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WTOP Reclaims BIA/Kelsey’s Top Revenue-Producing Station Title

The crown of top revenue-producing radio station in the United States for 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey’s “Investing in Radio Market Report,” was retaken by Washington, D.C. news station WTOP(FM). The Hubbard Radio owned station had been bumped down to the number two spot in 2014 by iHeartMedia’s KIIS(FM) in Los Angeles, but the stations flip-flopped this year, according to the first quarter edition of the 2016 report.

WTOP brought in an estimated $65 million according to BIA/Kelsey, up from $63.5 million in 2014, while KIIS followed closely behind with $64.7 million, a drop from the station’s estimated $65.9 million during the previous year.

This is the fifth time in the last six years that WTOP has come in as the top station on this list despite coming from the seventh largest market in the country. All other stations that make up the top 10 are in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, the top three markets.

The chart on the right features BIA/Kelsey’s entire top 10 and their estimated total revenues.

WHTZ(FM) rounds out the top three stations for the second year in a row, but saw a drop in estimated revenue from $51 million to $48.8 million. WFAN(FM) in New York and WBBM(FM) Chicago saw the biggest jumps in the rankings, moving up four spots each, with WFAN seeing the biggest surge in revenue year-over-year, going from $41 million in 2014 to $47 million in 2015. WCBS(AM) in New York had the biggest decrease in estimated revenue, dropping $4.2 million compared to its 2014 numbers. The 2015 rankings also saw a newcomer in Los Angeles’ KFI(AM), knocking out KROQ(FM), which is also based in Los Angeles.

Of the top 10 stations, five are owned by iHeartMedia. Four of the stations on the top 10 list broadcast on the AM dial.

Overall, the radio industry’s total estimated revenues, made up of over-the-air and online stations, totaled $14.7 billion. The number is down slightly from BIA/Kelsey’s 2014 estimate of $14.9 billion, but the company forecasts a slight growth over the coming years, with a prediction of the total revenue reaching $15.9 billion by 2020.