Today: Why News Radio KMBZ’s Move to FM May Not Work, Part One

Simulcasting news radio 980 KMBZ AM on the FM dial makes perfect sense – or does it…

While the station remains a cash cow for Entercom, its flagging ratings were bound to catch up with its pocketbook. So by bringing in more listeners grazing on the FM band – not the AM – KMBZ hopes to keep the cash coming in and perhaps charge a bit of a premium for a more upscale (and hopefully larger) FM enhanced audience.

Just how poorly has KMBZ fared of late?

In the just released February radio ratings it placed 14th in the market in adults 25 to 54 with a 3.5 share of listeners. And in its prime demo of adults 35 to 64 it came in 14th also.

KMBZ’s Web site asks listeners to tune in at 2 p.m. to learn of the simulcast on KUDL’s 98.1 starting March 30.

But will adding FM listeners bolster KMBZ’s ratings enough to make up for the loss of revenue on 98.1?

Doubtful, insiders say.

Broadcasting the same format on two signals will come nowhere close to doubling KMBZ’s revenues.

"One plus one is not going to equal two," says one radio insider. "They may pick up a share point – maybe a point and a half – but they’re not going to pick up KUDL’s three points and go to a 6.5 share. So I think this is an expense play. They’re not going to be able to raise their revenues much, even if they get better ratings, because KMBZ is already the second highest billing radio station locally. They’re already doing well from a revenue standpoint. So I don’t see it as a very smart move other than the expenses they’re cutting. If they can save $1.5 million in expenses…"

Stay tuned…
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13 Responses to Today: Why News Radio KMBZ’s Move to FM May Not Work, Part One

  1. Super Dave says:

    For The Like Of Me
    I really can’t see where this move in the long run will pay off.

    Time will tell no doubt.

  2. smartman says:

    No Static At All
    Just what the world needs another channel with EJ and Ellen, Shanin and Parks and Darla Jaye propelling their wisdom into the cosmos. No wonder the universe keeps expanding! Galaxies and nebula are trying to get as far away as possible from the dreck they broadcast. That’s probably why aliens don’t visit looking for intelligent life on earth anymore. They picked up the Shanin and Parks show when they were surfing the dial. Their local programming is PAINFUL. Beyond Nick “The Shituation” Wright painful. You know the difference between the Situation and the Shituation. The Shituation has a six-pack on his nose! All I can say is Thank You Mr.Jesus for Sirius/XM.

  3. Rainbow Man says:

    5 Reasons why I listen to KMBZ less…
    I am a 20 year KMBZ fan who listens much less.

    1. Mike Shanin is is like a strange uncle who makes perverted inuendo on the air. Never listen to them. I tune into 810.
    2. Before I get in my car… I already got the news on-line.
    3. Darla Jaye… How Innovative. A conservative talk host. Rush and Beck are fine on their own.
    4. You can tell that E.J. Becker hates it here. Anyone who lives on the Plaza is temporary.
    5. They own a sports station and they still have sports programming on KMBZ.

  4. James says:

    Its hard to keep your ratings off when your demographic continues to die of old age.

  5. mark x says:

    Just one question …
    … why the #$%^ are there 50 radio stations in Kansas City anyway?

    Radio execs must be the big morons in the business world.

    It’s herd culling time.

  6. WildaBeest says:

    C’mon, you have only one radio insider: Bob Zuroweste
    Let’s at least quote Bob Zuroweste as your insider source. And let’s publish that he used to run the Entercom empire before he was banished to purgatory, I mean Dayton Ohio, and has now returned to work for 101 the Fox, owned by Entercom’s biggest rival, Cumulus Media Partners.

    I think it’s fine for Z. to have opinions.

    But it is biased if you don’t at least reveal that your unnamed source has skin in this game, and thus has a vested interest in trying to LOWER the fortunes of the boss that fired him, Entercom.

  7. d says:

    My radio doesn’t even get AM!

  8. Big Dog says:

    Insider’s Insider
    It’s interesting old Hearne would call a Cumulus “Insider” rather than just picking up the phone and asking someone at Entercom why they did it, and what their expectation are. Of course the Insider at Cumulus is going to diss this move. They compete with KMBZ with that dog of a station 710 KCMO where 95% of it is syndicated. Oh yeh, didn’t Cumulus just launch that Laugh 102? Hey Hearne, maybe you should call an insider at Entercom and ask them what they think about that.

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    This was not a done deal to confirm or not confirm with Entercom because – hellooo – its plans for KMBZ were still under wraps. If you recall, one of my guesses – prior to Entercom’s announcement after my column had been written – was that they might go with 610 Sports.

    Gotta keep up, Dog. Woof, woof!

  10. harley says:

    way to go hearne….insult your readers
    as smartman said….this site lacks anyone with brains. Hall can be funny. You get it right 10% oif the time…
    but you better fine tune this site or it will be relegated to the trash heap of .com heaven.
    Is it a smart move….for kmbz…yes….they save millions….but without adding some younger less
    conservative and more right of center moderates how do they think they willpick up any listeners.
    If you like rush you know where to find him.
    If you like beck you know where to find him….they scrapped this guy and moved him to 9pm at night
    where the real lunies can listen to him and his wild theories.
    america is waking up to what is happening….we’re not gonna take it anymore….

  11. murray slaughter says:

    More than 25 years ago, I had to frantically slam my snooze button when the radio came on and I was awakened by the inane semi-fascist shallow ramblings of Mike Shanin and that guy from The Mothers in Law (not Herb Rudley). Shanin reminds me of the MTM episode where Ted Baxter pleads, “I’ve got charisma,” and Mary has to tell him, “Ted, you don’t.”
    Anyway, thanks to the simulcast, now I will to work twice as hard to avoid Shanin.

  12. Katfish Kris Kelly says:

    Can Kansas City listeners keep up?
    I can’t believe that my hometown has soooo many radio experts that have never cracked a microphone! And the James guy with the post about boomers dying off…dude, the Boomers are 80 million strong and they are going to live longer (thanks to health innovations and meds) than any demographic in recorded history in this country!! The rule is “Follow the money” sonny boy and learn how to position a product before you run your mouth about something you know nothing about! Anybody in the business that is pulling the research revenue out of their budget had better think twice, too. New media is going to start eating up “chunks” of market share, technology is advancing at lightning speed, and the advertising dollar has a completely new meaning to businesses (large and small). Good programmers understand their customers and they don’t “shoot from the hip” like idiotic, uneducated fools. GM’s have only two general orders…make your numbers and produce the revenue. It’s always been pretty simple; if you don’t like something, change it! Nobody said you have to listen. There is plenty of competition all over the dial, the internet and YOUR PHONE. Support something you like and quit BITCHIN’. Creativity will win every time!

  13. Hearne Christopher says:

    Dream on, WildaBeest,

    Let me get this straight; you want me to name all of my sources while you weigh in with bogus guesses and information under an assumed name. By the way, Zuroweste resigned from Entercom and was not fired. That is a confirmed fact, Mr. WildaBeest.

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