Radio Disney debuted in 1996, and has continued to be a family-friendly radio station for the past 15 years. In fact, the station attracts about 29 million listeners weekly on its 32 stations in the U.S.!
On-air personality and creative director Ernest “Ernie D” Martinez says, “I like to think of this as an evolution. It will never have an end result. We grow with the audience.”
Martinez, who was hired in 1997, started as a low-level producer and board operator. Eventually, he worked up to the weekend on-air talent, then became the on-air personality full-time during the evenings. Currently, he’s managed to rise to the weekday afternoon slot. According to an interview with People magazine, Martinez’s favorite thing is to talk to kids.
To celebrate their 15th anniversary, Radio Disney will be giving away a slew of prizes this month. Some of the offerings include autographed guitars from Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. Additionally, there will be several stars in studio for Radio Disney’s “Take Overs” from 3 to 5 p.m. Keep an eye out for Willow Smith on April 18; Ashley Tisdale on April 19, and Jordin Sparks on April 20.
Radio Disney listeners should also stay tuned for the red carpet broadcast from the scene of the Prom movie premiere April 21.
“Our music transcends the age gaps,” says Martinez. “We play Bruno Mars and Kelly Clarkson. Kids enjoy the same music as mom who is in the car driving with the kids.”
Radio Disney has also been playing “Then and Now” segments, including ‘Flashback’ songs every hour featuring Britney’s first album; NSync, Backstreet Boys and Hanson. Part of what Martinez loves about his job is knowing that kids are still listening to Radio Disney 15 years after it’s debut. “We get calls from kids in college who listened to us when they were 7 or 8, and parents who listened as well, which shows it’s really something the whole family can enjoy together. When we play our Flashback songs like ‘MmmBop’ by Hanson, one caller said, ‘Oh My God, you were playing it when I was 11. Now I am 24. I love it.”