Hearne: World War IV Breaks Out Between Kanrocksas & Buzz Beach Ball

From bad guys to good guys in a single year, or so it seems…

Last year Entercom Kansas City played the role of villain by refusing to accept Kanrocksas music fest advertising on any of its eight local radio stations. Nor would it help promote Kanrocksas, give away tickets or even mention the event on its airwaves despite that it featured many of the artists Entercom’s Buzz and other stations played and supported on a regular basis.

The reason:  Kanrocksas went down in August a scant two weeks before Entercom’s Buzz Beach Ball at Livestrong Sporting Park. And as the promoter of Beach Ball, Entercom stood to lose a lot of money by detouring listeners to the competing fest.

Net result: Kanrocksas flamed out, reportedly with $5 million in losses.

That was then.

The latest: By Entercom’s measure, the shoe is now on the other foot where next year’s recently announced Kanrocksas  is concerned with Entercom playing the role of the aggrieved  party.

The 2013 Buzz Beach Ball is scheduled for this coming June, again at Livestrong Sporting Park. That places it once again in the collateral damage zone of Kanrocksas, which will return to the nearby Kansas Speedway June 28 and 29.

Meaning that once again Kanrocksas will not be allowed to promote its fest on the local radio station’s most critical to its success.

Here’s how things went down, from Entercom’s perspective:

“There was  a meeting recently and we told (Kanrocksas) we would love to work with them and help promote the concert and partner with them,” says a source close to the situation.  “IF they could do the concert in August, the same as last time. We were moving Beach Ball to June and then everyone wins. We even told them the date in June we had  already committed to in anticipation of Kanrocksas.

“They called back a few days later and arrogantly told us that Beach Ball was  a small  event and theirs was a ‘music festival’  and that they were going to do Kanrocksas two weeks within the planned Beach Ball date in June. They pretty much told us to (fuck) off because they were bigger. So now we’re back to a lose/ lose situation.”

Naturally, Kanrocksas has a different take.

I called them,” Kanrocksas main man Bill Brandmeyer stresses. “I took the initiative to allow them to be a part of Kanrocksas. I didn’t put them in a terrible situation, I asked them to be a part of something and they said no. If they go in the second week of June, they’re going up against Bonnaroo and if they do it in the first week of June they’re going up against Wakarusa.

“I feel that both events can have success with early summer dates and I was optimistic that we could work together and I still think we can be partners. I opened the door that would allow them to have ownership, but that’s not the way their organization works.”

As for the conflicting dates, that was not premeditated, Brandmeyer says.

“We didn’t know when Beach Ball was going to be when we decided to move Kanrocksas to the fourth week of June,” he says.

However, Entercom had already moved Beach Ball to June this past summer.

The Buzz feels that they went out of their way to accommodate Kanrocksas next year but feels they were insulted and ignored by Kanrocksas

“Kanrocksas is going up against us in spite of what we told them that we could do and would do to help them,” says the source.  “Last year we were pretty much painted as the bully, but the fact of the matter is  that even two years ago we had our date reserved long before Chris Fritz booked Kanrocksas and we tried to work together for a win/win situation then.  The difference is, last year they were booking bands in conjunction with Lollapalooza in Chicago and had their hands tied. Both of our hands were tied.  This year they are not. They could have picked any weekend all summer but chose to knowingly  drop in right after the already planned  Buzz Beach Ball. So we’re definitely not the bully this time, we’re the ones being bullied. How are we supposed to promote both? They have once again put us in a terrible situation.”

That was not the case, Brandmeyer argues, but at this point, “our dates are pretty solid and it would be a step backwards to move it. We’ve been on sale for (two weeks).”

Nor did Kanrocksas intend to insult Beach Ball by noting the differences in the two event’s size.

“My point with them was I thought the Buzz (festival) was a one day concert and we were trying to paint a picture. But I wasn’t trying to be offensive, I was trying to paint a picture for them that this could be something bigger.”

All of that said,  Kanrocksas is extending an olive branch.

“I think (The Buzz) should own one of our says,” Brandmeyer says. “You know, like Saturday is Buzz Beach Ball Day. I’m open to just about anything…That’s what I hope happens – we reach out to them and they try to be collaborative. We had an August date, but it was too hot and we chose to move it to June.”

Which of course, is exactly what the Buzz did with Beach Ball this summer…and next.

And speaking of small worlds, excommunicated Kanrocksas founder Chris Fritz has been wondering if Kanrocksas might have bitten off a bit more than it can chew by moving to June.

Because Kanrocksas will be competing with Beach Ball, Wakarusa and the mighty RockFest.

“They’re just trying to beat the heat, I guess,” Fritz says. “But all the big acts are in Europe in June…So I don’t have any idea (why they’re doing it then).”

Entercom KC head Dave Alpert declined to comment for this story.

Stay tuned….

 

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7 Responses to Hearne: World War IV Breaks Out Between Kanrocksas & Buzz Beach Ball

  1. the dude says:

    Screw Entercom and their corporate BS, I could care less about Kansarocksapalooza BTW.

  2. kansas karl says:

    First you have an advertising venue becoming a concert promoter, putting the media outlet straight up in competition with a major advertising group on the only stations making money in thier group, excluding neo-con KMBZ. Who really is the agressor here, seems like Entercom is biting the hand that feeds it and then is bitching when bit back. No a surprize, they have to do something as they devalue and debase radio in search of the next big media thing, how’s the HD radio doing, isn’t the comedy station an analog rebroadcast of a digital sub carrier of KCMO FM?

    As the entercommie’s point fingers, they need to remember the 3 pointing back at them.

    HC: Hey, KK thanks for commenting. I will say this, however. Radio stations have been promoting concerts for years, decades. Look at RockFest, this is nothing new. Nor was RockFest even started by Entercom.

    Secondly, when you get right down to it, Entercom has been in the biz a helluva lot longer than Kanrocksas. And both of their Beach Balls were booked well in advance of Kanrocksas both times.

    I’m not saying that the truth doesn’t lie somewhere inbetween, but it’s hard to demonize Entercom this time out.

    • kansas karl says:

      Rock Fest was created to showcase bands that local promoters would not book. Seeing the revenue they can generate has taken a radio company into the concert business, if not for the formats, most promoters would move on, but with a niche media society Entercom is feeding off promoters and killing them at the same time, sounds like the scorpion and frog story. Trust me is the line both sides like to use, both being of the ilk that is not generally trust-able. I am not demonizing Entercom, they seem to be bitching about biting the hand that has fed them for years, biting back.

      HC: Rockfest may have started somewhat under that pretense but it’s always been about money…and station branding and promotion. But 20 years have passed and stations all across the country and doing these concert promotions with the primary idea of making money. Oh and not losing it.

      Entercom will continue to accept advertising for most other shows and the promoters will continue to buy time on the stations when they can and need to. This is kind of a case of lightning striking twice in the same place.

  3. Rick Nichols says:

    Einstein was right all along. He wasn’t exactly sure how WWIII would be fought in terms of the types of bombs and missiles the various alliances would be using in their quest to totally annihilate the enemy, but he was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that WWIV would be fought with sticks and stones, virtually everything else having been destroyed in the previous war. This ongoing Kanrocksas vs. Buzz Beach Ball spat looks like a “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” affair to me. Hey, they all need to just chill out for a while and head on down to Oktoberfest to enjoy the German beers and babes. I’m quite sure ol’ Albert would go if he could.

  4. Jim Beam says:

    Jesus Lord, the arrogance of Entercom. They were arrogant in 2011 when they told KanRocksas to go screw Themselves and now they know – they just KNOW – that KanRocksas moved its concert to go up against the MIGHTY Beach Ball?

    How very John Karpinski this whole argument is.

    I don’t give two shits about Bill Brandmeyer but I have to side with him on this thing. KanRocksas is trying to build a national brand; even Entercom admits KanRocksas was collaborating with Lollapalooza last year. Who gives a darn what a local radio festival show is doing?

    By the way, ask Entercom to double check the accounting on that Beach Ball show if its going back to LiveSTRONG park with Global Spectrum. There are a few thou$and rea$on$ in Global’s pocket why Red, White and Boom and Y’allapalooza ain’t goin’ back to that venue anytime soon.

    But I’m sure the Buzz doesn’t care – they will account for Beach Ball just as they used to for their Power & Light District shows.

  5. harley says:

    if i was promoting shows in kc i would listen to the king…fritz..
    the guy with contemporary rocked this town…..smart smart promotion
    guy…..just look at what the guy did…..business genius!

  6. admin says:

    If I was starting out in the concert promotion biz I’d stay as far away from the established promoters as possible and start out on a far smaller scale and try and learn the business. Rather than writing six-figure checks to what amounts to the competition who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    But that’s just me.