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WTOP Named the Top Billing Radio Station in the U.S.

The Hubbard-owned radio station rakes in $62 million in advertising revenue. 

Ryan Hedrick

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The list of some of the top billing radio stations for 2020 includes some legendary news/talk stations. 

According to Radio Insight, BIA Advisory Services has named Hubbard-owned 103.5 WTOP in Washington D.C. as the top billing radio station in the U.S., raking in $62 million in advertising revenue. In addition, the marketing agency said last year’s elections helped WTOP’s revenue stream. 

In Atlanta, another hotbed of political activity, Cox Media Group’s 95.5 WSB billed $30. Again, political ads helped bolster its overall total for 2020. 

Audacy-owned News 780 WBBM Chicago/105.9 WCFS-FM Elmwood Park IL rises from ninth at $39.05 million to fifth with $29.7 million.

Audacy News 1010 WINS New York moves from seventh to ninth, declining from $40.3 million to $28.1 million.

Audacy-owned 880 WCBS dropped out of the top billing stations after generating $39.2 million in advertising revenue. 

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Borrell Survey Spotlights What Local Advertisers Are Buying

From March to May, Borrell surveyed 1,920 direct buyers with average gross revenue of $3.3 million and allocated 5% of their income to advertising.

Eduardo Razo

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Outside of the largest markets, most radio ad revenue comes from local direct ad buyers. So to figure out what local business buyers are buying, Borrell Associates used their survey to help fill that interest. 

From March to May, Borrell surveyed 1,920 direct buyers with average gross revenue of $3.3 million and allocated 5% of their income to advertising. The semi-annual survey found radio, social media, and events/sponsorships top the list of the most used media types. 

Each is bought by 50% of the sample. The average radio buyer invests $42,330 annually in the medium. That was second only to broadcast TV at $109,263. Seven of local buyers’ top 10 most used media were traditional channels. 

The tilt toward traditional is likely due partly to the fact that participants were selected from the rolls of traditional media companies.

Meanwhile, Streaming audio finished dead last among 20 media types studied, with just 9% of local businesses presently buying it with an intermediate annual cost of $16,140. 

Borrell says the lackluster performance is due to the small fraction of local podcasts; most shows target a national audience.

Along with streaming audio, these more assertive advertisers were at least twice as probably to buy content marketing, broadcast TV, and streaming video.

“What this tells us is these big gamblers… are out there with streaming audio and content marketing, and broadcast TV and streaming video and OTT at twice or more the rate of everybody else,” Borrell explained. 

You can read the entire survey from Borrell, which Inside Radio relayed. 

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1130 KTLK’s Drew Lee Dies Unexpectedly

The morning co-host for Drew Lee, Jon Justice, announced Monday from a hospital room at the University of Minnesota as he recuperates from open-heart surgery.

Eduardo Razo

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Drew Lee's Facebook

Tragic news has come out of Minnesota as radio personality Drew Lee died unexpectedly over the weekend. Bring Me The News adds that the cause of death is unknown at the moment. 

Lee’s morning co-host at AM 1130 KTLK, Jon Justice, announced Monday from a hospital room at the University of Minnesota as he recuperates from open-heart surgery. 

“This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my entire radio career,” Justice, co-host of the “Justice and Drew Show,” said. “He was with his wife at the time. I hopefully will be coming home sometime today, but I had asked that I be the one to make this devastating and tragic announcement to you.”

“Drew was my best friend. He was your friend and I don’t need to tell you how special he was. It goes without saying that I’m devastating and he will be tragically missed,” Justice continued. “Everybody here at iHeart is grieving. We ask for your prayers for Drew’s family as they get through this difficult time.”

Lee recently spoke with Barrett News Media’s Jim Cryns, where he touched on various topics, including their show’s reach as they have listeners outside of the Twin Cities.

“We’ve got listeners all over the country, from New York to California,” Lee said. “I find that amazing. Here we are, this little Minnesota-centric show growing an audience at the national level.”

“I’m excited about where we’re going organically. People seem to be gravitating to our content, telling friends about it. I want to see how far we can take this fun little morning show.”

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VPR and Vermont PBS Rebrands as Vermont Public

“Our new name pays homage to our past while signaling a new mission for the future,” President and CEO Scott Finn said in a press release relayed by Radio Insight.

Eduardo Razo

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VPR and Vermont PBS are rebranding as the television, radio, and digital platform will now be known as Vermont Public after officially merging last year. Furthermore, this move reflects the cooperative mission of the state’s public media organization.

“Our new name pays homage to our past while signaling a new mission for the future,” President and CEO Scott Finn said in a press release relayed by Radio Insight

“Across TV, radio, and digital platforms, we will engage a broader and more diverse audience through stories that bring our community together.”

Over the last year, Vermont Public has researched with the public, staff, and board of directors to understand better the needs, perceptions, opportunities, and challenges for public media in Vermont.

Furthermore, the rebranded name and graphic identity are now live at vermontpublic.org and on its broadcast channels, stations, and digital platforms.

“We’ve been here to engage, inform, and inspire Vermonters for more than fifty years,” according to Marguerite Dibble, the incoming board chair. “And that won’t change. Our core audience will continue to see and hear all the things they love.”

“Their support and loyalty have shaped who we are today. And as the needs of our community evolve, and the media landscape shifts, we want to broaden access for all voices to participate, from every corner of our unique state.”

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