TV On The Radio: Radio Disney’s ‘Audio’ Hour, Via Sheridan


NEW YORK — Travel to Mexico City or San José, Costa Rica, and “Radio Disney” can be found on the FM dial as a youth-targeted Contemporary Hit Radio brand with high audience numbers.

In the U.S., Radio Disney had all but abandoned terrestrial radio, instead using audio streaming and Sirius XM Satellite Radio to reach audiences.

Not anymore, thanks to a limited venture between The Walt Disney Co. and a multicultural broadcast company based in Pittsburgh.

A new venture between Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Disney has allowed Sheridan, led by Ron Davenport, to bring an hour of audio programming to one of its AM stations serving the Atlanta market.

According to Sheridan, “Radio Disney has agreed to license Radio Disney video content to SBC.”

As such, Sheridan will “telestream” Radio Disney video content while simulcasting the audio over its Class D WIGO-AM 1570, licensed to Morrow, Ga.

But, don’t expect a format flip anytime soon.

In a demonstration of a patent that covers telestreaming, SBC will launch a 60-minute weekday show featuring Radio Disney video content “in the near future.”

The show will tentatively be called “The Radio Disney Hour.”

Sheridan of late has aired Black Gospel programming on WIGO; this is expected to continue.

WIGO uses 1 tower with 5kw during daylight hours and 50 watts at night and has a signal largely covering the southern portion of the Atlanta area. At night, this is reduced to Forest Park.

To combat this limited signal coverage, Sheridan is using to build its audience online.

The hour-long on-air content could be a catalyst for more between Sheridan and Radio Disney in Atlanta, in particular via its website.

Davenport, who serves as Sheridan’s COO, said, “We are honored and extremely flattered to be the first radio broadcaster licensed by Disney to use Radio Disney video content. The Radio Disney team has been incredible to work with, and we are very excited about the possibilities going forward.”

Leroy Jones Jr., President of the Radio and Digital Division of SBC, said “I’m thrilled to be working with Radio Disney and their iconic brand. Both Radio Disney and Sheridan have rich histories and amazing brands, and I look forward to helping them both grow.”

It’s an interesting twist for Sheridan, which dates to 1972 and has historically focused on African American radio listeners.

However, through various twists and turns, it has shed much of its assets. In May 2016, it lost its 51% stake in American Urban Radio Networks in a battle played out in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Upon its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Sheridan’s assets were tied to WIGO, Sheridan Broadcasting Networks, Sheridan Production Services, and Sheridan Gospel Network.

In recent months, Sheridan has aggressively used the radio industry trade press to make some serious claims against AURN and Black News.

That came in December 2018, with the Partnership for Innovation and Empowerment — along with Sheridan — suggesting that Guggenheim Capital Partners gagged AURN and Black News to death.

One month later, the Partnership assailed one of the largest digital communication and advertising giants on the planet: Google.

In its view, Google “plagiarized and tried to steal a patent” from Sheridan COO Ron Davenport Jr.