Hearne: The Failed Experiment of Blowing Up KUDL & Simulcasting KMBZ on FM

UnknownIt hasn’t been pretty…

Not since in 2011 when News Radio KMBZ broadened its horizons from broadcasting exclusively at 980 AM to simulcasting on 98.1 FM, the longtime home of former adult contemporary station KUDL.

“It’s obvious that putting KMBZ on FM was a waste of a signal,” says a radio insider who asked not to be named. “KMBZ was doing a 3.7 share on AM before and now they’re doing a 3.7 share on two signals.

“And it’s pretty obvious that in the prime radio demo of 25-54 would rank even lower because news-talk generally appeals more to 45-plus listeners.”

KMBZ ranked 12th with a 3.7 share of listeners 12 and older in the most recent ratings.

“Basically, putting KMBZ on FM did nothing to drive ratings at this point,” the source continues. “They’re about the same as they were on AM only.”

Another point to consider:

“Before the simulcast, KUDL was doing to 3.5 share on 98.1 FM, so together the two stations were doing a 7 share combined. And now, what used to be a 7 share has been reduced to a 3.5 to 4 share.”

What about revenue?

While it’s clear there were savings in terms of overhead by blowing up KUDL, surely the bottom line of two stations with higher ratings was worth something?


danaandParks_600x200“Well,Entercom had let KUDL go in the dumper, so it wasn’t doing that well at the end,” the source says. “And KMBZ has always been a top billing station. They have a good sales team and they’ve probably been able to translate their lower ratings into revenue. But how long can they keep that up?”

Think of it as the new radio math:

“Normally one plus one is two, but here one plus one equals one,” says the source.

As for the road ahead, “I’d put 610 Sports on FM instead and kick WHB’s ass. Because sports radio does really well on FM and KMBZ hasn’t. I’ll bet KMBZ is ranked 17th or 18th as far as cume. The question is, how long will KMBZ stick it out? I think KMBZ on FM was on a trial basis.

“And 610 Sports appeals to the primary demographic of men 25-54, which is a whole lot more desirable of a demographic than 45-plus. Kansas City has a passion for sports and more younger people listen to FM radio, whereas older listeners still listen to AM.”

Uh, stay tuned.

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28 Responses to Hearne: The Failed Experiment of Blowing Up KUDL & Simulcasting KMBZ on FM

  1. hot harley says:

    too many old white guys listening to kmbz…they don’t care if its
    am or fm.
    rush is about to go down…he’s losign listeners fast…and they’re
    dying off… so for kmbz maye try sports on fm…wona’t
    matter …whb is strong.
    rush had his day…demos are changing and Flomax old guys
    don’t spend any money and they are dying off faster than
    the ice sheet is melting.
    good luck…..

    • Lois Lerner says:

      “rush is about to go down…he’s losign listeners fast…and they’re
      dying off…”

      Harley, I used to hang on every word you wrote, cause we are so much alike and in my mind we are close friends. But, I just can’t believe you anymore. You said I would be off of the hook by July in 2013. I thought all those E Mails would NEVER be seen and as they say, this “chase is hotly followed”. Well, You wouldn’t say that, you would say –

      i F thos rebuplicans cud ju
      st stop…. and do som little research th ey
      …wud no that u r fine Lois…. your
      frind hArley

      I am going to give Eric Holder a call, our greatest Attorney General and make sure he is doing zilch, nada, zero on the IRS scandal, because, you know, that is what a country filled with people just like you Harley, would want.

      Grammer Harley, in most “J” Schools, it actually counts for something. It is the difference between someone who “Knows their sh*t” and someone who “Knows they’re sh*t.”

      • admin says:

        Go, Lois!

        • hot harley says:

          problem hearne is that you go to nobodies who
          know nothing about everything.
          You’re outdated/old/writing obvious stuff…
          but you don’t really understandwhat you’re
          talking about.
          probably they took it to fm is becase they wanted
          to keep another co. from going to fm…which
          cumulus did anyway.
          so far all these investigations that wislon has
          been screaming about have produced nothing..
          just like him…nothing!!!!!
          sorry gang…yes I should be more correct in
          spelling and grammar…
          but I always get it right…maybe its a little
          hard to read but unlike glaze and wislon I have
          nooneediting my copy.
          again…prove me wrong idiots..you can’t
          so you find fault with my spelling.

          • admin says:


            Cumulus is mailing it in on KCMO AM.

            Clearly KMBZ thought they’d pick up more and younger listeners – and they may have – but it’s all but impossible to gauge that based up the station’s meager ratings results.

            And check out KCMO AM, that’s about as dead of a doornail as imaginable.Think back to the days when that station actually mattered – the calibre of air talent (mostly local) that made that station a force and a viable alternative to KMBZ and KCUR.

            If it wasn’t for all those paid hours they sell, who knows how bad off the station would be?

            It’s almost as if they’re not even trying. Seriously, how hard would it be to match up with some of the loser shows on KMBZ? Harder than I’m implying obviously but it’s hard to ferret out evidence that they’re even trying…in the slightest.

            Sad situation, but that’s corporate America with distant out of town ownership and management.

          • hot harley says:


            now pay attention…
            guys like rush and Hannity are losing popularity.
            Their audience is dying off and after the
            rush calling the girl names the progressive
            movement went after all his advertisers and
            his decimated his revenues.
            Plus…with rush taking such ridiculous
            moments speaking like a complete idiot
            and screaming about inane things …and
            being forver negative..his audience is turning
            him off and eseentially dying.
            KCMO AM…that’s a loser too. But the crown
            there for revenue is Dave Ramsey. Why they’ve
            never made a play for bigger names…or
            changed or updated that tired format is
            hard to understand but I would guess that
            station is making money and lew is all about
            making money. No staff…programming coming
            in …maybesome for barter….no overhead …
            and they can make money just being a
            news talk station…..I’m sure if someone
            agrressive owned it they could get it
            fine tunedand improve it.
            And yes bz and kcmo sell those one hour
            shows on weekends…getting about a grand
            or more for thetime…times 12,000 bucks
            every Saturday and sunday…and they’ve got
            it made….with one person running the show.
            newstalk is fading…people are more active
            in their autos now…texting/talking/reading/
            etc. while they drive (sad)…
            and with all the new electronics in the newer
            vehicles can do all kinds of other things.
            we’re seeing the end of old white guys..
            they have had their chance….the world is
            changing and regardless of the hate chuckles
            spews its not going to stop.
            people are tired of rush/Hannity and the rest
            of the pit bull broadcasters…old news…
            maybe when the 2014/2016 elections come up
            they’ll get more listeners but right now its
            just obamacare exceeding everyone’s
            expectations…a quiet no war period…the
            repubs trying to declare Hilary is disabled…
            Benghazi is an issue….and for wislon no one
            is talking about the irs except for the old
            wasted on the government dole old people
            who don’t buy products like the 25-49
            year olds.
            the station owners know their economics..they
            make money and they pay down billions in
            debt…but yes…radio today is quite boring…..
            and getting worse.

          • admin says:

            I do hope you’re not harboring some fantasy about me being a Rush or Hannity fan, H

        • hot harley says:

          why do you always turn to losers and get behind them.
          you hope I don’t get everything right…but I do.
          name something I was wrong about and I’ll give
          you a $5 certificate to roger the plumber (that will
          get him to turn a faucet on).
          lois….come on…that story is as old as glaze’s
          girlfriend…..comoe on hearne…get with the
          winner in 2014!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. rkcal says:

    610 isn’t going to kick anybody’s ass until they get talent that is listenable-doesn’t matter what band they’re on. WHB has been teeing it up for them for years with endless droning on about their golf games, informercial segments (“Smoke & Fire”, etc.), and extremely formulaic programming, yet 610 keeps swinging and missing.

    • admin says:

      You know rkcal, I agree with you…

      Smartman isn’t here anymore to diss Nick Wright, but 610 needed to keep him and at the end he had narrowly slipped past KK in the ratings.

      I don’t really listen to sports radio much anymore, but WHB has a name brand lineup and there’s next to zero buzz on the 610 guys.

      I think if Entercom wakes up and comes to its sense and takes the FM signal away from KMBZ, they would need to do something spectacular like hire Nick back and DA (remember him?)

      But again, content is king and 610 needs a one-two punch!

    • radio dude says:

      I have to agree that 610 is not going to kick any ones ass with their talent pool.
      Content will always win and WHB’s content is far superior to KCSP’s.

      Don’t think Entercom is going to give up the 980/98.1 simulcast. Their advertisers have come to expect to receive both signals and would probably drop like flies if they moved 98.1 to any other format.

      If 610 was going to make a switch like that (98.1 simulcast) they would/should have done it at the start of the Royals season as KCSP benefits big time with that cume infusion that comes every Spring.

  3. Jack Springer says:

    KC does not need more gossipy sport’s radio or hip hop or country radio. KC sport’s radio is like listening to a bunch of old ladies talking while they’re quilting.

    KMBZ has not been promoting Limbaugh. They treat the program as something they ‘have’ to broadcast.

    Where’s the comparison of KMBZ and KCMO radio? How do their ratings compare.

    • John Altevogt says:

      Rush was KMBZ’s cash cow. He is the only program anyone cares about anymore and when they alienated their conservative listeners with their new “non-political” format they switched and started listening to his show out of St. Joe.

      What they need to do is crap can both Dana and Parks, promote Darla J and get a decent conservative host in the afternoon drive time slot.

      • hot harley says:

        Darla has the brains of a dog. I would debate this
        know nothing conservative and beat her badly.
        where do they get these people from…city union
        Noneof them have anybackground on important

    • admin says:

      Dear Jack:

      Putting 610 on FM wouldn’t be adding MORE sports radio, it would be the same. Except that they would reach younger listeners on FM that just don’t do AM radio.

      As for KMBZ vs KCMO AM, no contest.

      If you look at my ratings story you’ll see that KMBZ has a 3.7 share with a cume of 213,200 listeners to KCMO’s 1.4 share and cume of 76,200.

      KCMO’s been mailing it in ever since Chris Stigal left in 2010 for Philadelphia

      • hot harley says:

        kmbz has the white dying conservative medicare moocher
        as its primary audience.
        That doesn’t sell product for advertisers.
        Rushs advertisers are down what 70% nationally and
        falling faster.
        the progressives have broken rush like a twig.
        he still gets his jillion dollars but eventually cumulus
        will take him away from kmbz because rush is on
        dozens of cumulus stations nationwide and eventually
        when that happens kmbz will be exactly what they
        already are…a bunch of foolish know nothing on
        air fools who can’t even make up their own minds.

        • radio dude says:

          OK Harley fans..he asks to be proven wrong. Read this quote by Harley…who knows all.
          “still gets his jillion dollars but eventually cumulus
          will take him away from kmbz because rush is on
          dozens of cumulus stations nationwide and eventually
          when that happens kmbz will be exactly what they
          already are…a bunch of foolish know nothing on
          air fools who can’t even make up their own minds.

          KMBZ is owned by Entercom Harley..not Cumulus. Harley is an idiot who say he knows all…well, he doesn’t even know what company in KC owns KMBZ.

  4. Frank says:

    rush is a loss leader, he doesn’t generate any ad $ but he’s valuable propagandist

  5. Terri says:

    my only time listening to KMBZ is in the AM because I like to hear all the news first thing in the AM and like their correspondents from Washington. If you have a drive to work, it is also good to know exactly when you can get a traffic report and they cover all parts of the city. Limbaugh is a waste of airtime and waste of a human being.

    I thought the change to FM was not needed, until my clock radio quit. When I went to buy one, I could not find a top of the line with all the features I wanted that also had AM, they only had FM, so now I am grateful they made the change. Maybe they were anticipating a need. Just a thought.

    • admin says:

      Interesting take, Terri…

      Apparently Nielsen doesn’t provide a breakdown between KMBZ AM and FM, so Entercom may not really know exactly how many listens are on either signal.

      You might have to switch to KCUR if they go sports!

  6. peculiarguy says:

    John A. has it right. When KMBZ went with their new lah lah liberal general manager they dropped the ball and alienated their conservative listeners. If they don’t keep Rush, you can write them off totally! That’s the only thing keeping them on the rails. Most of the TEAS have gone to other stations or the internet for their other radio listening.

    • gene says:

      KMBZ hs had the same general manager for at least half a dozen years now. Only thing he’s changed during his current stint was getting married to one of his sales reps. Guess that makes him liberal in perculiarguys way of thinking

      • mike t. says:

        peculiarguy was probably referring to the ‘new’ program director, not general mgr.

        • gene says:

          If peculiarguy can’t tell the difference between a gm and a pd then why should he be making such dumbass comments?

          • admin says:

            Well, in fairness gene, it was probably a slip.

            The program director, not the GM, is the one making the programming calls on KMBZ

    • hot harley says:

      the “TEAS”….they’re dying off like rush.
      they got their ass kicked by establishment republicans and essentially
      are a non player in the country.
      bye bye to the tea party…another phony made up scam by some
      big money business people that they thought could take over the
      repub party.
      good luck repubs…2014 may be the last hurrah….but Harley will be
      starting to analyze the races as we get closer to july and September.
      but 2016…2020…2024….bye bye repubs….you’ll only be
      a regional party in the south and few states in the midewest (ks/mo.)
      and once texas goes blue the repubs become the whigs of history.
      teav party…nice try….your hate and racial vile language had people waking
      up to what you really were….a big phony scam played on some really good
      people whofell for the tea party lies and b.s.
      stay tuned…Harley is getting revved up for more correct predictions
      on the national and local economy and politics. Andas always…Harley
      will be right on target.
      also hearne…new news in the jewelry criminal caper…watch for
      Harleys exclusive report coming soon.

  7. Lassie says:

    hot harley says:

    May 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Darla has the brains of a dog. I would debate this
    know nothing conservative and beat her badly.
    where do they get these people from…city union
    Noneof them have anybackground on important

    If Harley were my owner, Timmy drowns in the well every week.

  8. Toto says:

    I remember Harley, he is the one singing, “If I only had a brain.”

    I don’t like him.

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