The average all-news radio station in the U.S. billed $17.46 million last year, up slightly from $17.28 million in 2015, according to analysis of BIA/Kelsey data conducted by Pew Research Center. The new numbers are part of an “Audio and Podcasting Fact Sheet” compiled by Pew, part of its just issued 2017 “State Of The News Media” report.
Over the last seven years, average station revenue for all-news stations has hovered between $16 and $19 million per year. Pew notes that only 20 of the 29 all-news stations currently listed in the BIA/Kelsey database have revenue data during any of these years and so they are the only ones included in the averages.
Pew’s eight-year trend shows the all-news format rose from $16.36 million in 2009 to peak at $18.72 million in 2011. From there it posted modest annual declines through 2015, before a slight uptick in 2016.
The growth curve follows a similar path when the large number of news/talk and news/talk/information stations are averaged in with all-news stations. Per-station revenue for this much larger group of 438 stations is substantially lower than all-news, averaging $2.4 million per station in 2016. That’s likely due to the fact that this umbrella category represents a much larger number of smaller stations. Average revenue for this group stayed mostly flat across the eight years tracked by Pew, starting at $2.46 million in 2009, climbing to $2.61 million in 2011 followed by four years of slight declines to $2.39 million in 2015, before creeping up to $2.41 million in 2016.
As of 2017, there were 29 AM or FM stations categorized as “all-news” in the BIA/Kelsey database, down three in 2016. CBS Radio has the largest number of all-news outlets, with 10 of the 29 stations, including three of radio’s top billing stations in any format: “News Radio 780” WBBM Chicago and New York’s “NewsRadio 880” WCBS and WINS (1010). The remainder is spread across 13 groups, including Hubbard Broadcasting (with three stations including revenue leader WTOP Washington, DC) followed by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Neal Ardman, Cox Media Group and Cumulus Media with two stations apiece. The remaining stations are all singletons.
Pew’s State Of The News Media also reports on radio’s broadcast and online listenership, quoting familiar numbers from Nielsen Audio, Edison Research and Triton Digital. It shows news/talk/information was radio’s most listened-to format with a 9.6 share (6+) in PPM markets from Jan.-Nov. 2016.
Pew has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for various sectors within the U.S. news media industry since 2004. This year, instead of a single summary report, a series of fact sheets showing the most important current and historical data points for each sector will be rolled out a few at a time over the coming months.