RKO Radio Network

RKO Radio Network

RKO Radio Network

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Description:
The RKO Radio Networks, a subsidiary of RKO General, were the first commercial radio networks to distribute programming entirely by satellite. When it began operations on October 1, 1979, the initial RKO network was the first new full-service American radio network in 40 years. Satellite distribution allowed high-fidelity (15 kHz) stereo programming to its affiliates.



News and programming

The newscasts, aimed at a young adult audience, had a conversational, high-energy style developed by co-founders Vice President and News Director Dave Cooke, and Vice President of Programming Jo Interrante.

RKO was popular from the start, signing up hundreds of affiliates coast to coast. Its base was the RKO General-owned radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other large markets. RKO initially purchased downlink satellite dishes for its affiliates, creating the nation's first satellite-delivered commercial radio network.

The original network, which fed newscasts at :50 repeated at :00, became known as RKO 1 when RKO 2 debuted on September 1, 1981. RKO 2 fed newscasts at :20 repeated at :30 and was aimed at an older audience. Both networks offered sportscasts, music, public affairs programming and closed-circuit affiliate feeds of news and sports correspondent reports and news-maker actualities.

The networks were home to three groundbreaking long-form programs. NightTime America with Bob Dearborn was the first live, daily, satellite-delivered music show in radio...
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