Local Radio's Over-The Air, Digital Revs Hit $13.6 Billion in 2022

Radio ad revenue has enjoyed a respectable rise from 2021 to 2022.

Total local radio over-the-air and digital revenue for 2022 topped $13.6 billion in 2022, an uptick of 7.4% from $12.6 billion in 2021. Over-the-air advertising grew 2.2% to $11 billion, up from $10.7 billion in 2021. Digital income rose 35% to $2.6 billion.

That's according to BIA Advisory Services, which just released its Investing in Radio Market Report for 2023.

“Looking at last year’s ad revenue results, it shows that radio is maintaining an important position in their local markets, particularly as it expands and improves its online digital presence,” said Nicole Ovadia, vice president, forecasting at BIA. “This year, we are making a particular effort to track the digital revenue of local radio stations."

Ovadia forecasts the 2022 revenue hike will be harder to achieve this year, since there is no major political spending. However, 2024 political advertising is expected to begin earlier in the cycle, potentially bleeding into late Q4 of 2023.  

For the top 10 radio stations by over-the-air revenue, a few adjustments in rankings occurred in 2022.

While Washington, DC all-news station WTOP-FM maintained its longtime leading spot with $69 million in advertising revenue, other all-news stations struggled.

Compared to last year’s list, Chicago's all-news station WBBM (AM) dropped to the No. 9 position and all-news station WCBS (AM) in New York dropped to the No. 11. New to the list is WSB (AM) news/talk in Atlanta, with $31.6 million in 2022 revenues.

Radio sales transactions had a different fate.

Lauren Ross, BIA’s vice president, media valuations, said: “The radio deal market can best be described as sluggish in the past three years. Although deal volume increased by two-thirds in 2022 to $300 million from $190 million in 2021, total radio station sales have been very low since 2018. All totaled, there were just seven radio buys of $10.0 million or more in 2022.”
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