The CBS Radio all-news combo of WBBM AM 780 and WCFS FM 105.9 not only was Chicago’s top-billing station last year but again was the only local outlet among radio’s 10 biggest moneymakers nationwide.
With revenue of $39.2 million in 2014, WBBM Newsradio was down 6.5 percent from its 2013 revenue of $41.9 million. But it still ranked 10th in the nation, according to figures released by BIA/Kelsey, a Virginia-based media research firm.
The No. 1 radio biller was iHeartMedia’s Top 40 KIIS in Los Angeles, with revenue of $65.9 million, supplanting Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C., which fell to second with $63.5 million. Except for Chicago’s WBBM, the other stations on the top 10 list were from New York or Los Angeles.
U.S. radio last year generated $14.9 billion overall, including $14.3 billion from over-the-air radio and $636 million from online advertising, BIA/Kelsey reported.
“Local radio stations continue to maintain an important position in the local media marketplace,” Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist of BIA/Kelsey, said in a statement. “Last year, a slight decline in over-the-air revenues was offset by an increase in online revenues, resulting in steady overall revenues.”
That may be the case nationally, but in Chicago total radio revenue plunged more than 10 percent in 2014. Income from all sources totaled $376.2 million — down from the previous year’s $419.7 million, according to figures supplied by the station groups and compiled by the accounting firm of Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.