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, 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 Citadel Media) and moved operations to Dallas. As of right now, this division is now known as "ABC Music Radio".
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.