RKO Radio Networks


RKO General owned several radio networks during its existence: the Mutual Broadcasting System (until the mid-1950s), The Yankee Network (1943-1967), the Don Lee Broadcasting System, and the RKO Radio Networks.

The RKO Radio Networks were headquartered in the WOR Radio headquarters at 1440 Broadway in Manhattan, New York City, formerly also the headquarters of the Mutual Broadcasting System when RKO General owned Mutual. The network existed from the early 1970s through 1985, when the networks were purchased by The United Stations and became The United Stations Radio Networks. United Stations was merged with Transtar Radio Networks to form Unistar Radio Networks in 1987. In 1993 Unistar was purchased by Westwood One, and 1994 Westwood One was purchased by the Infinity Radio division of CBS. It is now part of Viacom.

Read United Station's own history.

The RKO Radio Networks played a key role in the demise of its corporate parent, RKO General. By the early 1980s RKO General was already deeply embroiled in a fight with the Federal Communications Commission over its fitness to be a licensee. In 1984 it was revealed that customers and affiliates of the RKO Radio Networks had been systematically overbilled and under-compensated (respectively). This hastened the demise of RKO General, which had already lost the license for WNAC-TV 7 Boston in 1982 and was in the final stages of appeals on all of its other licences. With the allegations of corporate malfeasance at the Radio Networks, RKO General all but abondoned its efforts to retain its licenses and began the final stages of liquidation. RKO General's final license was lost in 1989, and the company was spun off from corporate parent GenCorp. in 1987.

More detail will follow when I have a chance to complete my research.

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©2004 James P. Snyder - All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without prior written permission of the author.


This page authored 040221SA. Last updated 040221SA.