Last week, when the Drudge Report scooped the possible sale by Disney of the ABC Radio network and its stations, the news immediately made us wonder: What will become of the ABC News motto, “More Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source”? Because that carefully worded bit of corporate braggadocio relies on the fact that, when you combine the audience for ABC News’ television news, online news and radio news (there are 2,500 ABC Radio affiliates), then you’ve got your audience supremacy.
After all, everybody knows that, on the TV news side, ABC has been sandwiched between a laggard CBS and the top-rated NBC for a long time—a point underscored in July when NBC floated the slogan, “More Americans watch NBC News than any other news organization in the world.”
With visions of “Fewer Americans get their news…” headlines dancing in our head, we called ABC News to inquire. The slogan appears to be safe after all. In the event of a deal, Disney likely would structure it so that the company would end up owning half of the acquiring company and would keep running ABC News, which the radio division actually “buys” through a contract with the news division. Assuming the acquiring company would itself already own some stations, it’s entirely possible that the radio network would expand and that even more Americans will be getting their news from ABC News. And by the way, an ABC insider tells us negotiations are moving forward.