Automotive spending on radio showed substantial gains in the first three months of 2012 and was the strongest first quarter for the category since 2008, according to the Miller Kaplan & Arase X-Ray Report on media spending for San Diego. Factory spending almost doubled with a 91% improvement over 2011 in the first three months of the year, while dealer association spending grew 34.9% and individual dealer spending increased 14.3%. Combined spending for the three categories grew 28.8%. The increased spending corresponds with the continued improvement in local automobile sales; new car registrations were up over 10% in San Diego County in 2011. Automotive retains its position as the largest spending category on San Diego radio stations.
Of the other top ten categories, the insurance industry stays hot with an increase in spending of 48% in first quarter. Spending by television stations and networks and cable operators and networks has improved by 13.7% while the restaurant, grocery, home furnishings and casino and lottery categories all showed healthy increases over last year. The home furnishings category moved into the top ten list for radio in first quarter 2012.