Hearne: Talent Drought Fuels Ratings Decline at NewsRadio KMBZ

You got it, you double it, you don’t got it…

That’s pretty much what has happened to KMBZ 980 AM, Kansas City’s so-called news-radio station. Two months into KMBZ’s plan to grow listenership by simulcasting on former sister station KUDL’s 98.1 FM signal, the local talk station has gone nowhere fast. Actually, its combined ratings have plummeted.

Check out the digits.

Among adult listeners, 25-54, Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to midnight, KMBZ sank from a 4.1 share in May of 2010 to a 3.5 share last month. Again, that after adding an FM simulcast. Ditto for the important demographic of male listeners, 25-54. In May 2010, broadcasting on AM only, KMBZ  garnered a 5.8 share. That sank to a 4.5 share in thejust-released May 2011 ratings.

"They have a major problem with a lack of air talent," says one radio insider. "I can’t believe some of the people they have on the air."

"With the exception of Rush, their content sucks," adds another. "Most news radio stations that do well around the country have people that have been on there 20 years."

The $64 million question: Can KMBZ take the bull by the horns and bring in the talent to regain its still-profitable and once-lofty ratings perch?

Stay tuned…

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18 Responses to Hearne: Talent Drought Fuels Ratings Decline at NewsRadio KMBZ

  1. CMac says:

    Darla is flat out bad radio.

  2. harley says:

    again…hearne…please shut up…
    pretty simple…its happening across the nation. Right wing media is falling. Fox news….and rush and
    we saw what happened to beck….its just gotten old and stale. The same old line of b.s….and thank
    god that there was some lies for the right wingers to jump on in may and early june….god help them
    without the terrible republican candiates like gingrich and palenty who are the worst campaigners ever..
    and thank god for the weinergate or guys like shannin and parks would have nothing to talk about .
    The good news was just reported by 3 polling reports….that the per cent of people who are
    very against ryans plan to decimate medicare went up over 9 poiints in the last 2 weeks.
    Right wing is old. Worn out. Old news….and why would anyone listen to these nutcases when they
    only lie.
    Its simple….its not the talent…its the fact that the internet is b ecoming an even more vital
    part of the political scene…..why listen to the dope addicts when you can get all their info
    and lies with just 3 minutes on the net.
    How anyone can stand limbaugh and his negativity is beyond me….3 hours of crap.
    The right wing is dying…sorry but the demographics of america is changing faster than any
    expert expected. With the tea party and the repubs about the go to war…its a pretty
    easy ride for obama and the dems in 2012.
    Its not the talent…its just that they have noone to attack or no stories to lie about ..they;ve
    pretty much used up all their lies and scams…
    Also…if interested I’m sure bill oreilly hopes you go to goldline to purchase some gold.
    Hearne…another sad commentary….please….are there no more staff changes at the star

  3. Hearne Christopher says:

    Of course there are. Stand by.

  4. Bad Ass jew, Berkowitz says:

    Simple Solution For Ratings/Hire Craig Glazer
    Want ratings, hire radios best known voice. Talk about not conservative, but unfilltered its that guy. Give him the evening spot. Glazer already had name recognition and followers. I listened to his dad years ago late night. Pretty good, but not near the draw of the son. KMBZ you need to have some balls on this one. You know the old saying “they listen cause they hate him, they listen cause they like him, either way they listen.” That’s our boy.

  5. Honky Tonk Man says:

    Good Idea
    Good call Berkowitz, I’d listen. Wonder if he would have Hearne on? Yes. KMBZ is way too straight to try that one.

  6. WC says:

    KMBZ Mornings
    Why can’t KMBZ copy their morning format. News with no political bias.

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    They certainly could.

    But, like Fox, CNN and MSNBC, the prevailing wisdom is to hire news talk types. However, it’s easier said than done, hiring a host or hosts that will truly resonate with listeners.

    Like former KCTV news director Don North told me years ago, if judging talent was that easy, every station would have a Larry Moore, Bryan Busby or Gary Lezak working for them. Instead of a Mark Clegg or Darla Jaye.

    KMBZ was living somewhat large, for example, in afternoons with Jerry Agar until WLS in Chicago spirited him away. Agar flopped in Chicago and KMBZ resurrected a long since discarded local talk show host and an ingenue and have been limping along ever since.

  8. Rainbow Man says:

    They lost me for good… and I was loyal.
    1. EJ Becker does not like living here and you can tell. Anyone who lives on the Plaza is temporary… (which he keeps telling us)… is waiting for the next gig. See Dick Vermeil. I still love Ellen.
    2. Darla Jay recycles what other conservatives are already doing. Horrible Radio. Just Horrible. She was good when she first came on… before she put on the fake conservative hat. It is fake… and listeners can tell.
    3. Shanin does this weird inuendo and joketelling. Sometimes it hovers on the “dirty old man” type. Very boring. Shanin and Parks drove me to sports stations.
    4. KMBZ had ALL of their programming with conservatives. And I am conservative. Even I got bored silly
    5. Becka was great.
    6. There are too many national topics on the locally hosted talk shows.

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    Do I sense a campaign to bring Tom Becka back?

    You know, he was guilty of not setting the world on fire during his time here. But looking back, I think we didn’t realize how good we had it. I’m with you.

    Bring back Becka!

  10. Rainbow Man says:

    Cruiser 980….. Clear
    Don’t forget Dan Verbeck. There was a time when you listened to KMBZ in the am… It was like they were a News SWAT team. Out on the streets… telling us what was happening NOW. The best. Now they read what they see on the internet.

  11. Cliffy says:

    Never thought I’d say this …
    but I find myself listening to Howard Stern quite a bit these days. Local talkers, as has been stated clearly here, are quite bad and this is a deadful time of year for sportstalk in KC.

  12. Einstein says:

    The facts
    Once again in search for some local controversy you have written an article that completely mistates the facts.

    Fact: KMBZ said that simulcasting the station on FM would bring more “listeners” to the station.

    Fact: Listeners are actual people. They are not “share points” (like you have quoted in your article) which are derived based on a calculation/formula that includes that time spent listening as well as the number of total population in the market tuning into radio over a given time.

    Fact: KMBZ’s last month on AM only was the month of March

    Fact: In March KMBZ had 88,300 adult 25-54 year old weekly listeners.

    Fact In May KMBZ has 133,300 adult 25-54 year old weekly listeners

    Fact: Since adding the FM signal the KMBZ’s adult 25-54 year old weekly listeners has grown 51%

    Since you are comparining year to year ( May 1010 to May 2011) share pinmts…let’s take a look at actual listeners

    Fact; In May of 2010 KMBZ had 114,000 adult 25-54 year old weekly listeners compared to 133,300 in 2011.

    Fact: If you compare year to year the KMBZ audience with 25-54 year olds has actually grown by 17%

    Questions: Why do insist on writing such crap with misleading facts and slanderous comments about the talent involved. Where do you see audience decline or “plummet” from the above facts? I am looking forward to reading your answer. Can’t wait to see how you wiggle out of this with some clever little quote.

  13. Bob Zuroweste's Weiner says:

    Hearne does my bidding, never forget that
    Obviously, Einstein, you are right. Sorry you read this and even sorrier that Hearne allows actual comments, where you could insert the facts. If Herne really loves me, he will delete your comments.

    Here I was hiding all of those inside my tighty whities. But what with Anthony Weiner stealing my headlines, I never figured you guys at Entercom would have the time to read KCC. Whereas here I am, running sales for 101 the Fox, trying to sell football during the lockout, and well…sales. Are. Slow. As in slower than watching a Sporting KC game. So I stroke Hearne with a few stories. Oh well. Winning….

  14. harley says:

    its becoming apparent from reading and watching whats happening at kcc
    that hearne and glaze are now becoming so irrelevant and so out of touch
    that it is a running joke.
    In this hick town these 2 thnk people are really interested in their thoughts.
    They’re not. And as you are seeing more and morepeople are sharpening their
    attacks against these 2.
    Glaze may be a fun guy…i’d love to party with him…i ‘d love to hang with him and
    show him how to deal with classy chicks (obviuosly the guy likes the low end
    bottom feeders….thats fine…they’re easy…and when you hit on them you don’t
    get rejected because noone else wants them). But he’s really becoming a stooge
    on here. Stop glaze…your talent is being wastedc here….you’re welcome is worn
    out….everyone is jumping on ya…your comments are being attacked on nearly every
    subject and story. You’re losing your appeal and once thats gone…it all over
    for you in kc. as I said before…l.a. is your place…you can own that town….the world
    there can be yours. Why be satisfied wsith this small town dust bowl city….
    its because in any other town you’d be drowned out because there at thousands
    of guys like you there…all fighting for the few scraps of publicity they can get.
    Hearne….loved this site….but its deteriorated to a big joke. Its hurt your cred.
    At one time you were the go to guy in kc ….now you’re looking like the get away
    from guy in kc…..your power is gone…no more 300,000 readers at the star….as
    a never been….you still have a chance….clean this up….go upscale….geet great
    writers on real subjects…not someone who wants to argue whether a second tier
    actor who noones heard of (i never kenw this callen guy…don’t recognize him…
    don’t knowhim if glaze didnt talk about him like he was clint eastwood)….
    is famous or not….really….noone cares and noone gives a rats ass.
    Go broythers….theres gold waiting for you….there’s bright lights for you..
    Take the highway….because every story you post shows how bad things
    have come for you.
    Truthfully7….you seem like fun guys..drinking/girl chasing/voyeur photo shooting/
    lots of laugh guys…..stick to your specialities…..

  15. Hearne Christopher says:

    True. It’s good to have a high cume because that means a number of people are sampling your station. But it doesn’t tell you how long they are staying. Which is critical to a station’s revenue and saleability.

    When was the last time a media buy was based primarily on cume listeners? The answer is never.

    There are two ways to measure a radio station’s listenership; cume and average quarter hour.

    Average quarter hour is what most media buyers reference when making an ad buy. And average quarter hour listenership can be reflected as either a share or a ratings point. A 10 share, for example, means 10 percent of the people listening to the radio are listening to that specific station. A ratings point is the percentage of people listening in the total population.

    I chose average quarter hour persons as expressed by the share. But they both represent the same number of people listening on an average of every 15 minutes. Hence the term quarter hour.

    KMBZ’s cume and average quarter hour persons may be up from earlier this year before the simulcast. But that’s only because that was the station’s low water mark. The fact remains that the quarter hour ratings are lower today than they were one year ago. And KMBZ was an AM only signal back then.

  16. kansas karl says:

    How out of touch is this Harley?
    It takes just a smattering knowledge of history to know that this little blog affair is right on track with some of the most popular mass programming ever. Yellow journalism has always brought out the worst and best in people, now with the abiltiy to comment you can read how mis-informed and without merit Harley really is. Practised by the greats in publishing history, Hearst, Hefner, Nelson, the list is endless, if the public is riled up then the job of the journalist is done. Now the peanut gallery gets to chime in and bloviate and not really say anything. Ah the joys of empty egos

  17. Hearne says:

    Looks like Einstein didn’t have a comeback for…
    my “clever little quote.”

    Hey, sometimes the truth hurts. I think that KMBZ will continue to improve. For starters people turn to news stations when big time stories are breaking. And the past two months since KMBZ started its simulcast, there has been a tidal wave of huge news stories; Trump, Bin Laden, Syria, Libya, Joplin, Weiner, Republican politics.

    Unfortunately, the fact remains that the station is fielding a weak and tired lineup.

  18. Einstein says:

    not true
    Actually, I did have a comeback but Hearne couldn’t stand being wrong and removed my post. It must be difficult being Bob Z’s little puppet on a fulltime basis. Hearne should stick to bashing the Star as he knows jaskshit about radio. So predictable.

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