(Walt Disney Television)
|Stacia Philips Deshishku|
(vice president and general manager)
|Founded||August 7, 2014|
|ABC Radio (2015-2019)|
|Availability||Available on select radio affiliates|
ABC Audio is a radio syndicator, radio network and digital audio network in the United States. It is under the ownership of The Walt Disney Company, parent company of American Broadcasting Company (ABC), with satellite distribution being handled by Skyview Networks. It launched on January 1, 2015, as ABC Radio; it was renamed ABC Audio in 2019.
ABC Radio originally began after the split of NBC Red and NBC Blue (later Blue Network) networks with ABC taking over operations of the latter from RCA in 1943 before adopting its name 2 years later. ABC Radio was known to broadcast the first nationwide report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, at 18:30 UTC on November 22, 1963, and ABC Radio's Don Gardiner anchored the network's initial bulletin at 18:36:50 UTC, minutes before any other radio or television network followed suit.
The networks associated with ABC included Watermark Inc. (which ABC bought in 1982), Satellite Music Network (a 1989 purchase), ESPN Radio (launched in 1992) and Radio Disney (debuted in 1996).
Despite a number of different owners (Capital Cities Communications and later Disney), the radio division remained under ABC's wing until June 12, 2007, when it was sold to Citadel Broadcasting as well as most of its O&O stations in a restructuring effort. Under the terms of the reverse Morris trust, ABC shareholders held a controlling stake in Citadel, who licensed the ABC name for two more years until it rebranded as Citadel Media Networks in 2009.
On September 16, 2011, Cumulus Media purchased Citadel Broadcasting and rebranded the network division as Cumulus Media Networks. In 2013, Cumulus Media Networks merged with Dial Global Radio Networks to form the current Westwood One.
ABC maintained ownership of its Radio Disney network and its ESPN Radio owned-and-operated stations. In 2015, it announced plans to sell off all but one of its Radio Disney station licenses and stop distributing that network through terrestrial radio. The network succeeded in selling off most of its stations, leaving only KRDC; KRDC flipped to a country music format separate from the Radio Disney network but still carrying the Radio Disney brand. Its license, along with ESPN Radio's KSPN, have remained held by "ABC Radio Los Angeles Assets."
On August 7, 2014, ABC announced that it would relaunch its radio network division on January 1, 2015. The change occurred following the announcement that Cumulus would replace its ABC News radio service with Westwood One News (via CNN). ABC will continue to make its radio news programming (via ABC News Radio and its FM counterpart ABC News Now) available through the network, and will also expand to create new radio programming based on other ABC owned properties such as Good Morning America, Dancing With The Stars and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Skyview Networks would handle advertising sales and satellite distribution.
By December 23, 2014, ABC News had signed up over 1,000 affiliated stations for at least one of ABC News, ABC Digital and ABC Air Power networks. This included 200 new affiliates and multiple stations affiliating with more than one service. Major new key affiliates added included WTOP-FM, WGN and KFI.
In April 2018, ABC announced that it planned to develop new syndicated radio programs with Skyview. The pair made a deal in August 2018 to syndicate “The Dana Cortez Show” morning show formerly on “98.5 The Beat” KBBT San Antonio.
Around 2015, ABC News began experimenting with podcasts and added an audio channel to its app. On March 28, 2018, the company began its first daily podcast, Start Here. Paula Faris launched a podcast on November 13, 2018 with three episodes of Journeys of Faith.
Local Radio Networks moved its twelve 24/7 music formats on January 1, 2019 to ABC Radio for marketing and talent sharing and Skyview Networks for satellite distribution. ABC News Radio programming was previously offered to Local Radio affiliates.
Vice president and general manager Steve Jones left April 4, 2019 to work at Skyview. For the interim, four ABC News executive would head up ABC Radio: ABC News executive director, programming/news coverage Andrew Kalb, ABC News senior manager, business development Abe Velez, ABC Radio director of affiliate relations Heidi Oringer and ABC News Radio executive director of operations Jeff Fitzgerald. He was replace in May 2019 by Stacia Philips Deshishku promoted from the position of Washington Deputy Bureau Chief.
On September 20, 2019, ABC Radio was renamed as ABC Audio as the network has evolved to offer a podcast portfolio and other forms of on-demand and linear content. Vice president Deshishku, who made the announcement acknowledges that "the power of radio remains critical to our business, as does the ABC News Radio brand within ABC Audio." In March 2020, ABC Audio indicated that ESPN Audio would take over podcast ad sales.