Radio Disney, the US nationwide radio network that helped jump-start the music careers of Disney Channel stars like Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez, is set to end operations early next year.
The move is part of Disney’s increasing focus on its streaming platform, Disney+, and its television channels, according to Disney Branded Television. Consumers’ growing interest in more personalized music experiences and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on in-person musical events also contributed to the decision, the company said.
Started in 1996 as a terrestrial radio station, Radio Disney became a destination for preteens and teenagers, primarily playing pop music and songs popularized by Disney Channel shows. By 2005, the station was available across 97 percent of the United States. In 2009, Radio Disney reached about 30 million listeners a week.
Thirty-six full and part-time employees will be laid off as a result of the move, adding to a wave of layoffs at Disney during the pandemic.
In September, Disney laid off thousands of employees at its US theme parks, and on Thursday more than a hundred people, including some senior executives, were laid off across Walt Disney Television.
Radio Disney Country, which debuted in 2015 as a digital-only platform, will also cease operations. Radio Disney in Latin America, which is separate from the US operations, will not be affected.