ABC Radio (United States)

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ABC Radio is a radio network in the United States. It is under the ownership of The Walt Disney Company, parent company of American Broadcasting Company (ABC), with satellite distribution being handled by Skyview Networks. It launched on January 1, 2015.

ABC Radio origins

ABC Radio originally began after the split of NBC Red and NBC Blue (later Blue Network) networks with ABC taking over operations of the latter from RCA in 1943 before adopting its name 2 years later. ABC Radio was known to broadcast the first nationwide report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, at 18:30 UTC on November 22, 1963, and ABC Radio's Don Gardiner anchored the network's initial bulletin at 18:36:50 UTC, minutes before any other radio or television network followed suit.

Among the networks associated with ABC included Watermark Inc. (which ABC bought in 1982), Satellite Music Network (a 1989 purchase), ESPN Radio (launched in 1992) and Radio Disney (debuted in 1996).

Despite a number of different owners (Capital Cities Communications and later Disney), the radio division remained under ABC's wing until June 12, 2007, when it was sold to Citadel Broadcasting as well as its O&O stations (not including Radio Disney and ESPN Radio nor its affiliates) in a restructuring effort. The radio division kept the ABC name for about two years until Citadel renamed it Citadel Media. Then on September 16, 2011, Cumulus Media purchased the now-defunct Citadel Broadcasting and rebranded the network division as Cumulus Media Networks. In 2013, Cumulus Media Networks merged with Dial Global Radio Networks to form the current Westwood One.

2015 revival

On August 7, 2014, ABC announced that it would relaunch its radio network division on January 1, 2015: the change occurred following the announcement that Cumulus would replace its ABC News radio service with Westwood One News (via CNN). ABC will continue to make its radio news programming (via ABC News Radio and its FM counterpart ABC News Now) available through the network, and will also expand to create new radio programming based on other ABC owned properties such as Good Morning America, Dancing With The Stars, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Skyview Networks will handle advertising sales and satellite distribution. [208]

At the same time, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to discontinue terrestrial broadcasting of all but one of its Radio Disney stations, which by this point were the only stations outside of its four owned-and-operated ESPN Radio affiliates that Disney still owned, and sell off as many as possible (the company has since announced time-leases on HD Radio subchannels to continue airing Radio Disney in several markets). The network succeeded in selling off most of its stations, and as a result the modern ABC Radio does not have any owned-and-operated stations unlike its previous incarnation. [3]

By December 23, 2014, ABC News had signed up over 1,000 affiliated stations for at least one of ABC News, ABC Digital and ABC Air Power networks. This included 200 new affiliates and multiple stations affiliating with more than one service. Major new key affiliates added included WTOP-FM, WGN and KFI. [4]

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