In 2011, ethnic stations posted the highest growth in operating revenues, at 5.3%, compared with 3.7% for English-language stations and 3.2% for French-language stations.
Ethnic stations kept their profitability above 10% for the second consecutive year, with a total profit before interest and taxes of $4.7 million.
Operating revenues of the private radio broadcasting sector totalled $1.6 billion in 2011, up 3.7% from 2010. The vast majority of revenue (97.7%) came from advertising.
The gain in 2011 followed a 3.2% increase in revenues in 2010 and a 5.2% decrease in 2009 during the economic downturn. Revenues in 2011 exceeded the level attained in 2008, prior to the downturn.
The profit margin before interest and taxes was 19.4% in 2011, up from 19.1% in 2010, as profits totalled $313 million. However, the margin was lower than the 21.1% profit margin recorded in 2008, just before the economic slowdown.
In 2011, the FM radio sector had operating revenues of $1.3 billion. Following a 4.7% decline in 2009, consecutive increases of 3.8% in 2010 and 4.3% in 2011 pushed FM radio's operating revenues above the level they were at before the economic downturn in 2008.
FM radio's profit margin before interest and taxes was 21.5%, up from 21.3% the previous year, but still below the 2008 profit margin of 24.5%.
The number of AM stations continued to decline, as several stations moved to the FM band and companies closed the least profitable stations. Since 2009, 16 AM stations have gone off the air.
In 2011, the sector's operating revenues grew by 1.1% to $311 million. AM radio increased its profitability from 10.1% to 10.6%. For the second consecutive year, the profit margin before interest and taxes surpassed the 10% mark.
Ontario private radio broadcasters were the most profitable, with 24 cents of profit before interest and taxes per dollar of revenue. Saskatchewan broadcasters continued to lag behind other provinces, with 11.8 cents of profit before interest and taxes per dollar of revenue.
Broadcasters in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec experienced lower profitability in 2011, with decreases of 0.7 cents and 1.9 cents respectively. For the second consecutive year, the profit margin was above 10% in every region of Canada.
English-language radio's profit margin before interest and taxes edged up from 20.0% to 20.8%, or $271.5 million. For French-language radio, the profit margin fell from 16.4% to 14.0%, or $37 million.