BIA: iHeart Leads Industry As Top-Billing Radio Group In 2022.
iHeartMedia was the top-billing radio company in 2022, according to BIA Advisory Services.
With 866 AM/FM stations in 150 markets, the company had $2.3 billion in revenue last year. That’s up from $2.2 billion in 2021 (with 865 stations), but still down from $2.6 billion in pre-pandemic 2019 (with 858 stations). Four of the company’s FM stations are in BIA’s Top 10 Billing Radio Stations list – KIIS Los Angeles, WLTW New York, WHTZ New York, and KBIG Los Angeles.
The top four radio owners for 2021 maintained their positions for 2022 in BIA’s tally: iHeartMedia, Audacy, Cumulus Media, and Hubbard Radio.
Audacy’s 230 AM/FM radio stations in 46 markets delivered $1.37 billion in 2022 billings. That’s 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 in the BIA’s Top 10 list – WINS New York, WFAN-AM/FM New York, and WBBM-AM Chicago.
A distant third, revenue-wise, is Cumulus Media with 404 AM/FM stations in 85 markets bringing in $493 million. That’s an increase from $481 million in 2021 (407 stations), but down from $531 million in 2019 (425 stations). Cumulus Media didn’t have any stations on the Top 10 list.
Fourth on the list is Hubbard Radio which owns the perennial number one revenue-generating station in the U.S., news WTOP Washington, DC. WTOP’s $69 million accounted for 27% of Hubbard’s revenue in 2022. The company owns 54 stations in 10 markets that collectively brought in $252.6 million in 2022. Hubbard is the largest privately owned radio group owner on the BIA list in 2022.
In fifth is Beasley Media Group, which moved up from 6th place in 2021. Beasley had 62 stations in 15 markets, which combined brought in $252.6 million last year. This is up 2.9% from $241.2 million 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 fourth.
The remaining radio groups in the top 10 for 2022 revenue include Cox Media Group with $240.3 million. The company had the best year-over-year growth, up 14% in billings and rising from 8th to 6th on the annual list.
Townsquare Media is ranked seventh in 2022 with $213.8 million, followed by Urban One at $213.4 million which had the second-highest year-over-year growth (+8.7%), moving from ninth to eighth.
TelevisaUnivision’s radio division is ranked ninth with $204.9 million in 2022, and Salem Media Group is tenth with $128.1 million. TelevisaUnivision is the top-billing Spanish-language radio broadcaster. However, with a 16.6% decrease in revenue, the company moved from fifth to ninth. Salem is back in the top ten for the first time since 2019, with a year-over-year billing increase of 3%.
BIA notes that 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 tally. Bonneville International, which ranked 10th in 2021, dropped to 12th place in 2022.