Citadel Media: Wikis


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Citadel Media
Type Radio network
Country  United States
Availability National, through regional affiliates
Owner Citadel Broadcasting
Launch date 1921 (WJZ operated an early network using Western Union lines.)
Former names NBC Blue Network (1927-1945)
ABC Radio Networks (1945-2009)
Official Website

Citadel Media is an American radio network owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting. It currently controls many of the assets of the former ABC Radio Networks, which Citadel bought in June 2007. Prominent programming heard through Citadel includes Mark Levin, Don Imus, and (by agreement with Premiere Radio Networks) Sean Hannity.

The network adopted its current name in April 2009, after licensing the "ABC Radio Networks" name from The Walt Disney Company for nearly two years.



Citadel Media/ABC Radio has its origins in an early network set up by WJZ in New York which provided programs to other stations over Western Union lines.


WJZ/NBC Blue Network

WJZ (originally owned by Westinghouse) and its network were absorbed into the National Broadcasting Company in 1927; WJZ's network was known as the Blue Network while WEAF's was known as the "Red Network." The two NBC networks were both owned by the Radio Corporation of America, but were forced to separate when the Federal Communications Commission declared them a monopoly in 1940. Both networks were "branded" on the air as "NBC, the National Broadcasting Company" but internally and to advertisers they were referred to as the "Red" and "Blue" networks.

ABC Radio

Former ABC Radio Networks Logo used until 2009

Preparing for the 1943 divestiture, the operation which became ABC began being branded on-air as "The Blue Network." It was officially renamed the American Broadcasting Company, Inc. in June 1945 (after the company purchased the rights to the name from Storer Broadcasting).

From 1933 to 1968, the Blue Network (later ABC) carried Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, one of the first and longest-running morning radio programs in the country, hosted by Don McNeill. Another long-running program was Paul Harvey, who was a commentator for ABC from 1951 until his death in 2009.

John F. Kennedy assassination bulletin

ABC Radio 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 did the same. From ABC Radio News headquarters in New York, Gardiner interrupted Doris Day's recording of "Hooray for Hollywood" to tell listeners at 13:36:50 EST (UTC-5):

"We interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin from ABC Radio. Here is a special bulletin from Dallas, Texas. Three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade today in downtown Dallas, Texas. This is ABC Radio. To repeat, in Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade today. The president now making a two-day speaking tour of Texas. We're going to stand by for more details on the incident in Dallas. Stay tuned to your ABC station for further details. Now we return you to your regular program."[1]

Split into four networks

ABC fed hourly radio newscasts to affiliates at :55 past the hour until January 1, 1968, when the traditional ABC radio network was replaced by four separate programming services. The "American Contemporary Network," designed for Top 40 music stations such as ABC-owned WABC New York, WLS Chicago and KQV Pittsburgh, aired news at :54:30. "American Information Network" news, geared for stations that programmed with a heavy news or talk emphasis, such as KABC Los Angeles and KGO San Francisco, ran at the top of the hour. ABC's "FM" network carried news at :15 past. Originally a general-interest newscast for all types of FM outlets, this service would eventually be refocused to serve FM rock stations. The "American Entertainment Network," pitched to adult-oriented music stations such as WXYZ Detroit and KXYZ Houston, had news at the bottom of the hour. Paul Harvey and the Breakfast Club were designated as Entertainment network features.

Before the "split," ABC obtained a waiver of the FCC's "Chain Broadcasting" rule, which forced the sale of NBC's Blue network and enabled ABC's creation in 1943. Though each of the four new "networks" were carried on the same 5 kHz telco line (3.5 in some cities), the move allowed ABC to have as many as four affiliates in one city – a major competitive advantage and a dramatic turning point in the history of network radio. However, the FCC insisted that there be no overlap of any ABC network broadcast in a single market, and the network required affiliates to get approval before any delayed broadcast of network programming. Two additional news networks, "Rock" and "Direction," which carried news at :45 past the hour, were added on January 4, 1982.

Today, only Information and Entertainment remain as separate newscast services, with their programming delivered via satellite. The "Information" network newscasts clear on major-market stations like WABC New York, KABC Los Angeles, WLS Chicago, WBAP Ft. Worth/Dallas, KGO San Francisco, WMAL Washington, and WJR Detroit (all of which were owned by ABC before their 2007 sale to Citadel). "Entertainment" network news airs mainly on small and medium-market stations. These ABC News Radio newscasts originate from the news division's bureaus in New York, Washington and Los Angeles and air exactly at the top of the hour. They are no longer identified on air by their brand name.

ABC Radio acquired Watermark Inc., best known as the syndicator of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem and American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley, in 1982. Kasem left ABC in 1988, reclaiming the American Top 40 name from ABC in 1998, and selling the AT40 brand to AMFM Radio Networks (later absorbed intro Premiere Radio Networks). Kingsley left ABC in 2005 and 'ACC' continues to air as part of the ABC stable with Kix Brooks as host since 2006. Dick Bartley joined the network in 1991 with the AT40 spinoff American Gold and his live Saturday night call-in oldies show, before leaving at the end of March 2009.

ABC launched a foray into talk radio with ABC Talk Radio (similar to rival NBC's Talknet) in the 1980s. Among its most notable hosts were Tom Snyder and Barry Farber. However, the rising popularity of conservative political talk radio, fueled by The Rush Limbaugh Show, led to the network's demise. After Snyder's retirement in 1992, ABC ostensibly filled the slot with Leslie Marshall, at the time the youngest syndicated host ever, but most major affiliates instead picked up Limbaugh. The network was shut down shortly thereafter, though at least one program from that network, Bob Brinker's Moneytalk, survives.

In 1992, ABC Radio launched Sportsradio ESPN. While not the first national sports talk network, Sportsradio ESPN quickly became the most popular and grew quickly. That network, now known as ESPN Radio, is still in operation today, and remains under ownership of The Walt Disney Company.

The logo used on 22 ABC O&O stations' Web sites before merger with Citadel Broadcasting

ABC again began building a talk network, this time with an emphasis on political talk, in 2001. Among the first hosts heard on the new ABC talk network were Sam Donaldson of ABC News television, Sean Hannity of WABC, Larry Elder of KABC, and John Batchelor of WABC. Donaldson left his show after a short time. Mark Levin was added in 2005 and eventually replaced Elder in 2007, and Mark Davis of WBAP had a brief syndication run on the network in 2005. Hannity has been the most successful, displacing Laura Schlessinger as the most popular host in the time slot within a few years (especially on the East Coast); the network now shares the program with Premiere Radio Networks.

Sale to Citadel

In 2005, ABC began to explore the sale of its radio division. The two leading competitors for the purchase of the network, which included twenty-two of ABC Radio's top stations, as well as ABC's talk and music networks, were Bala Cynwyd-based Entercom Communications and Forstmann Little & Company's Citadel Broadcasting unit. Citadel was chosen as the top bidder and the deal to purchase the stations and the network was struck in February 2006.[2] The deal did not include Radio Disney, ESPN Radio (or its Spanish counterpart ESPN Deportes Radio), or the five ESPN Radio stations currently owned by Disney. However, Citadel owns several ESPN-affiliated stations in small to mid-size markets including WYOS in Binghamton, New York, KTIK in Boise, Idaho and KESP in Modesto, California. Disney's ABC News unit will also still produce ABC News Radio programming for distribution by Citadel.[3] Despite the change in ownership, Citadel Media still lists "ESPN Radio" & "ESPN Deportes" as part of its advertising sales family, although Radio Disney is no longer considered so.[4] This is especially ironic considering had Disney retained the Citadel Media networks, they would be operated as part of Disney-ABC Television Group,which does NOT include ESPN and DOES include Radio Disney.

The acquisition of ABC Radio by Citadel Broadcasting was officially completed on June 12, 2007 [5] and the "ABC Radio Networks" logo was licensed from Disney until April 2, 2009.

Shortly after the announcement of the ABC/Citadel merger, the "FM" network was reactivated. It now provides an hourly two-minute newscast, similar in format to when the network formerly operated. Those newscasts carry the on-air brand "ABC News Now."[6]

The former ABC stations have sustained severe financial problems, and on March 1, 2008, hundreds of personalities were dismissed. As the end result, some of the stations turned to 24-hour satellite formats.

Programming deal with Comcast

As of October 30, 2008; ABC Radio has signed a product development and distribution agreement with Comcast that will bring the popular branded content from E! Entertainment, Style Network and G4 to terrestrial radio affiliates.[7]

Sale and Marketing Deal with Radiolicious

As of March 11, 2009, ABC Radio has signed a sales and marketing agreement with Radiolicious that will provide radio stations the ability to link their music and advertising with smart phone users.[8]

Citadel Media

On April 2, 2009, the staff at Citadel Broadcasting changed the branding of this network from ABC Radio to "Citadel Media" to reflect on its current ownership of a major radio network. However, "ABC News"; and its programming/satellite format listings will remain the same.[9]


The following programs can be heard on Citadel Media.

Citadel Media Radio Network


Multicultural (Urban and Hispanic)

Network properties

Satellite formats

In 1989, ABC Radio Networks acquired The Satellite Music Network which originally started in Chicago, IL and later moved to Dallas, TX (just north of the Galleria on Montfort Drive). The current location was built in 1995 under the direction of then Chief Engineer, Margaret Bryant, who has since left and started her own photography studio in North Dallas. Staff included Clark Tucker (who was with SMN in Chicago and moved to Dallas), Joe Carnes (who left ABC to go to PBS KERA, and died suddenly in his sleep a some years ago) and Leslie Keveton, who is now the current Engineering Manager in Dallas. Other engineers who have worked there included Chris Hudgins (who was Chief Engineer of KEGL before going to ABC RN and then moved to KDMX as Chief Engineer for a short time while before being replaced in 1997), making an opening for Christopher Boone from South East Texas (formerly with KLVI Beaumont and did telecom work at Gulf States Utilities/Entergy from 84-96 in Conroe, TX), who also eventually left ABC to take the Chief Engineer position at BOTH KDMX & KEGL after Jacor had purchased both from Nationwide Communications in 1997). Boone was credited for saving the 1998 Jim Zippo's broadcast on the Oldies format from the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa (where the plane carrying Buddy Holly had crashed) by getting a staff member of the ABC Owned and Operated station in Minneapolis, KQRS, to drive 5 hours and meet someone from Zippo's staff halfway to loan them all the gear needed for the remote broadcast; the remote "kit" was sitting at the nearby airport 5 miles away and DHL had not told ABC it was there nor did DHL deliver it at all!

To this day, the division, known as "Citadel Music Radio" (formerly "ABC Music Radio"), provides 10 satellite-driven formats to affiliate stations, mostly in small & mid-size markets and on major market HD Radio subchannels, however they can also be used on some major market stations as alternate or permanent programming. They could operate their stations virtually unmanned with nothing more than a computer and a satellite hookup offering major market talent that some radio stations could never afford. The "clock" included options for a 2-, 3-, or 5-minute newscasts at the top of the hour, followed by other holes for local spots. While some of the programming is live (some is done by voice tracking), DJ's had to avoid references to the weather or anything else that would not be appropriate in many time zones. An 800-line was eventually added, allowing the live DJ's to take phoned in requests. Citadel Media's 24-hour-music formats include:

Network Ident Format Additional Notes (if any)
Triangle-purple.svg The Christmas Channel Christmas Music Available the day before Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day.
Triangle-blue.svg The Classic Rock Experience Classic Rock
Triangle-blue.svg Greatest Mojo Classic hits from 1960s to 1980s Formerly "Pure Gold", "Oldies Radio", and "Classic Hits"
Triangle-blue.svg Hits & Favorites Adult Contemporary Formerly known as "Starstation"
Triangle-blue.svg Real Country Classic Country
Triangle-red.svg Timeless Oldies/Standards Formerly known as "Stardust" and "Timeless Classics"/"Timeless Favorites"
Triangle-blue.svg Today's Best Country Country Formerly known as "Country Coast to Coast" and "Best Country Around"
Triangle-blue.svg Today's Best Hits Hot Adult Contemporary Also known as "ABC Hot AC" (formerly identified on air as "Best Hits, Best Variety")
Triangle-blue.svg The Touch Urban Adult Contemporary "Today's R&B and Old School" (formerly "The Best Variety of Hits and Oldies")
Triangle-blue.svg The True Oldies Channel Oldies from 1950s to 1970s

As of June 2008, "Citadel Music Radio" is the only remaining slate of commercial music radio networks not owned by Triton Media Group. Triton has purchased the assets of all of Citadel's major competitors (Dial Global, Waitt Radio Networks and Jones Radio Networks).

Other Network Holding(s)

Network Ident Format
Triangle-blue.svg ABC FM News Short-form News

Triangle-blue.svg = Active on terrestrial radio affiliates.
Triangle-purple.svg = Active on a seasonal basis.
Triangle-red.svg = To be discontinued on February 13, 2010.

Former network properties of ABC Radio/Citadel Media

Network Ident Format Fate of Network
ABC News & Talk News/Talk Discontinued since September 24, 2007.
ESPN Radio Sports/Talk Retained by Disney in ABC Radio sale, although Citadel still does advertising sales for the network.
ESPN Deportes Radio Spanish Sports/Talk Retained by Disney in ABC Radio sale, although Citadel still does advertising sales for the network.
Jack FM Variety/Adult Hits Spun off to Dial Global.
Radio Disney Children's Radio Retained by Disney in ABC Radio sale.
Rejoice! Musical Soul Food Urban Contemporary Gospel Spun off to Urban Choice Media.
Unforgettable Favorites Soft Oldies/AC Merged into "Timeless" format. Feed still active as seasonal Christmas Channel.
Z Rock Active Rock Discontinued since December 31, 1996.

Becoming environmentally friendly

On April 16, 2008; Citadel Broadcasting (the now parent company of ABC Radio/Citadel Media) has become the first organization-wide radio company to join the Environmental Protection Agency's "Green Power Partnership Program" and committs $1 Million (USD) in Educational Green PSAs. As of April 2008, ABC/Citadel's KGO-AM in San Francisco, California has switched to solar power during the daytime hours.[10]


External links


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