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Private radio broadcasting, 2017

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Released: 2018-07-04

Sales from airtime, private radio

$1.5 billion


-1.9% decrease

(annual change)

Operating revenues in private radio broadcasting fell 1.9% (-$30.0 million) from 2016 to $1.5 billion in 2017. This was the fourth consecutive annual decrease. A 3.1% decrease in the sale of local advertising led to the drop in operating revenues. In 2017, 98.4% of total operating revenues in private radio broadcasting were generated from advertising sales.

There were 724 private radio broadcasting stations in Canada in 2017 

Profits before interest and taxes totalled $284.8 million, representing a profit margin of 18.7% in 2017. The profit margin has remained fairly stable over the past four years.

Operating expenses fell 2.0% to $1.2 billion in 2017.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Market share by type of broadcaster (air time): Private radio
Market share by type of broadcaster (air time): Private radio

Ontario has the highest profits in the country

Private radio broadcasters in Ontario were the most profitable in Canada in 2017. Ontario's operating revenues remained stable at $552.9 million or 36.3% of total operating revenues in Canada. Operating expenses decreased 1.6% to $424.4 million in Ontario, for a profit margin before interest and taxes of 23.2%.

Operating revenues in Quebec fell 1.1% from 2016 to $307.7 million in 2017. Operating expenses edged up 0.5% to $243.4 million.

Private radio broadcasters in the five largest census metropolitan areas accounted for 45.7% of all advertising revenues in Canada in 2017.

Higher operating revenues for ethnic radio stations

The operating revenues of English-language radio stations fell 2.2% in 2017 to $1.2 billion.

The operating revenues of French-language radio stations declined 1.2% to $262.7 million.

The operating revenues of ethnic radio stations rose 1.0% in 2017 to $49.5 million. The operating expenses for ethnic radio stations fell 0.9% to $41.4 million.

  Note to readers

The five largest census metropolitan areas in Canada are Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa–Gatineau.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Dany Gravel (613-864-1350;, Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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