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More Stations Are Flipping To Contemporary Christian, Spanish And Classic Rock.

The latest trends for total U.S. stations continue to show growth for three formats: contemporary Christian, classic rock, and the umbrella of all Spanish formats taken together.

Inside Radio’s Format Counts monitor for February finds contemporary Christian, ranking fourth among formats with the most stations, has added 20 new outlets from a year ago for a 1.5% gain. Fifth-ranked Spanish formats add 15 for a 1.2% lift, while classic rock, which ranks eighth, adds 11 for a 1.7% increase.

Also trending up are top-ranked country (six more stations vs. Feb. 2022, up 0.3%) and classic hits (five more, up 0.4%).

The top 10 formats remain in the same order as in January, with country's lead giving it a 12.4% share of U.S. stations, news/talk second at 11.5%, and religion (including teaching and variety-formatted stations) a close third at 11.4%. It's still a close race down at eighth and ninth, where classic rock, which passed sports last August, leads by just two stations, although it trends up while sports' total is moving in the opposite direction.

While five of the top 10 formats have added stations year-over-year, the other half have lost outlets to varying degrees. Second-ranked news/talk has shed the most, 25 stations, translating to a 1.2% decline, while top 40, ranked 10th, has lost 20 for a 3.4% dip. Sports has 12 fewer stations than a year ago, off by 1.9%, while the variety format category, encompassing eclectic-formatted non-commercial FM or brokered AM stations, has lost three stations for a 0.2% decrease, and religion loses two, down 0.1%.

Just below the top 10, 11th-ranked adult contemporary shows four fewer outlets vs, a year ago, off by 0.7%, while hot AC, placing 12th, loses 11 for a 2.3% decline.

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