Hearne: The Premature Burial of Funny 102.5 FM

4Inquiring minds want to know…

Why did Funny 102.5 FM have to be the one to buy the farm in order to make way for Cumulus’ new local sports signal The Fan?

When Cumulus launched its HD2 station on what’s called a translator two years ago this Valentine’s Day it took off like a ratings rocket and was an instant hit.

“Kansas City’s Most Successful Radio Launch in Almost a Decade!” shouted a Cumulus promotional piece touting its ratings rise. Speaking of which, check out some of those early returns.

In adults 25 to 54 making $75,000, Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m to midnight Funny racked a 6.1 share. But not quite as huge as that same demo, Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. – morning drive – where it notched a 6.3 share.

That made Funny third and fourth (respectively) in the marketplace for its first three months of existence.

“I give it until St. Patrick’s Day,” commented the Rainbow Man.

Some commenters crowed about Funny, others wondered aloud as to whether it had “legs.”

Funny Brainwash(1)Well, guess what? Funny did. As recently as late this fall it was still pulling down a 2.5 share of listeners 6 and older with an audience cume of around 200,000 listeners.

Compare that to KCUR FM with 150,100 listeners, sports radio WHB with 179,000 listeners, 610 Sports with 148,100 listeners and talk radio KCMO (AM&FM) with 126,800 listeners.

So where did Funny go wrong?

Cumulus corporate made a 45 station sweeping deal with the CBS Sports Network which launched January 2nd, sources say.

110812foley1“The local guys really had no say in in the move and are halfheartedly airing it,” says one industry source. “They didn’t even pick up the press conference with new Chiefs coach Andy Reid.”

As for why funny had to bite the dust instead of say, Cumulus’ weak-as-a-kitten translator signal at 103.7 FM for AM talk station KCMO, eh, who knows? Maybe they didn’t want to have to renegotiate all their advertising deals and plummet the station even lower in the ratings.

“The comedy channel did well because they were exclusive…period,” says one local radio insider. “There was nowhere else here to get that format.”

In any case, Funny’s gone. Comedy lovers will have to turn to the Internet or satellite radio for their yuks.

Say what you will, Funny made its mark these past two years and for many, will be missed.



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16 Responses to Hearne: The Premature Burial of Funny 102.5 FM

  1. paulwilsonkc says:

    I would have put a bullet in the KCMO FM translator in a New York second before I made THIS change, but I stopped listening to KCMO the day Chris Stigal left town. I didn’t agree with all his positions, but he was a cigar buddy of mine, I helped him on some large scale promotions he did and he is a great talk host. The City of Brotherly Luv has that little gift to the airways now and he’s on to much, much bigger things!

    As for 102.5, we spent a lot of time punching that button when out running around town. Hardly ever listened at home, but when kid-less at night, it was almost always on when we were in the car. What a shock coming back from South Texas this past week, hitting the preset and hearing………..SPORTS? Like we need another one of those!

    Preset deleted; big mistake in this market, in my humble opinion.

    Typical brilliance from out of town management. It’s rarely in touch with local markets, but succeeds, on balance, in making these global, sweeping changes with no input from the troops on the ground! Why? When you own an appreciating asset, like a home in Mission Hills, the Royals, and Chiefs, and yes, a radio station of ANY kind, ANY programming in ANY market, you don’t have to always BE right. You don’t always have to maintain that asset.

    Sometimes you can win not even knowing how to play the game because when you get tired of the game and close the sale, and eventually they all do, the cash registers ring up a WIN no matter what! Its good business if you can get it!

    • Jess says:

      I agree.

      The new station has all the New York , west coast crap that I HATE. Pitty, I loved having a change of pace on my dial. Not anymore, going to have to find something new.

  2. Super Dave says:

    Paul nails it on the head

  3. harley says:

    and i will set this straight.
    comedy may have had an audience but it was worthless to advertisers.
    It is because noone sold the station to advertisers.
    Great people at cumulus but their bread and butter is kcmo fm/kcfx
    and kcmo am…(especially with their sat/sunday lineup of infomercials going
    at about $1000 hour).
    so comedy had no value….now they may have struck a deal where they
    get revenue for running the station from cbs/advertisers who want big reach
    from the various markets. If they put on jim rome he can do some number
    but he was a drag on 610 until they cut him loose.
    cumlus is cutting staff dramatically. Its ‘all part of their attempt to become
    a jukebox radio station with no talent to pay.
    And they can make money doing it…but most of these radio groups have
    huge built in debt to pay and they carve the profitable ones to pay for the
    I will be coming out soon with my 2013 KC Media analysis with updates and
    information about the local media scene soon . If you’d like a complete
    copy please email me at law4life1000@yahoo.com. Good news…i now have
    about 200 people subscribing to my various newsletters. I invite comments/
    follw ups/and even a few hecklers to contact me at that site.

  4. OlatheCat says:

    I never listened to comedy 102.5. Gave it a shot a couple times and it never kept my attention for more than a couple minutes. When it changed to sports, I gave it a listen and it’s now on my presets. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    OlatheCat, there are clearly more of you than there are me out there, or they never would have made the change! Unlike some, I’ve never pretended to be the living, breathing authority on every topic, just a guy with an opinion from my paradigm. Thanks for commenting! We need more new blood around here.

    • harley says:

      I am in the know.
      I was trained by some of the top analytical thinkers in the nation.
      If you need advice on business…life…politics contact me at
      law4life1000 @yahoo.com.
      I’m not being outrageous…just that i have been around this town
      for a long time. With my family/friends i become well versed in
      lots of subject.
      I invite intellectual conversations and debate and comments. I am
      the eternal optimist. Even in the darkest hours i find reasons to
      be optimistic….read my posts.
      Thanks to everyone who made 2012 a huge success…looking for
      big thing in 2013….and i wish the same for all my fans/followers/
      disciples/and readers.
      As I mentioned, my 2013 FINANCIAL PAPERS are late in being
      made available to thepublic.
      As soon as they are completed i will post their shortened versions
      on kcc and the extended versions on the wharton school of business
      financial review.
      thanks for all your support. happy new year to all!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. newbaum turk says:

    Another reason to hate radio and why I gave up years ago for satellite. Sirius even offered me a lifetime membership for $250 so it really doesn’t cost me shit

  7. Mysterious J says:

    I think harley hit it on the head. The Funny 102.5 numbers were decent, but worth nothing if nobody was able to sell it to advertisers.

  8. b12 says:

    Advertisers want TSL. Sports radio provides more of it than a comedy station. It’s why 94.9 and 101 get the buys. I don’t have access to any numbers…but I would imagine 810 kills it in TSL as well.

  9. Radio dude says:

    Harley…who are you to claim” I am in the know” especially when it comes to radio and media. How about a name, resume, something to back up validity of your self proclaimed greatness?
    As I read your comments and opinions it is obvious you “have been around”
    When it comes to the Funny 102.5 posts. The point that was being made is that the station had the reach or coverage to deliver more listeners than KCSP WHB or KCMO. True that if stations don’t deliver revenue (even if they do deliver ratings) they won’t be around for long. Look at WDAF AM , KXTR and KCIY all did well in ratings but the sales staff could not convert to revenues. All this sounds like a sales problem.
    Back to the point of the 1o2.5 story. It has the signal to deliver ratings….but one insiders point that it was an exclusive format is correct. However, what if Cumulus sees the opportunity to add local programming….are you so much in the know that you are inside the walls of Cumulus.
    A challenge you made to Hearne “prove KFKF or KBEQ were number 1”. go back prior to wdaf fm around 2002 and you will find the proof.
    Harley, you may be in the know…..but a far distance from all knowing.

    • harley says:

      sorry radio dude but you’re off base..
      No…i can pretty much be sure that kfkf and kbeq were never #1…
      maybe back in the early days of kfkf in the 70’s….but not recent memory.
      As far as cumulus adding local programming it would be smart on a
      sports talk station. But they’re letting people go. Reducing staff.
      If they added a name to the staff i don’t know if that would make
      a difference.
      So radio dude…the problem in media is that with the huge debt
      loads they need big revenue. It won’t happen unless they invest
      staff/training/money into the station…it will end up like the rock/
      comedy stations.
      Also radio dude…these new ratings are very flawed…don’t give them
      As faras knowing about the media business..as always i say “HARLEY
      KNOWS ALL!”.
      Thanks for the compliment…as i said here earlier (but have been delayed)
      i will eventually be putting out my media analysis for 2013 soon
      Just have so many things happening its hard to get to that …
      if you want to get more advice/info contact me at law4life1000@yahoo.com.

  10. Radio dude says:

    Thanks for the offer Harley….but I certainly do not buy into ” Harley knows all”.
    I also believe it would be a waste of time to check out your website for me or anyone who wants accurate information.
    You are full of yourself with these claims. Sir, you need a reality check.
    I would stil be interested in what qualifications you have ?
    Opinions are like a..holes…everyone has one.

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