In the spirit of not missing your water til the well runs dry, it’s time to bring back one of KC’s best talk show hosts…
Former KMBZ personality Tom Becka never turned in Rush Limbaugh-like ratings during his tenure here, and his raspy voice was a known irritant to former Entercom boss Bob Zuroweste. That said, the 50-something yakker looks like Prince Charming in the rearview mirror compared to most of the hosts that have followed in his footsteps.
And until radio giant Clear Channel pulled the plug on its stations across the country yesterday, Becka was kicking butt and taking names at KFAB in Omaha. He was let go as part of the sweeping cutbacks reported by Chicago media columnist Robert Feder.
"When the largest radio company in America assembles its major market general managers in Chicago today. it won’t be to tell them what a swell job they’re doing," Feder wrote yesterday. "Instead, if knowledgeable industry reports are correct, Clear Channel Radio will set in motion massive cutbacks that could lead to what one analyst called ‘a new form of local radio.’ ”
Translation: "By the time the plans are implemented, the company could be operating with far fewer employees and virtually no local involvement in what goes out over the air and online," Feder added.
Unfortunately for Becka – but perhaps fortunately for KC – Feder’s prediction was spot on.
As a result Becka is ready, willing and able to take his show on the road and help bring about the higher ratings KMBZ has hoped for since going with an FM simulcast earlier this year on the signal of former adult contemporary station KUDL FM.
"I’m looking at all of my options right now," Becka says. "And I’m going to take a little time off and regroup."
Would Becka consider a return to Kansas City?
"I mean, I’m open to anything," he says. "I have a lot of energy and now that they Royals are going to be contenders, of course I’d like to come back to Kansas City. I’ve been dealing with (the Royals’) AAA team up here and I’ve seen the quality of players that have come down to Kansas City. So I know KC’s going to be a contender next year and I’d love to come down and watch ’em play."
Becka’s been ruling the roost for seven years in Omaha, but he totally knows KC and could hit the ground running, complete with the kind of name recognition that would vault him onto the map post haste.
"We’ll see," Becka says. "But if Kansas City wanted me to come back, I’d be happy to come back. And now that the river’s gone down, it’s an easy drive."