After 25 years, Radio Disney will be closing operations in the first quarter of 2021, as the Walt Disney Company continues to reevaluate their business model. The move is related to the effort to have Disney Branded Television focus more on upping the production of kids’ and family content for Disney+ and Disney Channels.
Here is the full statement from Disney:
Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country will cease operations in the first quarter of 2021. The announcement was made today by Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Branded Television, who today addressed the 36 full- and part-time employees who will be impacted by the closure early next year.
Radio Disney in Latin America is a separate operation and is not impacted by the announcement today.
The difficult decision to close these two radio networks coincided with Disney’s recently announced structural changes that call for Disney Branded Television to sharpen its focus on increasing production of kids’ and family content for Disney+ and Disney Channels. 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.
Radio Disney was launched on November 18, 1996 (coinciding with the anniversary of the debut of Steamboat Willie’s 68th birthday). The station boosted the career and popularity of artists such as Artists included 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, Bowling for Soup, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child, Hanson, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, ‘N Sync, A-Teens, Aaron Carter, Dream Street, Hoku, Eiffel 65, Jump5, 3LW, and the Spice Girls.
The station became popular amongst children, teens, and tweens. By 2005, it reached 97% of the U.S.. Other artist and former Disney stars that hugely benefited from Radio Disney exposure included the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, N’Sync, and One Direction.