016. Sales and promotion posted the biggest decline, down $20.2 million or 5.4% from 2015 to $355.9 million in 2016.

Profit margin down everywhere in Canada except in Quebec and Ontario

Private radio broadcasters in Quebec were the most profitable in the country in 2016. Quebec was the only province to post higher operating revenues and profit margin before interest and taxes. Operating revenues in Quebec rose 1.3% from 2015 to $311.3 million in 2016. A 3.5% decrease in operating expenses in 2016 contributed to a 3.9 percentage point increase in the profit margin before interest and taxes to 22.2% ($69.1 million) in 2016.

In Ontario, the profit margin before interest and taxes in 2016 was unchanged from 2015 at 21.9%. Operating revenues ($552.4 million) and expenses ($431.3 million) both fell by 0.5% in 2016.

Operating revenues in the Atlantic provinces fell 0.6% in 2016 while operating expenses were identical to 2015. This contributed to a decline in profit margin before interest and taxes from 16.8% in 2015 to 16.3% in 2016.

The biggest decreases in operating revenues were in the West, where they fell 8.2% from 2015 to $589.4 million in 2016. In Eastern Canada, operating revenues edged up 0.04% to $965.9 million.

Alberta posted the biggest decrease in radio broadcasting operating revenues, coinciding with a significant decline in gross domestic product in 2015 (-3.7%) and 2016 (-3.8%). Operating revenues totalled $247.6 million in 2016, down 12.9% from 2015. The profit margin before interest and taxes was 17.7% ($43.7 million), its lowest level since 2000. Operating expenses declined 7.4% to $203.9 million in 2016.

In Manitoba, operating revenues fell 7.6% to $57.7 million in 2016. Manitoba had the lowest profit margin before interest and taxes in the country at 8.7% or $5.0 million, compared with a profit margin before interest and taxes of $7.4 million in 2015.

In Saskatchewan, the profit margin before interest and taxes was down 0.5 percentage points from 2015 to 9.9% in 2016, attributable to a $3.4 million decline in operating revenues and a $2.6 million decrease in operating expenses.

In British Columbia and the territories, operating expenses fell 2.8%. This decline did not offset the 4.0% decrease in operating revenues in 2016. The profit margin before interest and taxes fell from 13.8% in 2015 to 12.8% in 2016.



  1. Billions in profits – and the Radio Stations pay like 7-11. They deserve what is about to unfold. I am not surprised, but many of my friends make it clear that they never, or rarely listen to the box.

  2. CKNW continually has ads for “adult pills for performance in bed”, SCREAMING dudes selling cars, DEATH ads for funerals and of course…..Bill Good hocking 15% mortgages with a 12% fee – targeted to the most vulnerable of course.

    I will never ever buy anything advertised on CKNW. They are disgusting. They are the Destroy Trump Media 24/7. The worst offenders are Jody Vance, Drex, Lynda Steele, Simi Sara, Gord MacDonald and Terry Schintz.

    CKNW may as well call themselves CNN North…..

  3. Richard,

    I pretty well agree with everything you said. CKNW for years for me from the oh early-mid 80’s was almost always the station my tuners were default set to. This was so until about 2009-2010 as I began to get tired of their growing leftist, feminist, sjw stuff. It was not totally bad as of yet but I saw the direction and I began to turn off CKNW as default station and leave my tuner at other stations for a while.

    I’d deviate to TSN 1040 to escape a lot of this leftist, feminist. sjw shit. But even sports talk stations were going all P.C. and I would grow tired of this as well as 1040’s HOMER-ISM for speaking as if only the local teams have any brains. For a few years they could let slide as Vancouver Canucks were still a top tier team, but by 2013 the Canucks were not but the homer-isms was still so sickly. That said sjw/PC shit got a good hold of even 1040.

    CBC One, PFFT! COMMIE CENTRAL! I mean yes CBC was always left leaning. I use to listen to a good bit of CBC in the 90’s as an alternative to CKNW, it still had thought provoking hosts and tried to give a bit of news perspective. But also I was on the Blue Pill back then and more easily bough in to it. I swallowed the Red pill in recent years and it has been the best pill EVER TAKEN BY ME! Today though CBC One is mostly un-listenable, it’s TAXPAYER FUNDED CKNW ON F**KING PC LEFTIST STEROIDS!

    Back to CKNW, from 2014 on wards I find it has been hard to keep it on NW98 for more than a couple of hours each day. It no longer is on in my car as I drive to and from. KISM92.9 Classic rock is default for me in my car now. I listen to CKNW only to get a taste of the PROPAGANDA so I know who are all a part of our enemies list in for our national and western world survival.

    CKNW since the beginning of the US Primaries and POTUS Election cycle going back to Trump tossing his hat into the ring June 2015 has become ALL TRUMP HATE, ALL THE TIME, NO FACTS ONLY ‘MUH FEELINGS’ and BOO HOO HILARY HAD THE ELECTION TAKEN FROM HER.. THESE F**KING, F**CKWADS would not know objectivity and journalistic integrity to save their damn lives. They take the lies and distortions on Trump as fact, yet never provide facts to support their leftist lunacy.

    They laugh at President Trump when he is unable to in quick order get all his agenda through, AS IF HE IS LIKE SOME KING OR DICTATOR! Well CKNW and leftist snowflakes HE IS NOT!

    He has to work it, make adjustments to his ideals to get some traction, it’s all well maybe like ART OF THE DEAL!!! But since most if not all leftists, sjws, feminists, HAVE ZERO business sense and minimal real world political sense ( being it was never really taught to them in school or college) why am I not surprised you all fail to understand it.

    Look! nobody will agree with a President or Prime Minister 100% of the time. President Trump has 7.5 more years to get as much of his agenda through as he can. Yep, he will win in 2020 just wait and see. The ART OF THE DEAL sums up a lot of how Trump thinks. I will not always agree with him, but given I can’t stand our a**hole of a PM, virtue signalling, Commie, Trudeau, Trump a God send to any of us who love the western developed world and use a good bit of commonsense to help guide each of us in life.

    TREASON IS SUBJECT TO DEATH! WHY? Because murdering, 1-2-10-100-1000 people is a terrible crime, treason wants to murder NATIONS!

  4. Another quick thought…


  5. Good station to listen to on internet radio or live streaming on internet is WMAL 630 AM, 105.9 FM. Washington D.C.. You’ll actually hear the other side of the political story in the U.S.. Things are a lot different from what you hear every day if you only listen to any mainstream media, including radio, TV and newspapers. They mislead the public leading up to the election, which was why there was such surprise when Clinton lost. The polls were fixed and none of the enormous rallies that Trump held were covered so everyone believed that there was no way he could win. They’re now doing the same thing in an attempt to remove him.

  6. I have noticed a cutback of staffing on all local stations in the Vancouver. Some stations have three or four hosts for the entire day, and less on the weekends. It must be a challenge sitting there talking to yourself for four to six hours. Less producers, less news, less information, now it would be a good time to move to another occupation before being let go. Decisions made in Toronto, the poor management team of two here has to call in a friend/host and fire them.

  7. The big three companies driving the bus in the industry have cut on-air staff, marketing budgets, and the client services departments (reps and creatives) that serve the advertisers. Now the product is less engaging, nobody knows about new formats, and the ads are less effective. Thanks to amalgamating management with long failing television operations, radio has become void of leaders that understand and are passionate about the medium. This is just the beginning of a long decline.

  8. JLR,

    Yes, content at least for news/talk is less engaging. It’s as if talk radio has become an audio version of cheap, smut supermarket tabloids. Rarely do any hosts at least at Corus or CBC go in depth or try to offer listener counter points of view.

    I’m ok with talk hosts having and sharing their opinions but when presenting arguments and bringing in ‘experts’ [yeah people who will speak on air for free or cheap] usually are those who only back up the POV of the talk show hosts.

    Today I had to chuckle as NW980 McComb and WHY???? Donna Friesen who is only a NEWS READER from Global on as his show as a weekly guest. They touched on John McCain and him having a brain tumor. They actually noted HE represents sanity from the Republican party. WHAT THE F*** A man who has not seen a war or conflict he does not like, a man who along as if he was a Democrat eggs war with Russia, a man who is involved with every M.E. action. A man WHO LIED and LIES about Russia and Georgia ( Georgia attacked Russia) and the Obama led debacles in Libya and Ukraine.

    YEP McComb and Friesen think McCain is sane…

    No, MSM News/talk has become pablum, topics rinse and repeat all day long, all talk hosts act as if they all share one brain as such they have no true variety of talk hosts POV’s . Fluff and nonsense topics take up huge somes of air time, meanwhile topics with meat are rushed through and repeated in rushed through ways every hour or so.

    They all have a never ending hate on for President Trump, and they all turn a blind eye to Hillary Clinton and her ahole hubby Bill and treat both as if they are deity’s. These talk/news stations cannot find a leftist, sjw, feminist protest group THEY DO NOT LIKE!

    Most and notably female hosts will not find ONE government social program or advocacy of new ones they do not champion.

    Modern MSM, news/talk on radio and t.v. is all mostly leftist, sjw, feminist, pro open borders to even illegals Blather 24/7… None of it is is anything like the growing distant past where news/talk radio and t.v actually tried to be more objective and to provoke thoughts and a desire to actually learn issues. Today most talk hosts first talk to only listen to their own voices and secondly have producers and guests come on air to parrot these points of view. 🙁

  9. Unfortunately, those of us who grew up loving commercial radio and working in it are now witnessing a dying medium. I’m sure it will always be around in some form but certainly not in the numbers it enjoyed from the past.

    The independence of radio today has been destroyed by corporate ownership, weak management and even weaker program directors. Nobody is prepared to be bold and do something different. For some inexplicable reason, radio seems to think that “listener engagement” should consist of allowing listeners to voice their opinion through social media.

    Radio, conventional television and cable are losing ground quickly and unfortunatlety they don’t know what to do. Sad.

  10. Ian,

    You are right, listeners DO NOT want to send social media texts and stuff only to be buried under the electronic bits and bytes equivalent of reams of paper, and likely NEVER to be seen or responded too by talk hosts and producers. I refuse as a talk radio listener to waste my time doing such.

    Talk radio either SPEAKS to listeners or allows conversation with properly qualified guests, news persons and of course listeners who may call in. Today very little host/listener engagement on air. It makes for boring monologue type talk radio. Tossing in a few low life experienced producers to blather often froo froo and nonsense, and a lot of SJW and FAKE NEWS shite well only makes it worse.

    The rise of podcasting, live streaming of independent news, opinion and such online, on Youtube and other places etc. is quickly stealing listeners and viewer from MSM.

    Like him or not Alex Jones and INFO WARS enjoys MASSIVE viewership, BLOWS most CABLE news out of the water, Mark Dice, Stefan Molenyeux, The Rebel, Lauren Southeren, Saragon of Akkad, Louder with Crowder and even more edgy editorial type personalities has A WHOLE WORLD OF OPINION, DEBATE AND REAL NEWS DISSECTION out there. My favourite podcast of such is THE NO AGENDA SHOW with Adam Curry an John C. Dvorak.

    Listeners and viewers can watch or listen at their leisure, and participate in kind with their thoughts and POV’s.

    Talk radio MUST go back to its roots to survive.

    1: Engaging and informed hosts and of a more sweeping POV not only the standard fare liberal, SJW, leftist hosts today.

    2: It must if a NEWS station promote NEWS as well as opinion.

    3: It must bring on QUALIFIED and KNOWLEDGEABLE guests.

    4: It must engage with listeners through OPEN LINES.

    5: Topics must be relevant and more than sugar coated, 5-10-15 minutes deep. More like 30 minute to 1 hour segments where time to probe and question the topics can be had.

    6: CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS MUST NOT BE AVOIDED!!!. Globalism, Notionalism Illegal immigration, Islamification of the west, Anti-Christian attacks by liberals/leftists, in fact topics questioning socialism, Antifa, BLM and a host of communist anarchist stuff, feminism and its contribution to the unraveling of of the west, LGBT topics, ALL P.C. that has run amok topics, stuff that will cause listeners to QUESTION their own POV’s, defending such or changing such, questioning POV’s of talk hosts, politicians who come on air and the guests these hosts bring on too!

  11. Les,

    I posted this on another thread but it bears repeating here. Programming talk radio is a very simple task that for some mysterious reason program directors don’t understand. Talk radio must be interesting, informative and entertaining. That’s not rocket science. I believe it’s what attracts a radio audience.

    That’s the approach I took when hosting a two hour talk radio program on CFAX in Victoria. Unfortunately, the station fired me and went for pablum instead; the easy stuff that requires very little work. How many talk radio hosts submit Freedom of Information requests in order to delve deeper into an issue? My guess is zero. I had guests on my program who I didn’t agree with but the banter back and forth made for good radio as long as it was respectful, which it always was.

    After I got fired, I had coffee with a local mayor who told me that some local politicians were afraid to come on my program which really, really surprised me. When I asked why, this mayor said, “They were afraid of what you were going to ask them.” Most talk show hosts ask the obvious questions. But I learned from Rafe Mair, if you do your homework you can ask must more informed questions which allow you to challenge the assertions of a guest.

    I had three complaints filed against me to the Canadian Broadcast Standards and won all three. I had university professors complain to the station when I challenged them on their position and they complained to station management and refused to come on the station as long as I was there. But it was never about me, it was about the issue at hand. Too many hosts think it’s about them. It should never be about the hosts ego it should be about the issue discussed with them and discussed respectfully.

    Talk radio is trying to become another form of social media which is the wrong avenue to take. By going down this road it is now irrelevant in the eyes of the vast majority of listeners. Radio should be a medium that helps you better understand issues. Instead, it deals with the trivial.

    I always loved radio, having grown up with it, but now I never listen. Never.

  12. Ian,

    I agree with your last post 100%

    You were of a classic talk radio host, your kind on MSM radio is mostly dead and buried today. Rafe Mair, Gary Bannerman, Jack Webster, Pat Burns, ICONS!!! Even Fanny Keefer, Philip Till, Jennifer Mather and Bill Good all were at times very good at keeping fire under the feet of politicians, business leaders, NGO’s/Activists and all sorts of stuff. Charles Adler sadly has caught a lot of the froo froo, softball libtarditis now that he is living Vancouver.

    Ironically the only show that has any edge on CKNW is the syndicated Coast to Coast show with George Noory as he tells what he feels and goes all over the map or better the universe on topics and guests. Some of them pretty loopy… funny and interesting but still loopy 🙂

    Today Mike Smythe is the only ‘fill in host’ on CKNW who still has some gumption to push the boundaries. I do like Michael Campbell’s Money Talks show on Saturdays too . Jill Bennett still gives us a bit of hope as well for CKNW.


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