ABC News Radio
|Availability||National, through regional affiliates.|
|Slogan||Trusted. Credible. Complete.|
ABC News World Headquarters|
New York, New York
(distributed through Skyview Networks)
|January 1, 1968|
|ABC Radio News|
ABC News Radio is the radio service of ABC News, a division of the ABC Television Network in the United States. Formerly known as ABC Radio News, ABC News Radio feeds, through Skyview Networks with newscasts on the hour to its affiliates. ABC News Radio is the largest commercial radio news organization in the US.
ABC Radio aired the first broadcast report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas at 18:30 UTC and Don Gardiner anchored the initial bulletin at 18:36:50 UTC, minutes before any other radio or television network.
Beginning in the late 1950s, ABC fed hourly newscasts to affiliates at 5 minutes before the hour until January 1, 1968, when the singular ABC radio network was split into four separate and distinct programming services. The American Contemporary Network, on major-market music stations like WABC New York, aired news at 5 minutes before the hour. American Information Network news ran at the top of the hour on major-market stations like KGO San Francisco. The American FM Network carried news geared toward adult FM listeners at 15 minutes past the hour, while the American Entertainment Network had news at the bottom of the hour.
Before the split, ABC reached an understanding with the FCC concerning the "Chain Broadcasting" rule, which forced the sale of NBC's Blue network and enabled ABC's creation in 1943. Each of the four networks could be cleared only when no other ABC network was on the air in a particular market. Though each of the four new "networks" were distributed to all member radio stations nationally over the same broadcast-quality telephone line, 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. Two additional news networks, ABC Rock and ABC Direction, were added on January 4, 1982 after the network became a satellite-delivered service. The network was strict in its insistence that there be no simultaneous broadcast of more than a single network in a market, except during crisis or special event coverage.
After the sale of most of ABC's radio assets to Citadel Broadcasting in 2007, the ABC Radio Network was operated by the broadcaster as part of the Citadel Media Networks division, and still distributed ABC News content. Citadel Broadcasting was later acquired by Cumulus Media: in July 2014, Cumulus announced that it would end its partnership with ABC News, and begin a new partnership with CNN to syndicate news content via the new Westwood One News network for its stations beginning on January 1, 2015. In turn, ABC announced that it would take the syndication of its radio content in-house under a revived ABC Radio, with distribution handled by Skyview Networks.
Despite many of ABC's former heritage radio properties no longer carrying any ABC programming, ABC is affiliated with some other heritage radio stations, including WLW Cincinnati, KTRS Saint Louis, KOA Denver, KOMO Seattle, KSL Salt Lake City, and KMBZ Kansas City. Before being acquired by Westwood One, ABC News Radio programming was available in podcast form on iHeart due to Cumulus radio stations streaming on iHeart. When Cumulus started using Westwood One/CNN for their national news, ABC News Radio's digital presence was moved exclusively to Slacker.
While of ABC's heritage radio stations use CNN for their national news provider, other Cumulus stations formerly affiliated with ABC (example KARN Little Rock) carry CBS, also distributed by Westwood One.
Of the six networks, only Information, Entertainment and ABC FM News remain as separate newscast services today, with their programming delivered via satellite. The "Information" network newscasts clear on major-market stations. "Entertainment" network news airs mainly on small and medium-market stations. ABC FM News newscasts air on a small number of FM music 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. The standard format is the same for all three, with the Entertainment network having shorter stories and the Information network having slightly longer stories and more global coverage.
Individual soundbites and reporter packages are fed to stations via satellite and an affiliate website. In addition to the top-of-the-hour newscasts, ABC News also provides its radio affiliates with headlines, briefs and "status reports" that air at :30, :50, :10, and :20 and :40 past the hour, as well as special reports, special event coverage and longform programming.
News & Comment
ABC News Radio produced "News and Comment", which originated from Chicago and began in 1951. On January 1, 1968 Paul Harvey became a part of ABC's American Entertainment Network, although the program was also heard on stations affiliated with all four ABC Networks, if the "Entertainment" affiliate was not as powerful as another ABC affiliate in a given market. After Paul Harvey's death on February 28, 2009, Gil Gross took over the "News & Comment" program less than a month later. The "Rest of the Story" time slot was held by Doug Limerick. Shortly after that, Mike Huckabee assumed the anchor chair and "News and Comment" was renamed "The Huckabee Report." Huckabee remained a part of Cumulus, even after the spinoff. Huckabee took over distribution of the program himself and took it digital-only in 2015.
Notable current on-air staff
- Doug Limerick – weekday mornings
Notable former on-air staff
- Charles Gibson – anchored the Information Network newscast; retired in 2009
- Ann Compton – White House Correspondent; retired September 10, 2014 after 41 years at the network.
- "ABC News radio deal with Cumulus to end, but there's an upside". Capital New York. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Cumulus taps CNN for Westwood One news service". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Politico". Politico. 2014-08-15. Retrieved September 22, 2015.