As temporary holiday formats sprout up on radio stations across the country – which at times serve as a palette cleanser for a new format – now is a good time to take stock of format trends across the industry.
The religious format, which encompasses both teaching and variety stations, picked up 47 stations from October 2019 to October 2020. A close second is classic hits, with the format adding 43 new signals year over year; followed by variety, the catch-all format found at the non-commercial end of the FM dial and on AM, which added 42 stations. The contemporary Christian format also grew during the past 12 months, adding 30 radio stations, Spanish-language formats picked up 28 radio stations and classic rock grew by 15.
Dropping stations over the same time period are the sports format, which has 30 less outlets than it did this time last year. The alternative/modern rock format lost 21 signals, oldies dropped 18, hot AC has 17 fewer signals, while southern gospel and adult standards are down 13 apiece.
Overall the country format continues to have the most stations (2,195), followed by religious (2,049), news/talk (1,997), contemporary Christian (1,288) and variety (1,270). Then it’s Spanish (1,235), classic hits (1,140), sports (677), top 40 (622), and classic rock (585).
Rounding out the Top 20 of the Inside Radio October 2020 Format Counts are: AC (573), hot AC (468), alternative rock (443), oldies (329), rock (303), classical (260), southern gospel (239), inspirational gospel (231), ethnic (224) and R&B (185).
Looking at month over month trends, most formats remained steady in station counts, with Spanish being the only format seeing notable growth with an additional 12 signals from September to October. Worth noting is the number of stations reporting being off the air has decreased, with 26 stations back on the air since September.