After nearly 25 years, Disney’s Radio Disney network will shut down in early 2021.
The move comes amid significant restructuring at Disney, which has been reorganizing to place greater focus on its streaming platform and TV operations. On Thursday, the company announced a new wave of layoffs at its television group, with more than 100 executives reportedly affected. The Radio Disney shutdown will lead to 36 more positions being eliminated.
In addition to the restructuring, “Division leaders also took into account the fast-evolving media environment that provides more personalized music choices than ever to a generation of young consumers, and the ongoing public health crisis that continues to affect in-person music events,” Disney said in a statement announcing the shutdown.
Launched in 1996, Radio Disney mainly catered to preteen and teenaged listeners with pop music and songs often featured in Disney Channel shows. It also became a key avenue for young artists to boost their profiles, with Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande, among those who received airplay early in their careers.
At its peak, Radio Disney owned 23 terrestrial stations nationwide; Disney sold off all but one of them in 2014, shifting to satellite and digital platforms instead.The remaining station, KRDC-AM in Los Angeles, will be sold next year.
Radio Disney Country, which launched in 2015 as a digital network, will also cease operations as a result of the decision.
It’s only a matter of time before Radio Disney revives itself in the form of an Apple Music or Spotify radio station.