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Hubbard’s WTOP-FM Retains Top Spot as Highest-Billing Radio Station in 2023

Author, Suzanne Ackley, Senior Research Analyst, BIA Advisory Services

Hubbard Radio, LLC’s WTOP-FM in Washington, DC has once again continued its winning streak in 2023 and remains the top-billing radio station in the United States, according to BIA’s newly released Investing in Radio 2024, 1st Edition. If you’re keeping count, that’s 13 times in the last 14 years that WTOP-FM has been #1 on the list.

Hubbard owns additional stations in the DC market, but WTOP-FM tops them all… with its $66.3 million in over-the-air revenue accounting for nearly 29% of the total radio advertising revenue in the Washington DC market in 2023. Hubbard’s stations collectively account for 30.1% of revenue in the Washington, DC radio market.

Below is the Top 10 Radio Stations by Revenue in 2023, which reflects only over-the-air revenue.

  • Over-the-air revenues for the top 10 stations are down an average of 5.0% from 2022. Number 1 WTOP-FM is down the least, 3.9%.
  • Eight of the top ten are FM stations and two are AM. However, Audacy’s WINS-FM is replacing WINS(AM) on this list as the stations started simulcasting in late 2022. BIA attributes revenue to the FM station.
  • Hubbard and Beasley Media Group LLC each landed one station in the top ten, while iHeartMedia and Audacy each have four.
  • Four stations program a News format, one is Sports, one is Sports/Talk, and the remaining four have music programming.
  • Five of the top ten are in New York, two are in Los Angeles, and there’s one each in Chicago, Washington, and Boston.
  • At least two of the FM stations on the list are actually AM/FM simulcasts… Audacy’s WINS AM/FM and WFAN AM/FM in New York.

Now, a caveat about our reporting: BIA follows Nielsen reporting of Total Line Reporting (TLR) that allows stations like WINS FM and AM to combine their revenue and share into the FM. That means we don’t separate the share of revenue between AM and FM as it’s all rolled into FM.

Speaking of AM stations, the top ten billing AM radio stations in 2023 were:

  • Many of the AM stations on this list have benefited from having an FM simulcast. The revenues listed reflect TLR, and not AM billing only, as mentioned in the caveat above.
  • Cox Media Group Inc. and Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. each landed one station in the top ten, while Audacy has five and iHeartMedia has three.
  • Five stations program News, three program News/Talk, one has a combination of News/Talk/Sports, and one is Sports.
  • Two of the top ten are in Los Angeles, and there’s one each in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston-Galveston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Denver-Boulder.

More analysis is coming on stations. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on the Top 10 Radio Owners by revenue and the Top 10 Billing Spanish Language Radio Stations and more.

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