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Format Counts: Contemporary Christian, Religion Again Add The Most Stations.

The trends noted for July in M Street Corp./Inside Radio's monthly Format Counts repeat in August, as country, religion (including teaching and variety), and news-talk remain the three most programmed formats on U.S. stations. As for formats adding the most outlets, fourth-ranked contemporary Christian and religion again lead, with fifth-ranked Spanish-formatted stations not far behind.

Of the top 10 formats, based on total number of stations, just two aside from contemporary Christian, religion, and Spanish have added outlets either year-over-year, or since January: classic hits and classic rock, ranked at seventh and eighth respectively.

Country, with the most stations during every month of the past year, leads religion by 151, six fewer than in July. For religion and news/talk – which first switched places in March, with the former either tied with or ahead of the latter since May – religion now shows 15 more outlets than news/talk vs. 11 last month. Country has added just one station since January and none year-over-year, while news/talk has lost six year-to-date and two since last August.

As noted above, contemporary Christian, religion and Spanish are the formats where the growth is. Year-over-year, contemporary Christian gains the most stations, 34 (up 2.5%), with 23 (+1.7%) added since January, while religion adds 32 (+1.6%) and 23 (+1.1%) in those columns. Spanish brings in 20 (+1.6%) since August 2022 and 8 (+0.6%) since January 2023.

For classic hits and classic rock, the gains are in the single-digits, the former with five more stations year-over-year and seven year-to-date, and the latter five and three. The results are mixed for sixth-ranked variety (including eclectic-formatted non-commercial FM or brokered AM stations), up one since last August and down four since January, and tenth-ranked top 40, losing ten outlets vs. a year ago and up two since the first of this year.

Aside from news/talk, the only other listed format adding no stations is ninth-ranked sports, off by three year-over-year and four year-to-date.

Below the top 10, 11th-ranked adult contemporary is off by five stations since last August and nine since January, while hot AC in 12th is down three either way, and 13th-place alternative rock loses seven outlets year-over-year but gains one year-to-date.

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