The Radio Station Formats Generating the Most Income Are News, Talk, and Sports—Though Music Still Charts

top radio stations by revenue 2023
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top radio stations by revenue 2023
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Photo Credit: 蔡 世宏

BIA Advisory Services has a new report showcasing the top-billing radio stations of 2023 are mostly news, talk radio, and sports formats. here’s the latest.

WTOP-FM Washington, D.C. is the top-billing station in the nation with $66.3 million in over-the-air revenue generated last year—down from $69 million in 2022. The station has pulled in the top honor 13 times in the last 14 years. BIA attributes the station’s top-billing status to representing 29% of the total radio ad revenue in the Washington D.C. market.

2023 Station Rank
Format
Est. OTA Revenue 2023
Owner
Market Rank
Market Name
1
News
$66,300,000
Hubbard Radio LLC
8
Washington, D.C.
2
CHR
$41,800,000
iHeartMedia Inc.
2
Los Angeles, CA
3
News
$40,000,000
Audacy
1
New York, NY
4
Soft Rock
$33,300,000
iHeartMedia Inc.
1
New York, NY
5
Sports
$32,775,000
Beasley Media Group LLC
10
Boston, MA
6
CHR
$31,750,000
iHeartMedia Inc.
1
New York, NY
7
Hot Adult Contemporary
$31,475,000
iHeartMedia Inc.
2
Los Angeles, CA
8
Sports/Talk
$30,350,000
Audacy
1
New York, NY
9
News
$30,000,000
Audacy
3
Chicago, IL
10
News
$29,700,000
Audacy
Audacy
New York, NY

Audacy began simulcasting its all-news giant WINS-AM New York on 92.3 FM in October 2022 and now the station has debuted at #3 on this list with $40 million in 2023 billings. That’s up from the $32 million attributed to the AM station in 2022. BIA now attributes all revenue for the station that invented the all-news format to the FM signal.

A quick look at these stations reveals that of the top billing stations in 2023, six radio stations were spoken-word format (four news, two sports) and four were music. Both iHeart and Audacy each captured four of the top ten slots, while Hubbard and Beasley register one radio station each. Five of radio’s top ten revenue generators are based in New York, two in Los Angeles, and one each in Chicago, Washington D.C., and Boston.

Over-the-air revenues for the top ten radio stations by revenue are down an average of 5% from 2022. The top ranked station in Washington D.C. is down the least with a -3.9% drop compared to 2022. Eight of the top ten radio stations belong to the FM format, while two are AM. Two FM stations are AM/FM simulcasts.