Against that backdrop, Bauer Media's radio sales team has managed to outperform the market by 3 per cent and deliver sponsorship and promotions sales 2 per cent ahead of the market.
How was this achieved? In part by the development of a ratings system that Bauer Media calls the Net Promoter Score. This rates programming, personality, place and participation. The idea is to beat the competition on all of these scores and provide clients with a more engaged audience, delivering more effective advertising. Bauer has put aside a research budget of £1 million for advertisers to help it prove the fact.
The figures are one thing, but it was the creativity that the team has brought to both their brands - including Kiss, Magic and Big City - and to their clients' campaigns that impressed the judges.
One of the main tasks of the year has been the reinvigoration of the Kiss brand. The sales team had to deal with the perception that Kiss' youth audiences are migrating to digital platforms.
This notion has been successfully contested, however, with a brand new sales presentation and the launch of the kissconfidential website.
Magic FM remains hugely popular in London, recording its highest-ever reach with two million-plus listeners. It has been successful this year in attracting new brands to radio, including the Royal Mail with its "simply drop" campaign - after a pitch against major London rivals Heart and Capital. Other new brands that Bauer Media brought to radio include BMW, Chanel and KFC.
The media owner has also drawn plaudits for the award-winning Katie & Co campaign for Jacob's Creek, which involved the creation of a hugely successful web drama designed to appeal to the brand's target audience of time-poor mums juggling multiple responsibilities.
Other groundbreaking work has been produced for brands such as Trident Gum, O2 Academies, Royal Mail and Unilever, while sponsorship renewals were signed for Kiss Does Summer with Coke and its More Th>n Magic Indulgence show.
Internally, Bauer Media claims a low staff turnover - unusual in the sales industry. It has also come up with the Walk A Mile initiative, in which every Bauer Media sales person spends a day programming at one of the stations.
Using a mix of creativity, hard work and determination, Bauer Media has proved itself a worthy overall winner in a tough year.
In a year when the radio market has experienced double-digit decreases, the talkSPORT sales team has beaten the market in many areas, most notably outperforming the rest of the sector by 40 per cent in terms of its share of ad revenue. This has been helped by its much lower reliance on display advertising than other radio stations, and a commitment to delivering creative sales solutions that impressed the judges. Noteworthy achievements include the rebranding of Ian Wright and Darren Gough's Drivetime show as Bowtime, in support of Strongbow, and managing to turn around a campaign for Audi within an hour, resulting in a booking for the station.