The nation’s most successful all-news radio station is changing network providers. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM (103.5) Washington D.C. has dropped CBS News Radio in favor of affiliating with ABC Radio News, effective Jan. 1. The switch ends a decades-long partnership between CBS and the nation’s top billing radio station.
Top-of-the-hour newscasts on the influential outlet will now be provided by ABC News Radio. WTOP-FM will also carry updates at the bottom of the hour and will be heavy users of the network’s crisis coverage, along with “ABC Newscall” and correspondent two-ways, according to the network. The station will use the ABC News Digital service for its website.
The change stems from a business decision, according to Paul Farhi, who covers the news media for the Washington Post. “ABC took fewer ad slots than CBS, giving WTOP more time to sell its ads,” Farhi wrote in a post on Twitter.
WTOP-FM isn’t the only new affiliate ABC rang in the New Year with. The network also added iHeartMedia “NewsRadio 1030” WBZ Boston, Cox Media Group news/talk WSB (750, 95.5) Atlanta and Entercom news/talk WRVA (1140) Richmond. WSB will dedicate one of its reporters to cover Atlanta and the surrounding area for ABC News coverage.
ABC Radio News revamped operations last February to provide major market affiliates with more two-ways and to increase the amount of breaking news and anchored coverage it offers.
WTOP-FM ranked as the highest-revenue-generating U.S. radio station for the second-straight year in 2016, with total billings of $67.5 million ($65 million in 2015). It was also the only non-top-three market station on the 2016 list.
Officials at WTOP-FM did not respond to Inside Radio requests for comment.