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Contemporary Christian, Religion And Spanish Formats Just Keep Growing.


Whether looking at format trends from a year ago or since January of this year, contemporary Christian along with religion-based formats are the only two adding 10 or more stations. Contemporary Christian has gone the extra mile, adding 26 outlets from May 2022 to May 2023.


M Street Corp./Inside Radio's monthly Format Counts monitor for May shows the religion format (including teaching and variety), third-ranked overall among total stations in the U.S., had 14 new converts from a year ago and 12 since January 2023. Fourth-ranked contemporary Christian, meanwhile, added those 26 from a year ago, for a significant 1.9% increase in stations, with 11 coming aboard since the beginning of this year.


Also with notable growth are all Spanish-language formats taken together, ranked fifth, which account for a 1.5% lift in total stations May-to-May, adding 19 more, including six since January. The only other format among the top 10 gaining both ways is classic rock, with three new stations from a year ago and one since the first of the year.


For three additional formats, the trend goes in both directions. The top-ranked country format lost two from May 2022 but has added four since January, also the case for CHR, placing tenth overall, which lost 15 outlets from a year ago but has added three new stations this year. Seventh-ranked classic hits, on the other hand, gained three May-to-May but shed one since January.


For the remainder of the top 10 formats, total stations are down across the board. Second-place news/talk lost 16 outlets year-over-year, including two just this year, while sports formats shed nine stations since last May and four since January. The variety category, including eclectic-formatted non-commercial FM or brokered AM stations, lost five overall and two this year to date.


Just below the top 10, adult contemporary is off by six stations year-over-year and five since January, hot AC loses four since last May but gains two Jan-May, and alternative rock is down by eight year-over-year and by two this year to date.

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