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WTOP Again Leads Top Billing Station List

BIA releases data for 2021

WTOP(FM) in Washington continues to blow away all other U.S. radio stations when it comes to bringing in revenue.

The Hubbard Radio station in the national capital again holds the No. 1 position in BIA Advisory Services’ list of top-billing U.S. stations.

Here’s the chart with BIA’s estimates for 2021 revenue; our story continues below the chart. (And for a list of top-billing companies, see link at bottom.)


Chart from BIA Advisory Services of top-billing US radio stations in 2021 with WTOP(FM) in first position

The research firm notes that WTOP has held the top spot since 2014.

“BIA estimates that WTOP(FM) pulled $70 million in revenues in 2021, up 12.9% from $62 million in 2020. This surpasses the overall growth rate of 10.3% that BIA forecasts for over-the-air radio from 2020 to 2021, as the industry started to pull out of the pandemic slump.”

BIA said WTOP is the only station on the list to surpass its pre-pandemic revenue figure of $69.8 million in 2019.

“Hubbard Radio LLC garnered 30.5% of the over-the-air revenue in the Washington, DC market in 2021 … 29.1% of which went to WTOP(FM). Number two ranked KIIS-FM in Los Angeles accounted for 9.1% of the over-the-air revenue in Los Angeles with $43 million (down from pre-pandemic revenues of $59.9 million in 2019). And Number 3 ranked WLTW in New York accounted for 8.7% of the market’s over-the-air radio revenue with $34.6 million (down from $44 million in 2019). Both KIIS-FM and WLTW are owned by iHeartMedia Inc.”

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Audacy’s WBBM(AM) in Chicago moved up from No. 5 to No. 4 and had the most year-over-year growth of any station in the top10, growing 14.5% from the year before, though still below 2019.

“Last year’s Number 4 station, WSB(AM) in Atlanta, Georgia, owned by Cox Media Group, Inc. fell off the list and landed at No. 12.”

Seven of the top 10 are FM stations and three are AM. Hubbard and Beasley Media Group each had one station in the top 10, while iHeartMedia and Audacy each had four.

“Four stations program a news format, one is sports, and one is sports/talk, while the remaining four have music programming,” BIA noted. “Five of the top ten are in New York, while two are in Los Angeles and there’s one each in Washington, Chicago, and Boston.”

BIA also released a chart of the top-billing radio ownership groups, with iHeart again leading the list; read that here.