It was recently announced that local Washington, D.C.-based radio station, WTOP-FM, generated the most revenue of any local radio station in the country in 2013. For the fourth year in a row, the Hubbard Radio-owned station remained the top revenue producer. Along with the traditional over-the-air model, WTOP successfully engages audiences digitally as well.
In 2013, it took in $63.5 million dollars in advertising revenue. Following in second, third and fourth are KIIS-FM in Los Angeles at $61.6 million, WHTZ-FM in New York at $51 million and WCBS-AM in New York at $50.5 million, respectively. While WTOP’s 2013 revenue was down slightly from 2012 (1.7%), it is the only radio station in the top-10 list of revenue producers not located in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago.
This understanding of advertising revenue is valuable to the work we do, as it provides additional insight into what people are choosing to listen to on the radio. But it is important to also note that advertising and public relations are two entirely different sides of the same coin.
In a recent blog we posted, “Are You Earning Media or Buying an Advertisement?”, News Generation president Susan Matthews Apgood carefully describes the differences between earned media (what we secure for our clients) and guaranteed placements (advertisement purchases).
While both earned media and advertisements can certainly be important in an organization’s outreach plan, our niche is the former – ensuring that our clients’ stories earn airtime in newscasts and talk shows based on the newsworthiness and merit of the content.
It’s great to see that advertising revenues are up in recent years and are projected to continue to grow in the future, since this is how many radio stations make money and continue to support great reporters and content.