Sale of stations in small- to mid-sized markets will enable Disney to focus on top 25 markets
Disney Media Networks is handling the sale of the stations in small- to mid-sized markets: Albany, New York; Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Richmond, Virginia; Salt Lake City, Utah; and San Antonio, Texas. The radio station in Little Rock is on the FM dial.
It is unclear just how much coin Disney could collect from the sale of the stations aimed at kids, tweens and families. The company does not break out results from its radio stations in earnings reports, incorporating them, instead, with the media networks group, which also includes broadcast and cable TV networks like ABC, Disney Channel and ESPN.
Disney still considers Radio Disney a strong asset — especially as a platform to promote its young Walt Disney Records and Disney Channel stars, as well as company TV shows, theme parks, online, game and film properties.
But it sees the sale as a way for Burbank-based Radio Disney to focus on the 24 stations it operates in the top 25 markets, with the exception of Baltimore, Maryland. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas round out the top five.
Sale also comes as Disney is looking to boost revenue and improve profit margins companywide through the sale of assets or staff reductions.
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This isn’t the first time Disney is looking to sell off Radio Disney stations. It silenced six stations in 2010, also in small- to mid-market cities like Riviera Beach, Florida and Portsmouth, Virginia, as it sought buyers.
All of Radio Disney’s stations, are supported by local and national advertisers, while it also generates revenue from national advertisers on its digital and satellite distribution platforms like RadioDisney.com, SiriusXM satellite radio, iTunes Radio Tuner, Facebook and mobile phones. Programming can also be downloaded via the iTunes Store.
“In the past year, we’ve driven new content delivery and ad sales revenue opportunities with Radio Disney Junior and the Radio Disney Music Awards, among others initiatives, and we intend to build on those opportunities while keeping our organization strong and focused on serving our listeners with programming that entertains and is appropriate for kids- and families,” said Phil Guerini, VP, programming and general manager, Radio Disney, in a statement.
Disney also operates 12 Radio Disney stations in South America, which are not part of the sale.
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Disney kept ownership of Radio Disney when it sold ABC Radio Holdings to Citadel Broadcasting Corp in 2007. Sale at the time consisted of 22 large-market radio stations and the ABC Radio Network.
Radio Disney started broadcasting in late 1996, with the slogan, “We’re all ears.” It launched Radio Disney Music Awards in 2002.