Walt Disney Co. is selling off 23 of its Radio Disney stations and laying off about 200 employees as it moves to digital distribution of its radio content, according to media reports on Wednesday.
The Burbank entertainment and media company will keep ownership of KDIS-AM (1110) in Los Angeles, the flagship station of Radio Disney, and continue to distribute its content through affiliated radio stations. But the deal effectively ends Disney’s interest in owning terrestrial radio.
Entertainment industry news website The Wrap obtained a copy of a memo from Radio Disney General Manager Phil Guerini in which he explained the changes coming to Radio Disney, which plans to invest in both digital distribution platforms and continue 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,” Guerini wrote in the memo.
The layoffs would be done at the local radio station level and in ad sales and operations, The Wrap reported.
Radio Disney content will be available through satellite broadcaster SiriusXM Holdings; mobile entertainment network ShowMobile; online radio station Slacker; on-demand, personalized radio company Aha Radio; through apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android; and through affiliate radio stations.
Disney has been gradually selling off its owned-and-operated Radio Disney stations, including two in 2010 and another seven in 2013.