After more than three decades of supporting AM and FM radio stations, the Walt Disney Company officially ended its tenure as a radio broadcaster this week.
On Monday, Disney filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a transfer of license after reaching an agreement to sell its Los Angeles-based AM station KRDC (1110 AM) to religious broadcaster Calvary Costa Mesa.
The station once served as the flagship outlet of the Radio Disney format, which Disney officially ended for broadcast stations in 2021. Since then, KRDC has been simulcasting KSPN (710 AM), an ESPN-formatted sports talk station owned by Good Karma Brands.
Disney is parting with KRDC in exchange for $5 million, according to documents reviewed by The Desk. The deal will include lease agreements for several broadcast towers that KRDC uses to transmit its programming, as well as a low-power FM translator that covers parts of Pasadena.
At its peak, Disney owned more than 40 AM and FM broadcast stations, providing kid-friendly tunes and news broadcasts through the Radio Disney format. It also forged affiliation agreements with companies like Cumulus Media, Salem Broadcasting and Entercom to saturate the country with Radio Disney programming between the late 1990s and the early 2010s. Music and shows were also simulcast on a national satellite radio channel carried by XM Radio, which transferred over to SiriusXM upon the company’s merger with Sirius.
In 2014, executives at Disney said they intended to sell all of their radio broadcast properties except KRDC (then KDIS) and move the format to national distribution over digital platforms and satellite radio. Eventually, Disney shifted the radio network’s programming toward country music, which lasted for another six years.
Disney ultimately decided to close down Radio Disney entirely in December 2020, several months into the global health pandemic brought on by the coronavirus. Radio Disney continued on KRDC and a sister-station in San Diego until April 2021, when it started simulcasting KSPN full time.
The decision to sell KRDC comes at a time when Disney is reorienting its media and entertainment business around its core direct-to-consumer streaming television services, including Disney Plus and Hulu. Disney has increased production and marketing spends for its streaming services, while cutting back on other parts of its business.