News of the purchase of San Diego’s KRDC by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa may not seem like much of a big deal, but it marks a milestone in the history of a major U.S. entertainment company.
The Walt Disney Company is officially no longer a competitor on the radio.
That still may not sound like earthshaking news, but consider the fact that, at its peak, Radio Disney operated more than 40 “terrestrial radio” stations in both the AM and FM bands.
That’s opposed to satellite media such as SiriusXM, which still lists “Disney Hits” as a channel, although one that “may not be available in-vehicle on certain makes and models.”
The purchase puts Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa into the AM radio market; the church has operated WKVE-FM since purchasing that station in 1985.
KRDC is the last of Disney’s radio stations to be sold, according to Radio and Television Business Report.
The station’s signal covers “all of Southern California,” according to the outlet, and was previously co-owned by songwriter Art Laboe and comedian Bob Hope.
KRDC was once considered the “flagship” of Radio Disney, which the company has been shutting down for several years after radio listening declined during the pandemic, probably because of reduced commuting during government-mandated lockdowns.
Even before the pandemic, however, Disney initially shifted its programming to satellite and online platforms, The Desk reported. The company announced the sale of all of its radio stations as far back as 2014 — although it conspicuously left KRDC (previously known as KDIS) out of that plan.
The station switched to a country music format then, however, before shifting to a simulcast of ESPN radio content from KSPN in April 2021.
According to The Desk, Disney’s focus now is on direct-to-consumer streaming video on Disney Plus and Hulu, pushing the company to divest itself of other media like broadcast radio.
The news comes on the heels of a number of embarrassment for the company that was once considered unequaled in its provision of family-friendly entertainment.
Last week, it was revealed that the company had “unknowingly” cast a male pornographic performer in its recently released live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
“Casting bosses working on the live-action remake wanted to use ‘really sexy male models’ to portray the mermen in the film,” the Toronto Sun reported.
The report said a Disney representative declined to comment.
That in turn followed the release of Pixar’s “Elemental,” which was predicted to come in with possibly the worst Pixar opening weekend ever, or at least in contention for it
Disney’s “Strange World,” featuring the studio’s first-ever teen LGBT lead character, also flopped last fall.
Combined with “Lightyear,” which was largely panned — in part over its self-conscious inclusion of a same-sex kiss — the two films reportedly lost more than a quarter-billion dollars for Disney.