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In an announcement that should surprise no one in the radio industry, BIA today announced that Hubbard Radio, LLC’s WTOP-FM in Washington, DC continued its winning streak in 2022 and was once again the top-billing radio station. If you’re keeping count, that’s 12 times in the last 13 years that WTOP-FM has been #1 on the list.

  • Seven of the top ten are FM stations and three are AM.
  • Hubbard, Beasley Media Group, LLC, and Cox Media Group, Inc. each landed one station in the top ten, while iHeartMedia had four stations and Audacy had three.
  • Three stations program a News format, one is News/Talk, one is Sports, one is Sports/Talk, and the remaining four have music programming.
  • Four of the top ten are in New York, two are in Los Angeles, and there’s one each in Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, and Boston.

Tune in to our blog next week for the Top 10 Radio Owners by revenue in 2022.

Here’s the press release from BIA:

Local Radio Topped $13.6 Billion in 2022, Growing Just Over Seven Percent Year over Year, according to BIA Advisory Services Estimates

BIA’s Top 10 Radio Stations by OTA Revenue Adjusts Slightly

Chantilly, VA (May 4, 2023) – In the first edition of its Investing In Radio® Market Report for 2023, BIA Advisory Services reports that total local radio over-the-air and digital revenue for 2022 topped $13.6 billion in 2022, growing 7.4 percent from $12.6 billion in 2021. Over-the-air advertising grew 2.2 percent to $11 billion (up from $10.7 billion in 2021) and digital income rose 35 percent to $2.6 billion (up from $1.9 billion in 2021).

“Looking at last year’s ad revenue results, it shows that radio is maintaining an important position in their local markets, particularly as it expands and improves its online digital presence,” said Nicole Ovadia, VP of Forecasting at BIA. “This year, we are making a particular effort to track the digital revenue of local radio stations and believe this breakout in our forecast will be valuable to everyone in the industry.”

For 2023, Ovadia forecasts that the bump in revenue experienced in 2022 will be harder this year without significant political spending but expects that 2024 political advertising will start earlier in the cycle than usual, potentially bleeding into late Q4 of 2023.  

For the top 10 radio stations by OTA revenue, a few adjustments in rankings occurred in 2022. While Washington, DC all-news station WTOP-FM maintained its long-time leading spot with $69 million in advertising revenue, other all-news stations struggled. Compared to last year’s list, Chicago, IL all-news station WBBM (AM) dropped to the number nine position and all-news station WCBS (AM) in New York dropped to the eleventh position. New to the list is WSB (AM) news/talk in Atlanta, GA, with $31.6 million in 2022 revenues.

In radio station sale transactions, BIA’s VP of Media Valuations, Lauren Ross said, “The radio deal market can best be described as sluggish in the past three years. Although deal volume[1] increased by two-thirds in 2022 to $300 million from $190 million in 2021, total radio station sales have been very low since 2018. All totaled, there were just seven radio buys of $10.0 million or more in 2022.”

BIA reports more on local radio in the first edition of its 2023 Investing In Radio® Market Report, which provides comprehensive revenue estimates for every Nielsen audio market. New this year are estimates for both over-the-air revenue and digital revenue. The market report is available for purchase in the company’s online shop. Revenue estimates and much more on every radio station is also available in MEDIA Access Pro™, BIA’s broadcasting and publishing data platform.

Also available for purchase is the Investing In Radio® 2023 Ownership Report that delivers a detailed analysis and guide of all owners in the Nielsen Audio rated markets and non-rated markets. Details are here.

[1] Includes announced sales of commercial full power AM and FM stations.

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