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?
“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.