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iHeartMedia is the Top-Billing Radio Owner in 2022

by | May 9, 2023 | BIA, Blog, Broadcast, Local Advertising Forecast, Radio

Recently, we released our annual list with the Top 10 Radio Stations by over-the-air revenue. Now, let’s look through the filter of radio station owners and see who made it onto the top billing list for 2022.

First, it’s worth pointing out that the top four radio owners for 2021 maintained their positions for 2022: iHeartMedia, Audacy, Cumulus Media and Hubbard Radio. And the fifth spot? We’ll discuss in a moment.

iHeartMedia earned the top spot on the list. With 866 AM/FM stations in 150 markets, it brought in in $2.3 billion in 2022. This is up from $2.2 billion with 865 stations in 2021, but still down from $2.6 billion (with 858 stations) in pre-pandemic 2019. Four of iHeartMedia’s stations (all FM) are in BIA’s Top 10 Billing Radio Stations list.

The number two radio owner is Audacy (formerly known as Entercom Communications Corp.), with 230 AM/FM stations in 46 markets bringing in $1.37 billion. This is up from $1.35 billion (with 231 stations in 46 markets) in 2021, but down from nearly $1.6 billion in pre-pandemic 2019 (235 stations). Audacy had three stations (2 AM and 1 FM) in the Top 10 list.

A distant third, revenue-wise, is Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. with 404 AM/FM stations in 85 markets bringing in $493 million. This is up from $481 million in 2021 (407 stations), but down from $531 million in 2019 (425 stations). Cumulus Media didn’t have stations on the Top 10 list.

Fourth on the list is Hubbard Radio which owns the number one revenue-generating station in the U.S., WTOP-FM. WTOP-FM’s $69M accounts for 27% of Hubbard’s revenue in 2022. Hubbard has 54 stations in 10 markets that brought in $252.6 million. Hubbard is the largest privately owned radio group owner on our list in 2022.

In 5th place is Beasley Media Group LLC, which moved up from 6th place in 2021. Beasley had 62 stations in 15 markets, which combined brought in $252.6M. This is up 2.9% from $241.2M in 2021 (63 stations in 15 markets). Beasley had one station in the Top 10 Billing Radio Stations list, WBZ-FM in Boston, MA, which came in 4th.

More key stats from our chart of the top ten radio owners by revenue in 2022:

  • Cox Media Group, Inc. had the best year-over-year growth from 2021 to 2022 – 14.0%, and moved up the list from 8th place to 6th place.
  • Urban One Inc. had the second highest year-over-year growth on the list with 8.7%, which bumped it from 9th place to 8th.
  • Beasley Media Group, LLC (5th place) and Cox Media Group, Inc. (6th place) each have one station in the Top 10 list in 2022.
  • TelevisaUnivision is the top-billing Spanish language broadcaster. However, the company dropped from 5th place in 2021 to 9th in 2022, with revenue declining 16.6%.
  • Eight out of ten radio owners in the top ten are publicly traded, while two are privately held.
  • Nine of the owners on the list were on the 2021 list. Bonneville International Corp., which ranked 10th in 2021, dropped to 12th place in 2022.
  • With year-over-year revenue growth of 3%, Salem Media Group, Inc. rejoins the top 10 list this year for the first time since pre-pandemic 2019.

BIA’s 2023 editions of Investing in Radio Market Report and Investing in Radio Ownership Report are available for purchase in our online store.

Local radio station and revenue data is available in BIA’s broadcasting and publishing database, MEDIA Access Pro.