Radio Disney was a kids radio network owned by The Walt Disney Company and headquartered in Burbank, California (but previously in Texas). Launched in 1996, the network broadcasted music (usually emphasizing current Teen Idols such as the stars from Disney Channel shows) and other content targeted towards children and young teenagers. Unlike many other music radio networks, their stations were usually broadcast on the AM frequency. In December 2015, all Radio Disney stations except its flagship station in Los Angeles were sold off in order for them to focus on digital distribution.
The station used to air a number of blocks hosted by live DJs. By 2019 though, live hosting and scheduled programming were mostly dropped, effectively making Radio Disney more like an automatic station with a few segments being repeated daily.
In addition to the United States, there were also Radio Disney stations in Australia, Chile, Japan, Poland, Argentina, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.
In 2015, they launched a sister internet radio station called Radio Disney Country. As the title suggests, it focused on Country Music, particularly current country pop hits.
In December 2020, it was announced that Radio Disney and RD Country would be shutting down in early 2021. Radio Disney went off SiriusXM on December 31, 2020, with RD Country going defunct the same day. RD went to playing an automated selection of its greatest hits over some 20 years on its iHeartRadio and sole remaining AM stream, eventually being reduced to the latter. On April 14, 2021, after playing Natasha Bedingfields Unwritten, Radio Disney was silenced.
On March 2, 2021, Disney would launch a new radio station, titled Disney Hits, on SiriusXM. In contrast to its predecessor, Disney Hits is more centered on music from Disney's productions.
Among the popular celebrities who gained fame through this channel:
- AJ Michalka
- Alessia Cara
- Alyson Michalka
- Ariana Grande
- Asher Angel
- Ashley Tisdale
- Bea Miller
- Becky G
- Bella Thorne
- Bridgit Mendler
- Britney Spears
- Camila Cabello
- China Anne McClain
- Christina Aguilera
- Christina Grimmie
- Demi Lovato
- Dua Lipa
- Fifth Harmony
- Hilary Duff
- Jacob Whitesides
- Jesse Mc Cartney
- The Jonas Brothers
- Justin Bieber
- Justin Timberlake
- Kelsea Ballerini
- Laura Marano
- Meg Donnelly
- Miley Cyrus
- Mitchel Musso
- Olly Murs
- Ross Lynch
- Selena Gomez
- Shawn Mendes
- Sofia Carson
- Taylor Swift
- The Vamps
Radio Disney has the following tropes:
- Award Show: The network has hosted an annual music award show called the Radio Disney Music Awards. The show tends to have an emphasis on Teen Pop acts and winners are awarded a "Golden Mickey" (later ARDY) trophy. It originally ran from 2001 to 2007 but was revived in 2013. It has been televised on Disney Channel since 2014. It's most recent ceremony was in 2019 as it was not held in 2020. Its prognosis after the end of RD is currently unknown, but seems poor.
- Back for the Finale: The station was known for almost never playing any song more than a few months old, except for throwbacks on Thursdays. After the announcement of its closure, starting New Years Day 2021, RD switched to an automatic playlist of music from their entire 24-year history.
- In another sense, the last terrestrial station, AM 1110, had been playing only the country substation since 2017, but was switched back to pop in the last weeks before its sale, and was the last place to hear it period upon its death in April 2021.
- Bowdlerise: The station edited many of the songs they played. Some of the edits were rewrites or looping less suggestive lyrics, and others had lines completely removed. Even artist names could be changed (The Chainsmokers became "TCS").
- Some song titles were also changed - Madison Beer's "Hurts Like Hell" became "Hurts So Bad", Dustin Atlas & Erin Bowman's "Fake Ass Friends" became "Fake Friends", Neon Trees' "Sleeping With a Friend" to "See It With a Friend", and Alexander Stewart's "Best Damn Thing" to "Best Thing".
- In one such case, Radio Disney requested that "Weird Al" Yankovic change a line in "The Saga Begins" to make it more family friendly. Rather than throw off the whole song by changing two words, Al recorded a different version. He replaced "Do you see him hitting on the Queen?" with "Do you see him talking to the Queen?".
- Get Back in the Closet: The station faced some backlash when they added Miley Cyrus' "Midnight Sky", making their own clean edit which changed "See my lips on her mouth, everybody's talkin' now" to "See my lips, see my lips, everybody's talkin' now". The later switch-up in the verse to "See his hands 'round my waist, thought you'd never be replaced" was not edited.
- Halloween Episode: Monstober, a name shared with Disney Channels October campaign, had an annual playlist of songs such as the Glee casts Thriller/Heads Will Roll mashup. They would also play bumpers of voice clips from DC fare like Gravity Falls and Girl vs. Monster.
- Mascot: From around 2014 on, they had ARDY, a living RDMA (a golden Mickey statuette wearing headphones.)
- Radio Drama: In 2010, Radio Disney released a radio serial called My Dream which is about a teen girl trying to become successful in the music industry while dealing with the struggles that come with being a teen. Unlike serials of the past which had 15 to 30 minute episodes, episodes of this show lasted only about 90 seconds.
- Rated G for Gangsta: One may be surprised to hear that many rappers with Parental Advisory labels on the majority of their work, including Iggy Azalea, Kendrick Lamar, and Macklemore have played on Radio Disney, albeit often quite edited.
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: Originally, their NBT honor was a fan-voted contest. Jasmine Sagginaro won the 2009 installment, over Gabi Wilson, but years later Wilson would be better known than all her competitors combined. You might know her better as...well, H.E.R..
- Slogan: The last one was Your Music, Your Way. It used to be Radio Disney, We're All Ears!
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Sometimes in the playlist, especially songs written about tragedies in the world, though their meanings were never explicitly explained to listeners.