Radio’s Top Biller Looking to Trim Budget


Declining revenue and listenership in 2022, compared to 2021, are the reasons Hubbard’s WTOP in Washington DC is looking to eliminate positions. All-news radio stations are the most expensive to operate due to the number of employees needed to run a credible, successful local and regional radio news facility.

Advertisers have rewarded WTOP for it’s work in the Washington, DC community making it the top billing radio station in the entire country for years. In 2021, according to BIA, WTOP billed $70 million, $27 million dollars higher than 2nd place KIIS-FM in Los Angeles. It’s important to note as well that DC is market #8 and L.A. is market #2.

When tracking back five years, according to BIA, WTOP billed $62 million in 2020, $69.8 million in 2019, $69 million in 2018, $67.8 million in 2017 and $67.5 million in 2016. Four out of those five years, WTOP was the top billing radio station in the country.

A staff memo from Hubbard Vice President and General Manager Joel Oxley stated, “We hoped that the economy, radio listening in DC, radio listening at WTOP and our revenue would all come back close to 2019 levels. In 2021 we made some progress, but in 2022 both listening and revenue have gone backwards from 2021 levels, let alone where they were compared to 2019.”

As of now the station is looking for WTOP newsroom personnel to take voluntary buyouts. The buyouts do not include sales, administration or engineering/IT or at WFED.

Eligible staffers are those 55 and over whose age plus service time amounts to 65 or more. That includes roughly 23 people, including many of WTOP’s full-time anchors. For those deciding to take the deal, it could be a nice payout for them.

The Oxley memo went on to say that this step needed to be taken to try to be more in line with the current economic landscape. We reached out to Oxley who had no comment about the buyouts.


  1. When the top billing radio station in the COUNTRY is cutting, it tells you everything that you need to know about where the business is heading.


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