This company helps fortress radio broadcasters with original content. Formerly ABC Radio Network, Citadel Media is a leading producer and syndicator of radio programming that serves about 4,400 affiliate radio stations. Its stable of talent includes such talk show hosts as Joe Scarborough, Don Imus, and Mark Levin. It also distributes sports programming from ABC Sports, as well as music and entertainment shows. In addition, the company provides sound effects and other production materials used by radio stations to create promotional spots and lead-ins. Citadel Media is a subsidiary of radio station giant Citadel Broadcasting.
Like the radio industry in general, the broadcast syndication segment has also suffered declining ad revenue due to the recession. In order to try to boost audiences, Citadel has continued to invest in new programming, partnering with Comcast in 2008 to create new branded radio content with some of the cable company's popular channels, such as E! Entertainment, G4, and Style. It launched new programming featuring conservative commentator and former governor Mike Huckabee the following year. Citadel Media accounts for about 20% of Citadel's sales.
The syndicator has suffered some losses from its talent pool, however. Popular political talk show host Sean Hannity inked a deal in 2008 to have his show distributed by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks. The following year, longtime talk host Paul Harvey died at the age of 90. He had been one of the company's top radio personalities with about 950 affiliates carrying his show.
John Rosso was promoted to oversee Citadel Media in 2009, replacing Jim Robinson who left the business. Rosso was previously in charge of Citadel's interactive media strategy. Robinson had led the radio syndication operation since 2004.
Walt Disney's ABC spun off its radio operations, including 22 large-market stations, to Citadel in exchange for $2.7 billion in cash and stock in 2007. Following the deal, Disney shareholders owned 57% of the combined company. The merger did not include ESPN Radio and Radio Disney. Citadel rebranded the unit under its own banner in 2009.
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