Radio Disney To Sell All But One Station

Radio Disney 1560 WQEW New York 1110 KDIS Los AngelesDisney has revealed plans to sell all but one of its remaining Radio Disney stations as it moves the brand to digital delivery.

Broadcasting & Cable reports the stations will go dark around September 26 with the exception of 1110 KDIS Los Angeles, which will remain with the Disney brand.

“Radio Disney will increase its investment in both digital distribution platforms and music-centric programming to optimize the network for long-term growth and to better reflect the habits of its listeners, a national audience of kids and families.” B&C’s report states that Disney’s internal research finds among Radio Disney listeners six years old and up, 37% of the their listeners listen via SiriusXM, 35% via desktop streaming, 31% via mobile streaming, and 18% via over-the-air broadcasts.

The stations to be sold are:

  • 98.3 WRDZ-FM Plainfield/Indianapolis
  • 590 WDWD Atlanta
  • 620 KMKI Plano/Dallas
  • 640 WWJZ Mount Holly NJ/Philadelphia
  • 910 WFDF Farmington Hills/Detroit
  • 990 WMYM Miami
  • 990 WDYZ Orlando
  • 1250 KKDZ Seattle
  • 1250 WDDZ Pittsburgh
  • 1260 WWMK Cleveland
  • 1260 WSDZ Belleville IL/St. Louis
  • 1260 WMKI Boston
  • 1300 WRDZ La Grange/Chicago
  • 1310 KMKY San Francisco
  • 1380 WWMI St. Petersburg
  • 1440 KDIZ Golden Valley/Minneapolis
  • 1470 KIID Sacramento
  • 1480 WGFY Charlotte
  • 1560 WQEW New York
  • 1580 KMIK Tempe/Phoenix
  • 1590 KMIC Houston
  • 1640 KDZR Lake Oswego/Portland
  • 1690 KDDZ Arvada/Denver

The follow letter was sent to Radio Disney staffers this morning from GM Phil Guerini:

Dear Colleagues,
Across all forms of media, digital technology continues to dramatically change consumer habits – from the iPad, mobile devices and the push of connected devices into the home – and these changes compel us to evaluate and evolve our businesses. Today, we’re announcing meaningful changes to our Radio Disney business.

Radio Disney will be increasing investment in both digital distribution platforms and music-centric programming. These decisions will optimize Radio Disney for long-term growth and better reflect the habits of the consumers we serve — a national audience of kids and families. We are partnering with the most popular digital radio services including our distribution partner of over 12 years, SiriusXM, and the newly forged agreements with ShowMobile, Slacker and Harman’s Aha Radio. We also have our fast growing Radio Disney App for iPhone, iPad and Android, our WATCH Disney Channel partnership and our Top 30 syndication partnership that’s building across the U.S. We will also be exploring new digital extensions of Radio Disney’s programming, including the Radio Disney Music Awards and Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing (N.B.T.).

As part of this investment shift, at the end of September, we will be selling 23 of our 24 local radio stations, retaining KDIS-AM Los Angeles to originate Radio Disney’s national network programming. The operations of the Los Angeles station will be picked up by the national team. These changes will result in the elimination of some positions, adjustments to other roles and the addition of some new positions. Today and tomorrow, we will be talking individually to those directly affected. Please know that we approached this decision with care and rigor and will provide transition support to those who will be departing the organization.

I have always been impressed with the dedication and camaraderie of the people at the Radio Disney network and local stations. Thanks to that teamwork, Radio Disney leads the radio industry in delivering age-appropriate music and entertainment for kids and families. As we wish our colleagues all the best, we remain committed to continuing the momentum.

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  1. Michael says

    Interesting with 1560 seeing as it’s 50,000 Watts Clear Channel, wonder who could potentially pick up that frequency.

  2. Stelly says

    I would imagine that the reason KRLA is keeping the brand is so Radio Disney can qualify for the broadcast royalty “loophole.”

    1. Stelly says

      And of course, by KRLA, I mean KDIS. Oops.

    2. Lance Venta says

      Loophole is likely reason, but it also gives Disney an option if they wish to bring ESPN Deportes Radio in-house in Los Angeles as opposed to utilizing Lotus’ 1330 KWKW.

  3. Chris Lash says

    1250 in Pittsburgh is another legendary frequency. Wonder what it would cost?

  4. Joseph_Gallant says

    If Disney wanted to sell-off their 24 Radio Disney outlets as a group, I could see Bloomberg buy most of the Radio Disney stations except for WQEW-1560 New York and WMKI-1260 Boston, and maybe KMKY-1310 San Francisco unless they’re about to buy or LMA it (since they own WBBR-1130 New York, run WXKS-1200 in the Boston area, and will soon be in San Francisco although it’s not been announced whether they buy a station or make an LMA deal).

    However, to be in all the major business markets, Bloomberg would have to buy or LMA stations in Los Angeles, Washington, San Antonio, Cincinatti, and St. Louis.

  5. Christian says

    Most if not all of them will get snapped up by someone.

  6. Poledo says

    Wouldn’t you think Disney would keep the Orlando station too? It’s not like it would cost much to simulcast on stations covering the theme parks in LA and Orlando.

  7. Mike704 says

    WGFY 1480 Charlotte is a dog signal and has been for the last 30 years. Disney paid a bunch to upgrade it but it only helped a little. This one should be turned off. Sad but true.

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