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May Format Counts: Religion’s Total Just Keeps Growing.


For the past year, Inside Radio/PrecisionTrak’s monthly format counts — based on the total stations in each format — has been primarily a tale of two formats: the top two, country and religion.


May 2023 was the last time news/talk tied religion (which includes religious teaching, hymns and other related content) for second, but it’s placed an increasingly distant third ever since. For May 2024, religion’s lead over news/talk increased to 43 stations, the widest gap between the two over the past 12 months, over which time news/talk’s station total has fallen from 2,017 to 1,998, a 19-outlet loss.


Over that same period, religion has added 24 for a 2,041 total. While that’s still far behind top-ranked country, year-over-year that format has seen a 22-station loss, with a gradual decline from June 2023 through March 2024.


While fourth-ranked contemporary Christian didn’t add any new stations in May, it remains the second-largest format in terms of year-over-year gain, adding 21 compared to religion’s 24 and nine since January vs. just four for religion. The only other format with notable growth since last May is fifth-ranked Spanish (encompassing all Spanish-language stations), up a net eight outlets, although down three from April.


Only one other top-10-ranked format, eighth-place classic rock, displays any growth, with just one added station year-over-year and two since January 2024. Sixth-ranked variety (including stations with three or more distinct formats, either block-programmed or simultaneously) has lost 19 since last May while gradually downtrending since February. Seventh-ranked classic hits is off by five year-over-year and 12 from January.


Sports, ranked ninth, has lost 14 outlets from last May and 13 from January 2024, with 10th-place top 40 shedding seven since the first of the year.


For the three formats just below the top 10, there’s no real growth to speak of, with 11th-ranked adult contemporary off seven year-over-year (548-541) and even with January, and hot AC in 12th, down 19 from May 2023 (460-441) and four from the first of the year. Alternative rock, placing 13th, does gain one outlet year-over-year (422-423) but has shed three since January.

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