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…"