Hearne: Does ‘Save the Buzz’ Mean 610 Sports is FM Bound?

kevinIt’s Kevin Kietzman‘s biggest nightmare…

Forget about Nick Wright or the current on air lineup at 610 Sports, the prevailing wisdom is that if the Entercom signal wants to take down WHB, it needs to move to FM. Period.

“Because that’s where the younger listeners are tuning into,” says one local radio insider. “Younger listeners don’t even think about tuning into AM. I would guess that 610 Sports is trying to appeal to 25 to 34 year-old men, but that is going to be very hard to do on AM.”

For ten long years, 610 Sports has fought a losing battle to overtake Kietzman, Soren Petro, Steven St. John et al. on WHB.

“And WHB’s been beating them because they were the first ones in,” the insider adds. “Because the first one in always wins and WHB was the first to go all sports.”

Which brings us to 96.5 The Buzz stationality Lazlo and his reincarnation last week of 2003’s “Save the Buzz” campaign.

“I can’t believe you guys are going to be gone,” one commenter wrote on The Buzz’s website. “I get my license next week and trust me, I was looking forward to just jamming to the buzz full blast in my car.. But who knows, things could change. Spreading the word & hopefully the ratings will go up!”

“We need another Save the Buzz Rally,” added another commenter. “I won’t ever be listening to the radio very often if the Buzz is gone.”

A little history.

Maas_B-150x150In 2003 Entercom launched 610 Sports after swiping Jason Whitlock, Tim Grunhardt and Bill Maas from WHB.

And low ratings at the time caused The Buzz to worry whether Entercom would move 610’s country music programming on AM to – Smooth Jazz 106.5 or The Buzz. A grassroots campaign lead by Lazlo and other Buzz personalities resulted in Smooth Jazz taking the hit.

That was then.

Some insiders think similar worries may have prompted Lazlo to revive the campaign last week, because Buzz ratings have been lower and 610’s going nowhere fast, despite having a competitive Kansas City Royals baseball team for the first time in decades.

“Is Entercom really considering moving 610 Sports to FM?” the insider asks. “That’s really the question. I think somebody at Entercom may be thinking about putting 610 Sports on FM, but can’t make up their minds where to put it.

save_96_5_the_buzz_campaign_by_strange_1-d61n69j“The staff at The Buzz did the Save the Buzz campaign before, and it was a grassroots campaign and we let them do it because it was a good promotion and it was a good way to judge audience reaction. And it did save The Buzz.

“It may be a bluff this time and it may be a marketing ploy, but it also may be because they’re seriously considering blowing up The Buzz. Let’s say Entercom is serious about putting 610 Sports on FM – they have a huge cume with the Royals and KU basketball – the timing is perfect because of all the interest in the Royals.”

1108FA3803C04353AC00413D5B82BAF0Another possibility: move 610 Sports onto KUDL‘s former signal that’s now the FM home to news-talk station KMBZ.

“If I were (Entercom chieftain) Dave Alpert, I’d spend $15,000 and find out how many KMBZ listeners are on AM and on FM and what would happen if they took it off FM,” the insider says.

After all, KMBZ was already one of the top billing stations in the market prior to simulcasting on FM and The Buzz is doing quite well in the billing department, sources say.

Oh, and one more thing…

“If Entercom does put 610 Sports on FM, they’ve got the Royals, they’ve got KU, they will beat WHB.”

Entercom’s Dave Alpert declined to comment for this column.



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19 Responses to Hearne: Does ‘Save the Buzz’ Mean 610 Sports is FM Bound?

  1. b12 says:

    They will still suck, just on fm. It makes sense to put it on
    98.1 if they do move it to fm.

  2. mr white says:

    Hardly anyone under 30 listens to the radio at all anyway (see attached PEW link) So 610 is hiring younger on-air non-existent talent to appeal to a non-existent group of audience members who have no money to appeal to a group of non-existent advertisers who wish to throw their money down a very real toilet?

    Someone’s stealing your biz model Hearne:)


  3. Mysterious J says:

    This is an interesting radio column…unlike yesterday which was built around an interview with Glazer. See the difference?

    • admin says:

      There is a difference, you’re right.

      But I thought Craig made some interesting points.

    • Ted says:

      Agree, but there’s only so much to talk about in the radio biz. Gotta have filler, even insane filler from Craig.

  4. CG says:

    Yep I know my shit. So does Hearne. Don’t try and out think me my friend. Oh you tried, dammit. Never a dull moment

  5. newbaum turk says:

    If the Buzz wants to save itself then fire the damn program director who has taken any bands with guitars off the station. Personally, I want to hear loud guitars and lots of them. Not ukeleles. Not banjos. I know Mumford & Sons is huge right now and I can’t stand them and all their imitators. It’s like Flogging Molly has been copied but in all the wrong directions. More Mike Ness and less anonymous fat guys in vests with beards playing a goddamn ukelele.

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      Hipster bands love ironic instruments. It was the harmonium for a while, even featured Eternal Sunshine. Then it was the Gong, copying the Flaming Lips.

      I see a pattern. Instruments nobody plays so we can’t tell you suck at it.

  6. Ted says:

    ““If Entercom does put 610 Sports on FM, they’ve got the Royals, they’ve got KU, they will beat WHB.””

    Sure, I’ll listen for the Royals and KU, but you could not pay me to listen to any of the other crap during the day they program. Say what you will about Kietzman, but he’s not a total snoozefest like Jayice Pearson and the other two guys whose names I can’t even remember right now because they’re so bland.

    • mike says:

      Honestly, I think KK is even more boring. He spends about 75% of the time either shilling something, or talking about himself, or his golf game. He is not really that well informed on sports overall. That is escpecially noticable when you contrast his knowledge with Soren Petro’s. I would take the crew on 610 over KK any day, although that really isn’t saying much.

      • Jess says:

        Which makes them other fools even worse. They cannot even beat a KK BBQ segment? Come on!

        Until they want to make this a game and not get throw aways and retreads they are going to be the #2 sports talk, maybe #3 depending on that new FM station.

    • admin says:

      I hear ya, Ted…

      But I’d like to think if and when they get around to making the FM play, 610 will find the talent it takes to get the job done.

      Hey, maybe even bring Nick Wright and DA back.

      Think about it, though.

      Petro was basically a semi-failed anchor on KMBZ. How many times did they pit him against KK only to watch him fail miserably?

      St. John – or Couch Potato as CRaig Glazer calls him – was nothing more than a caller who went by MU Dawg when another caller with zero radio experience named Greg Hall was given a show on WHB (KCTE, actually) and he brought St. John in as a lark.

      When Hall got fired six or so weeks later, St. John inherited the really bad, sign-off-at-sunset late afternoon slot before being paired with Whitlock as his sidekick because Jason had no radio experience or chops.

      The rest is history, right?

      The point being, you never know where one of those diamonds in the rough may appear. Getting 610 on FM though would be huge.

  7. Tony says:

    KCSP is already on FM and on that same 96.5 mHz frequency. It is on their HD2 digital channel.

    • admin says:

      Which next to nobody can get. HD2 is dead.

      Now if they could move it to a translator, which I’ve discussed with Entercom. Easier said than done at this point.

  8. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Moving to FM won’t help. I won’t listen to the talentless dipwads on 610 sports regardless of what band of radio they are broadcast from. Their suck level on AM will translate to an even more clear version of suck on FM. Just now it’ll be in stereo.

    • Kitchen Table Ad Agency says:

      That’s not what I think.

    • admin says:

      Again, I don’t think if and when they make the move to FM – and count on it happening but maybe not right away or any time wildly soon – my bet is they’ll make some talent moves.

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