WTOP-FM Top Billing Station in 2018 with 28% of DC Radio Revenue

In 2018, Hubbard Radio‘s all-news station WTOP-FM once again has the highest over-the-air radio advertising revenue according to BIA’s revenue forecasts and Media Access Pro. WTOP-FM has held the top spot in four of the past five years. BIA projects WTOP-FM collected revenue of $69 million in 2018, up from $67.8 million in 2017. One other interesting note is that WTOP-FM is the only station in the top 10 list not in one of the three largest radio markets (by population and revenue size) – New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

WTOP-FM (and its affiliate WWWT) account for 28% of the radio advertising dollars in the Washington, DC market. That high a revenue share for station is unique in the top 25 markets, and only a handful of stations in the top 50 markets boast a revenue share over 25%. KIIS-FM, iHeartMedia’s CHR station in Los Angeles, which finished 2nd with an impressive $61 million in revenue (down from $63.2 million in 2017), accounts for a little over 9% of radio revenue in the LA market.

Top 10 Radio Stations in 2018 by Revenue (BIA)

iHeartMedia and Entercom own the other nine top earning stations in 2018. iHeartMedia’s WHTZ(FM) in New York has been the third highest grossing station for several years, but fell to 5th place in 2018, while iHeartMedia’s KBIG-FM in Los Angeles rose in the ranks from 4th to 3rd. Four AM stations remain on the Top 10 list.

Owner revenue ranks remained the same as 2017 – iHeartMedia was the top billing radio owner in 2018, with Entercom and Cumulus Media, Inc. filling out the top 3.

“Although local radio stations are still important players in their markets and are managing to maintain their position in the top five advertising platforms, we do expect the OTA advertising revenue of U.S. radio stations to decrease this year by 1-2 percent and through the next few years,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA Advisory Services. Fratrik forecasts that combined radio revenues will remain relatively flat for at least the next five years, while digital platforms will hit $1 billion by 2020.

BIA’s 2019 editions of Investing in Radio Market Report and Investing in Radio Ownership Report are available for purchase in our online store.

Our local forecast data is available through BIA’s local advertising dashboard, BIA ADVantage and is offered in a searchable, downloadable format.

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