Once upon a time there was only one all-sports radio station in Kansas City…
But the dastardly forces of Entercom – then under the guiding hand of Bob Zuroweste – had other ideas. Zuroweste had seen the sports talk radio dominance of Don Fortune at 980 KMBZ wither at the hands of Kevin Kietzman and the brash buggers at WHB’s forebear KCTE.
Prior to the entry of Kietzman and partner Chad Boeger, the prevailing wisdom had been that the marketplace would not support a full time sports station. Afternoon drive and evenings were more than enough. But once Kietzman and Boeger got in the game, the handwriting was on the wall; 24/7 sports radio was the future.
Leaving Zuroweste and Entercom to play catchup….
Another catalyst for The Game: KCTE’s "Lose a Fortune" billboard campaign aimed KMBZ sports talker Don Fortune.
Here’s how Entercom’s sneak attack went down…
You read about it indirectly yesterday in Joe Posnanski’s 1999 quitting radio column. Entercom had hired a young sports sparkplug named Brooks Melchior to head the effort. And a radio signal at 1250 AM with the call letters WREN was purchased to be converted into the all-sports missile Entercom would launch at Kietzman and Boeger. The silver-tongued Posnanski was brought on board, along with a young Nate Bukaty and Johnny Renshaw. But like Posnanski’s radio career, The Game never really went anywhere.
Its finest hour was its Pearl Harbor launch that foiled the gang at KCTE and pissed them off mightily.
Here’s how it went down through then eyes of one Game survivor:
"We bought $4,000 worth of air time on WHB and promoted The Game before we launched," the Gamester recalls. "Oh, it pissed WHB off so bad. We had a guy in another market make the radio buy and we set up a Web site called The Game. And we advertised a promotion where you would sign up on the site to win a huge prize – like tickets to the Super Bowl. And the deal was you were supposed to go to the Web site at 2 p.m. on a certain day to win the prize. And that was the exact time we launched The Game."