More Stations For Contemporary Christian And Classic Hits, Fewer For Top 40 And News/Talk.
While the ranking of radio formats with the most stations in the U.S. shows little change from month to month, the growth trends are where the action is in Inside Radio’s Format Counts monitor for January.
Overall, the top 10 formats' shares stay steady, with country keeping its lead with 12.4% of U.S. stations, followed by news/talk at 11.5% and religion (including teaching and variety-formatted stations) close behind at 11.4%.
For country, there's not much change, with just six new stations added since last January and none since December 2022. Runner-up news/talk, however, with 159 fewer outlets than country, has lost 21 from a year ago and three since December. It's worth noting that 12 of those stations lost are AM or public FM frequencies that went dark, two that flipped to country, two to sports and one to classic hits.
While religion loses five stations from a year ago and none since December, it's fourth-ranked contemporary Christian with the biggest gains, adding a net 21 stations year-over-year and six from December. Most of these stations are owned by Education Media Foundation, which added new “K-Love” outlets in 11 markets including San Antonio, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco where it supplanted country KTRY following its purchase of the FM from Empire Broadcasting.
The all-Spanish stations category, placing fifth, adds an impressive 16 outlets from a year ago and five since December. Among those are new Spanish regional Mexican formatted stations in Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Detroit and Minneapolis, all of which are AMs with the exception of iHeartMedia's “El Patron 96.7” WBZW Atlanta.
Tying Spanish's 16 additional stations over the past year is classic hits, which ranks seventh overall. The format added stations in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington DC, Boston and Tampa, along with two flips to classic hits by iHeart stations in Ft. Myers, FL and Cedar Rapids, IA, and two by Townsquare Media outlets in Minneapolis and Binghamton, NY. Eighth-ranked classic rock, meanwhile, adds 12 stations from last January although shedding five since December.
Top 40/CHR, which ranks 10th, loses the most stations, with 24 gone from a year ago. Notable switchers include Cumulus Media's “Hot 93.3” KLIF-FM Dallas which moved to adult contemporary, and iHeart's flip of WJJS Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA to rhythmic CHR. Three former CHRs changed to classic hits, and two to AC.
Rounding out the top 10 are ninth-place sports, losing 10 year-over-year but up five since December, and the variety format category, encompassing eclectic-formatted non-commercial FM or brokered AM stations, with 11 fewer stations from a year ago and three fewer since December.
Formats Ranked By Stations Gained/Lost Since January 2022:
Contemporary Christian +21 (+1.6%)
Classic hits +16 (+1.4%)
Spanish +16 (+1.3%)
Classic rock +12 (+1.9%)
Country +6 (+0.3%)
Religion +5 (-0.2%)
Sports -10 (-1.6%)
Variety -11 (-0.9%)
News/talk -21 (-1.0%)
Top 40 -24 (-3.9%)
Formats Ranked By Stations Gained/Lost Since December 2022:
Contemporary Christian +6 (+0.4%)
Spanish +5 (+0.4%)
Sports +2 (+0.3%)
Classic hits +2 (+0.2%)
Country, Religion 0 each
Top 40 -1 (-0.2%)
News/talk -3 (-0.1%)
Variety -3 (-0.2%)
Classic rock -5 (-0.8%)