Hearne: New FM Sports Signal Could Spell Trouble for WHB, 610 Sports

DA-picAbout that new FM sports-talk signal…

102.5 The Fan is the name of the Cumulus Radio’s new game and it replaces the popular two year-old comedy station Funny 102.5 FM

The signal is what’s called a “translator” or low power station with a maximum “radiated” output of 250 watts. Local sports-talk station WHB, for example, has a daytime signal strength of 10,000 watts.

Thus the Cumulus-owned 102.5 The Fan is considered a “fill in” station.

All of that said, there are several interesting aspects to Kansas City’s finally getting its first FM sports signal.

Let’s take a look…“The new format is an agreement with Cumulus and CBS,” says an industry insider. “Cumulus launched dozens of stations as All Sports Wednesday all over the country. So this move was part of a much bigger play nationally. Most of those stations were already in the sports format and were ESPN affiliates. And ESPN is affiliated locally with WHB.”

Get the picture?

At this time The Fan is all national programming with no local shows, however the Kansas City Business Journal reported last month that, “the station will feature national programming from the CBS Sports Network as well as Kansas City-area sports from local hosts.”

At this point though, only popular former 610 Sports host D.A. (Damon Amendolara) will be coming over local airwaves as the overnight host.

Here’s what doesn’t quite make sense.

1025FM*280“You have Funny that has done a 2  share and KCMO Talk Radio 103.7 FM that is not even showing up and they change the more successful of the two formats to sports,” says the source. “You will probably hear a lot of promotion of this new station on other Cumulus stations, so it’s existence will be known very quickly.”

There’s more.

The real key to this otherwise somewhat puzzling new entry, is that FM sports stations appear to be the wave of the future. Painting a grim, long-term picture for 610 Sports and WHB depending on whether Cumulus can evolve The Fan into a local FM sports talk signal with more power.

“610 Sports was originally going to be on FM,” says the source. “But Entercom head David Field didn’t want to go there when the station was first launched. However, if Entercom moved KUDL to FM (as The Point) thinking AM was dying, then having a sports station on FM makes a whole lot of sense. FM Sports stations are popping up all over the Country.

“The major missing component on The Fan is having no local talent. If they got that together they could put a major hurt on WHB and KCSP.”

There is a local precedent for sports radio switching from AM to FM.

“Remember the controversy when the Chiefs switched from AM radio to KCFX on FM?” says another radio insider. “A lot of people thought the Chiefs were crazy and making a big mistake. That sports fans wouldn’t listen to their games on FM. But it was a success from the get-go.”

Stay tuned…


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6 Responses to Hearne: New FM Sports Signal Could Spell Trouble for WHB, 610 Sports

  1. On the Radio says:

    I’ve noticed radio devices on the market now that don’t include the AM dial.

    I loved when the Royals provided an additional broadcast on FM a few years ago. The sound was so much better. I started listening to the Royals on XM with my free trial. Going back to AM after the trial was a definite downgrade.

    I wonder if they will be broadcasting games on the new FM station. I really can’t do sports radio talk. Their is not enough topics to fill up the time, so they just start speculating and making up ‘controversial’ issues. Yuck

  2. Cy Kosis says:

    So AM radio is now on FM radio?

    Commercial radio sux.

  3. Pat Hughes says:

    Does anybody what radio station picked up 24/7 Comedy format ?

  4. Mysterious J says:

    You don’t make clear if the power for this new launch is lower than it was for Funny 102.5.

    Might also be worth putting on your reporter pants and attempting to find out why Cumulus would flip a relatively popular format to get into an already saturated area that has not been kind to syndicated programming in this market. If a national name like Jim Rome ultimately failed against Petro, how in the world are they going to sell advertising for anonymous talkers? Does the pitch go something like “sure, nobody ever heard of these hosts…and they are talking about stuff KC fans don’t care about…BUT IT’S IN FM STEREO!”?

  5. kinder says:

    nothing has pissed me off more than taking off the comedy channel with no warning whatsoever. it’s practically the only channel I’ve listened to for the last year or so. WTF were they thinking? that sports channel is gonna get zero listeners in a small town market with 2 proven sports channels already. Do they even look at regional demographics before making changes like this? retarded is all I can say. if i could meet whomever is responsible i would punch them in the face.

  6. Harry Balczak says:

    At least Jim Rome is back on in KC, No more listening to boring Petro and whoever 610 has on now midday.

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