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Hubbard’s WTOP is Top of the Radio Heap

by | Mar 31, 2017 | BIA, Blog, Local Advertising Forecast, Radio

Hubbard Radio, LLC’s WTOP-FM has firmly planted itself atop BIA/Kelsey’s list of radio stations with the highest estimated gross revenue in 2016, according the first quarter edition of BIA/Kelsey’s 2017 Investing In Radio® Market Report. WTOP-FM, a staple of the Washington, DC radio market, beat back competition from stations in the top three markets (by population size and revenue) — New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. WTOP-FM has battled iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM for top spot for years, usually coming out on top (except in 2014). In 2015 it was close, just $300,000 separated WTOP-FM and KIIS-FM. In 2016, WTOP-FM grew its revenue by 3.8% while KIIS-FM’s saw its revenues grow 1.9%. No doubt that news station WTOP-FM was aided by the 2016 Presidential election.

Hubbard owns additional stations in the DC market, but WTOP-FM tops them all… with its $67.5 million accounting for about 25% of the total radio advertising revenue in the DC market in 2016.

The same stations made the top 10 list in 2015 and 2016, although WCBS(AM) in New York saw its revenues fall 2.2%, dropping it from 5th to 7th. WLTW-FM in New York had the biggest revenue growth from 2015 to 2016 — 5.0%.

A few interesting things to note – four out of the Top 10 are AM radio stations. Five of the stations are news or news/talk formatted stations, plus one more is a sports/talk. Seven of the top 10 were able to grow their revenues from 2015 to 2016, even as radio revenues nationwide stayed fairly flat, according to BIA/Kelsey’s revenue estimates.

“In an age where consumers have many entertainment choices, local radio maintains its strength and popularity in the marketplace among national and local advertisers,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and chief economist at BIA/Kelsey. Fratrik added that the prospects for 2017 remain similar to 2016, with over-the-air (OTA) revenues increasing less than 1% and online about 12%. BIA/Kelsey forecasts that the radio industry’s revenue in 2017 will reach a total of $14.9 billion, representing 10.5% of the $148.8 billion U.S. local advertising marketplace as estimated by BIA/Kelsey.


Check out our website for more information on all of BIA/Kelsey’s Investing In publications. The Investing In Radio Market Report, first-quarter edition, can be purchased online or by emailing