Radio Disney Announces Massive Layoffs Across All Stations…

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Come September, Radio Disney will be eliminating 184 jobs in local ad sales and operations. The company is selling 23 of its 24 U.S. radio stations. KDIS-AM in Los Angeles is the only station they will keep.

General Manager Phil Guerini broke the news in a memo to Radio Disney staff. In the memo, Guerini says: “These decisions will optimize Radio Disney for long-term growth and better reflect the habits of the consumers we serve — a national audience of kids and families.”

This “optimization” includes a focus on digital radio instead of terrestrial radio. Radio Disney has new agreements with ShowMobile, Slacker, and Aha Radio. They are also building their Top 30 syndication partnerships and will focus on the Radio Disney Music Awards.

Here’s the full memo, first published by The Wrap:

August 13, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Across all forms of media, digital technology continues to dramatically change consumer habits – from the iPad, mobile devices and the push of connected devices into the home – and these changes compel us to evaluate and evolve our businesses. Today, we’re announcing meaningful changes to our Radio Disney business.

Radio Disney will be increasing investment in both digital distribution platforms and music-centric programming. These decisions will optimize Radio Disney for long-term growth and better reflect the habits of the consumers we serve — a national audience of kids and families. We are partnering with the most popular digital radio services including our distribution partner of over 12 years, SiriusXM, and the newly forged agreements with ShowMobile, Slacker and Harman’s Aha Radio. We also have our fast growing Radio Disney App for iPhone, iPad and Android, our WATCH Disney Channel partnership and our Top 30 syndication partnership that’s building across the U.S. We will also be exploring new digital extensions of Radio Disney’s programming, including the Radio Disney Music Awards and Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing (N.B.T.).

As part of this investment shift, at the end of September, we will be selling 23 of our 24 local radio stations, retaining KDIS-AM Los Angeles to originate Radio Disney’s national network programming. The operations of the Los Angeles station will be picked up by the national team.

These changes will result in the elimination of some positions, adjustments to other roles and the addition of some new positions. Today and tomorrow, we will be talking individually to those directly affected. Please know that we approached this decision with care and rigor and will provide transition support to those who will be departing the organization.

I have always been impressed with the dedication and camaraderie of the people at the Radio Disney network and local stations. Thanks to that teamwork, Radio Disney leads the radio industry in delivering age-appropriate music and entertainment for kids and families. As we wish our colleagues all the best, we remain committed to continuing the momentum.



Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

12 Responses

  1. Casey

    Radio Disney never made sense. Their target audience is young kids-teenagers. But their stations were nearly all on AM. Which has a nonexistent audience for that age group. Not to mention that teen pop sounds like crap on AM.

  2. Steven

    RIP Radio Disney. This will be a dead Disney asset by the end of the year.

  3. Me

    Yes it sounded like crap on AM, but that didn’t stop my 7 year old from insisting we play it in the car. The torture will now cease!

  4. JohnnyFootball

    RIP Radio Disney.

    So many people out of jobs, but not Phil Guerini!

  5. Madison

    Hopefully they will show Phil the door. The most irrelevant thing about Radio Disney.

  6. Madison

    Hopefully they show Phil the door. The most irrelevant thing about Radio Disney is his leadership.

  7. Anne

    What a morale boost! They were courting my company to advertise with them but I’m glad I passed. When I asked what could they do for me that’s different Phil’s answer was another award show no one cares about! One only needs to read “Disney War” to know he’s part of the ol’ micromanaging, megalomaniacal guard that has plagued the Mouse House for decades. Ben Sherwood has his work cut out for him.

  8. Sallie Jessie Raphael

    Radio Disney started going down hill when Michael Riley left, and then Kelly Edwards left. Kind of sucks because I really liked working with a lot of the RD staff. They were always great with my artists.

  9. warren g

    I like Radio Disney ! The music was clean but up to date, the d js are kid people–they know how to talk to kids without talking down. Best of all, the kids are great and smart and funny and creatively courtious–always fun to listen to. I hope it will still be around. They would be greatly missed.

  10. Anonymous

    I am very bummed. Our Seattle Radio Disney did some great outreach to young musicians and sponsored some great local music event (like the kid music stage at the Bite of Seattle).

    Dayna there was super loved by kids and parents.

  11. Downplay

    Disney is actually laying off 900 ad sales, operations, and promotion employees in all local markets.