Local Media Watch

<< Return to Blog

Top Billing Radio Owner Groups in 2023

by | May 21, 2024 | BIA, Blog, Broadcast, Local Advertising Forecast

We recently released our annual list of the Top 10 Radio Stations by over-the-air revenue. Now, let’s examine the top billing list for 2023 through the lens of radio station ownership.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the top five radio owners from 2022 retained their positions in 2023: iHeartMedia, Audacy, Cumulus Media, Hubbard Radio, and Beasley Media Group. Given that 2023 was a non-political year in most markets, revenue decreases from 2022 are to be expected.

iHeartMedia Leads the Pack

iHeartMedia secured the top spot once again. With 870 AM/FM stations across 151 markets, it generated $2.15 billion in 2023. While this is down from $2.26 billion in 2022 (with 866 stations) and $2.6 billion in pre-pandemic 2019 (with 858 stations), iHeartMedia’s dominance remains clear. Four of its FM stations made BIA’s Top 10 Billing Radio Stations list.

Audacy Takes Second Place

Audacy claimed the number two spot, with 227 AM/FM stations across 46 markets bringing in $1.3 billion. This represents a decline from $1.35 billion in 2022 (with 230 stations) and $1.6 billion in pre-pandemic 2019 (with 235 stations). Audacy had four stations (two AM, two FM) in the Top 10 list.

Cumulus a Distant Third

Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. came in a distant third in terms of revenue, with 404 AM/FM stations across 82 markets generating $413.9 million. This marks a 22% decrease from $493 million in 2022 (with 404 stations) and $531 million in 2019 (with 425 stations).

Hubbard Radio’s Powerhouse Station

Hubbard Radio secured the fourth position, thanks in large part to WTOP-FM, the number one revenue-generating station in the U.S. WTOP-FM’s $66.3M contribution accounted for nearly 28% of Hubbard’s 2023 revenue. Hubbard owns 54 stations across 10 markets, generating a total of $240.5 million. As the largest privately-owned radio group on our 2023 list, Hubbard continues to be a significant player in the industry.

Beasley Media Group Rounds Out the Top 5

Beasley Media Group LLC took fifth place, with 58 stations across 13 markets combining for $232.2M. This is a decrease from $248M in 2022 (with 62 stations across 15 markets). Beasley had one station in the Top 10 Billing Radio Stations list: WBZ-FM in Boston, MA, which ranked fifth.

More key stats from our chart of the top ten radio owners by revenue in 2023:

  • Urban One Inc. was one of only two radio owners in the top 10 to show year-over-year revenue growth (0.5%), rising from 8th to 6th place.
  • Alpha Media achieved the second-highest year-over-year growth on the list (0.2%), moving from 11th place to 10th and knocking Salem Media Group off the list.
  • TelevisaUnivision is the top-billing Spanish language broadcaster in the U.S. Five of the top 10 billing Spanish language radio stations in 2023 belong to TelevisaUnivision. More on the top Spanish language stations coming soon.
  • Seven out of ten radio owners in the top ten are publicly traded, while three are privately held.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with BIA

BIA’s 2024 editions of Investing in Radio Market Report and Investing in Radio Ownership Report are now available for purchase in our online store. Stay informed about the trends shaping the radio industry.