Satellite Music Network

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Satellite Music Network
Type Radio network
Country  United States
Availability National, through regional affiliates
Key people
Bob Leonard, & Gary Semro
Launch date
Dissolved 1989 (absorbed by ABC Radio)

Satellite Music Network was the first satellite delivered network to provide complete live 24-hour-a-day music programming to local stations, under several different formats. Affiliate stations, mostly in small and medium markets, could operate their stations virtually unmanned with nothing more than a computer and a satellite hookup offering major market talent that they could never afford. The "clock" included options for a 2-, 3-, or 5-minute newscasts at the top of the hour, followed by other holes for local spots. While the programming was live, DJ's had to avoid references to the weather or anything else that would not be appropriate in many time zones. An 800-line was eventually added, allowing the live DJ's to take phoned in requests. They began in 1981 in Mokena, IL in a strip mall with two formats: AC (adult contemporary) - signed on by Bob Leonard (not the basketball player of the same name), and Country - signed on by Gary Semro. By the late 1980s, SMN was broadcasting to more than 600 stations nationwide and in the Caribbean. In late 1989, SMN merged into ABC Radio (now Cumulus Media) and moved operations to Dallas. As of right now, this division is now known as "Westwood One Radio Networks".

Bonneville Broadcasting also signed on with an easy listening format simultaneously to SMN - signed on by Tim Kolody from the same studios in August 1981. Bonneville pulled out of SMN in June 1984.

Among the talent that was employed at SMN was Chicago radio legend Eddie Hubbard on the Stardust format, Dean Richards who can be heard on WGN and WGN-TV in Chicago, Karen Williams of WNUA, Dennis Jon Bailey,now morning show host and Marconi Award winner at WIKY Radio in Evansville, News was done by Larry Langford also of WIND at the time and later WMAQ in Chicago and John Calhoun, who continues to broadcast in the Chicago market. A top 40 network called "The Heat" also existed, but little historical information is available for this network. The networks were later moved to Dallas, Texas, where talent on Country Coast to Coast included: Jim Casey, Steve Sharp, Jerry Walker, R.J. Steele, Mark Edwards, Becky Wight, Catfish Prewitt. On StarStation the talent included: Peter Stewart, Bob Leonard, John Lacy, and others. Country Coast to Coast in the early 1990s had the phone number 1-800-US-SONGS which later changed to 1-800-457-6647, Starstation 1-800-832-0208.

Former Satellite Music Network networks[edit]

Network Ident Format Notes
Triangle-blue.svg Pure Gold Oldies from 1960s to 1970s Later "Oldies Radio", now known as "Classic Hits".
Triangle-red.svg The Classic Rock Experience Classic rock Now rebranded as Classic Rock by Cumulus Media in 2011. Discontinued in 2014 after Cumulus Media Networks' merger with Westwood One.
Triangle-red.svg Starstation Adult Contemporary Now known as "Hits and Favorites". Discontinued in 2014 after Cumulus Media Networks' merger with Westwood One.
Triangle-red.svg Kool Gold Oldies from '50s-early '60s Discontinued by ABC Radio Networks, 1995. Eventually replaced by The True Oldies Channel. An unrelated network of the same name was created by Dial Global in 2005.
Triangle-blue.svg Real Country Classic Country founded by Buck Owens
Triangle-red.svg Stardust Oldies/Standards Later "Timeless Classics" and "Timeless Favorites," now "Timeless". Discontinued February 2010.
Triangle-blue.svg Country Coast to Coast Country Later "Best Country Around," now known as "Today's Best Country"
Triangle-blue.svg The Touch Urban Adult Contemporary Briefly rebranded as "MyFavStation" in 2010. Reverted to original branding.
Triangle-red.svg Z Rock Heavy Metal Discontinued in December, 1996

Later added by ABC[edit]

Network Ident Format Additional Notes (if any)
Triangle-purple.svg The Christmas Channel Christmas Music Available from the day before Thanksgiving through Christmas Day.
Triangle-teal.svg Jack FM Variety/Adult Hits Spun off to Dial Global.
Triangle-grey.svg Radio Disney Children's Retained by Disney in ABC Radio sale.
Triangle-teal.svg Rejoice! Musical Soul Food Urban Contemporary Gospel Spun off to Urban Choice Media.
Triangle-red.svg Today's Best Hits Hot Adult Contemporary Formerly known as "ABC Hot AC". Discontinued in 2014 after Cumulus Media Networks merged with Westwood One.
Triangle-teal.svg The True Oldies Channel Oldies from 1950s to 1970s. Jettisoned by Cumulus/Westwood One in 2014, but still retains online presence.
Triangle-gold.svg Unforgettable Favorites Soft Oldies/AC Merged into "Stardust"/"Timeless Classics" to create new "Timeless" (formerly "Timeless Favorites") format.

Triangle-blue.svg = Currently active on ABC Radio.
Triangle-purple.svg = Active on ABC Radio on a seasonal basis.
Triangle-teal.svg = Divested to other companies.
Triangle-gold.svg = Formats combined.
Triangle-red.svg = Currently discontinued.
Triangle-grey.svg = Retained by origin of network.