Bad news, ’90s kids: Radio Disney will be no more come 2021. THR reported that the Radio Disney division, which includes Radio Disney Country, will stop broadcasting in the first quarter of 2021. All of the division’s 36 full-time and part-time employees have been laid off. The news was announced by Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, on Thursday. Per THR, the decision to shutter Radio Disney was a byproduct of the rise of streaming audio and uncertainty regarding the future of live music events due to the pandemic. Radio Disney in Latin America, a separate operation, will continue.
Radio Disney launched in 1996 as an over-the-air network and at its peaked owned 23 stations and reached over 97 percent of the U.S. In 2014, Radio Disney shifted distribution to strictly digital and satellite, 22 of its stations. It’s last station, KRDC-AM in Los Angeles, was where Radio Disney’s national programming feed originated and will be sold in 2021. Radio Disney played a vital role in kickstarting the careers of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez, all of whom benefitted from Radio Disney airplay early in their careers. We can take solace in the fact that Radio Disney will be welcomed into entertainment-company heaven by Quibi.