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Format Counts: Religion Again Passes News/Talk As Second Most Programmed.

After tying with news/talk for second most programmed in May, the religion category – including teaching and variety-formatted stations – again stands alone in second place in Inside Radio’s monthly Format Counts monitor, with 2,021 stations vs. news/talk's 2,017.

This is the second month this year where religion has led news/talk, as it was ahead by just one outlet in March (2,012, vs. news/talk's 2,011).

For news/talk, its 2,017 stations in June is even with April and May totals, while religion gains four outlets from May to June. From a year ago, and from the first month of 2023, it represents a steady rise for religion, adding a net 24 stations year-over-year, for a 1.2% lift, and 16 since January for a 0.8% gain. Conversely, news/talk is down by a net 12 stations since June 2022, and two since January 2023.

As for the rest of the top 10 formats, the order stays the same, with country leading religion by 165 stations, as its totals are also up from both last June (+6 net outlets) and January (+8). The five formats which again rank fourth through eighth – contemporary Christian, Spanish, variety, classic hits, and classic rock – all show more stations both year-over-year and since January of this year. On the other hand, sports and top 40, ranked ninth and tenth, are downtrending, except for one added outlet for the latter since January.

Taking a closer look at the seven formats adding stations, fourth-ranked contemporary Christian leads the pack with a net 33 stations added since last June, and 15 this year so far. As noted above, second-place religion gains 24 and 16, year-over-year and since January respectively, while the Spanish-language category, ranked fifth, adds 21 and seven.

As for the rest, top-ranked country gains six from June 2022 and eight since January 2023, classic hits at seventh gains five and three, eighth-place classic rock five and two, and sixth-ranked variety – which includes, among others, eclectic-formatted non-commercial FM or brokered AM stations – adds two year-over-year and one since the first of the year.

Below the top 10, adult contemporary at 11th remains at 548 stations, off by three from a year ago and five since January, 12th-ranked hot AC at 455 sheds nine and three respectively, and alternative rock at 422 loses 11 and two.

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