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Topic: Now ear this, Radio Disney debuts in New Orleans< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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Posted: Feb. 17, 2003 6:39 am/pm Quote

This New Orleans Times-Picayune article is posted here for historical archive purposes:

Now ear this

Radio Disney debuts in New Orleans


Monday February 17, 2003

By Barri Bronston
Staff writer

The notion of tuning in to AM radio might not appeal to your kids, but perhaps this will: Radio Disney.

The all-day-all-night network, geared to children 2 to 14, debuted in New Orleans earlier this month, bringing to young listeners its trademark mix of catchy pop, call-in contests and celebrity news.

On the dial, Radio Disney can be found on WBYU AM-1450, which had been known locally for its easy listening and talk-show formats. The station was sold earlier this year to parent company ABC Radio, paving the way for New Orleans to become Radio Disney's 53rd market.

"It's radio that kids and their parents can finally call their own," said Drew Rashbaum, regional director of Radio Disney. "There is family viewing on television but until now nothing family-oriented on the radio. This is entertainment that families can enjoy together."

It's also designed to be something that adolescents can enjoy as much as toddlers. For younger kids, the network offers a midday Playhouse Disney block with such features as "Storytime Theater," and "Minnie and Mickey's Tune Time."

"This is where you'll hear a read-along book and more of the Disney tunes from the movies," Rashbaum said.

The format changes as older kids begin coming home from school or head to their first after-school activity. That's when Radio Disney showcases pop artists such as Avril Lavigne, Aaron Carter and Vanessa Carlton.

As you might expect, objectionable or inappropriate lyrics won't be heard on Disney. Many artists such as Pink, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were told they would have to rework songs that contained objectionable language or themes if they wanted to be part of the playlist. They did so willingly, Rashbaum said.

"We're built on being a safe haven for kids to listen to radio," he said. "But we want parents to enjoy listening to it as well."

Besides music, other on-air features include ESPN Sports for Kids, a joke segment called "Laugh Shack," and "Kid of the Month," which recognizes children for activities that enhance the lives of others. There are also free call-in opportunities throughout the day.

Rashbaum said that as the network becomes more settled in New Orleans, listeners can expect to see Radio Disney promotions throughout the metro area, including at Carnival parades, shopping malls and car dealerships.

"We're happy to be in New Orleans," he said. "It's certainly a market that made sense to us."

. . . . . . .

Staff writer Barri Bronston can be reached at bbronston@timespicayune.com or 504 826-3448.
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