Hearne: The Ongoing Ratings Decline of News Talk Station KMBZ

 danaandParks_600x200-1Times are tough at Kansas City’s longtime news-talk leader KMBZ

The station sank to a 3.4 share of listeners, down from a 4.5 share as recently as last February. That’s nearly a 25 percent drop.

‘What jumped out of these ratings at me was what a waste of an FM signal KMBZ is,” says a local radio insider. “That thing is tanking, KMBZ is a disaster. They were doing these kind of numbers with KUDL FM alone and with KMBZ alone on AM. So basically by combining the two they’ve taken one-plus-one and instead of getting two, gotten one.

“They basically blew up an FM signal for nothing. I mean, The Point is doing well, because taking out KUDL eliminated a would-be competitor.”

The flip side of KMBZ’s decline: It’s still the second best billing station in the market…

At least among local – if not national – advertisers.

“I think their profit margin may have actually decreased, because they have to pay Nielsen $200,000 a year for each signal,” says the source. “They saved on staffing and air talent by blowing up KUDL and from a revenue standpoint they’re may doing fine. But KUDL used to bill $5 million to $7 million a year and KMBZ did as much as $11 million to $12 million a year when they had the Royals. They’re probably only doing $5 million to $6 million now given the economy and market conditions.”

There’s no easy fix, says the source.

“Because now if you take the FM signal away from KMBZ its advertisers will probably want them to cut the price in half because they’d be taking away half the station. I think Entercom cooked its own goose. But if I could, I’d take 610 Sports and put it on FM. However I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that with the air talent they have now. I’d go out and find some better air talent first. But Entercom’s got to be scratching their heads and saying, ‘We’ve got a 3.4 share on two signals. That’s horrible!’ ”

This could be the first time ever 610 Sports has beaten KMBZ.

“Let’s put this in perspective. You have an AM signal at 610 and a 250 watt translator on FM that has more cume than a full AM signal and a full, 100,000 watt FM signal on KMBZ And I’ll bet a dime to a dollar that the 25-54 ratings on the sports station has a far larger listenership than KMBZ because news talk doesn’t appeal to 25-54 and sports does. The sweet spot for a news talk station is 45-70.”

610 Sports has a 15 percent larger cume with 237,300 listeners sampling the station versus 192,400 for KMBZ. However, sources say that’s because 610 has the Kansas City Royals which always deliver a big cume.

All of that said, “Somebody at Entercom’s got to be looking at this and wondering what they should do,” says the insider.

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11 Responses to Hearne: The Ongoing Ratings Decline of News Talk Station KMBZ

  1. SteelyDanMan says:

    Because Parks is a tool? Due to the dismal ratings, I guess I am not the only one who thinks that.

  2. Late Breaking says:

    Why don’t you just quote Zeroweste instead of calling it an insider?

    The person clearly understands radio from the inside, so it has to be Bob, Speed Marriot or someone at a competitor, which you wouldnt use anyway, because it would be stilted.

    so why not name the source? Seems odd

    • admin says:

      What, and deny you the pleasure of playing your guessing game?

    • radio dude says:

      Zuroweste would want his name associated with the comments. His huge ego could not stand not getting his name mentioned.
      His huge overblown ego loves tio see himself quoted

  3. Mysterious J says:

    Bob Z. is the living definition of a stuffed shirt, but he is certainly correct about 610 Sports. Their on air “talent” is uniformly HORRENDOUS.

  4. John Altevogt says:

    I don’t know who the moron was that decided to spit in the face of KMBZ’s conservative audience, but i would certainly suggest that it was a mistake. If the goal was to kill off conservative radio in KC they’ve done a fairly good job of that, but unfortunately haven’t come up with anything to replace it.

    Anyone with a brain would put synergistic local shows on either side of Limbaugh to capitalize on his popularity. Instead, I haven’t a clue what they have on before him, and the show afterwards is offensive to much of his listening audience.

    Wright has the correct idea that you don’t want yet three more hours of the same issues, but they could have come up with an intelligent discussion of local issues instead of the crude, whoopee cushion drivel that currently seems to be management’s choice for programming.

    I have to admit though that I don’t have any current knowledge of what the station does since after Parks doubled down on his attempt to make sexual harrassment in the workplace humorous I removed the station from my car radio’s presets and haven’t listened since. Even NPR is preferable to the crap they broadcast.

  5. Jack Springer says:

    Less and less people want to listen to the RINO and his sidekick . . . the JoCoB (itch).

  6. the dude says:

    What is this radio thing? Is this some thing old people like Glazer listens to?

  7. Orphan of the Road says:

    KMBZ is completely unlistenable. A news station with no news. Disco news?

    Of course the train wrecks which are sports radio here can be highly entertaining. Though not in the manner the hosts think they are.

  8. I never listen to KMBZ’s 2:00 p.m. show since they added the highly annoying soccer mom broad. (Then again, I’m a guy who much prefers the lower-rated Greg Knapp (sp.) on 710 to his pompous jerkwad (and higher-rated) predecessor Stigall, so what the hell do I know?)

    But I do think the 2:00 p.m. show’s decline on KMBZ may have less to do with the addition of old TV lady than it does with it becoming just another “controversy or story or topic of the day” shows like all the other KMBZ local programming. Boring. Used to be, as I recall when the old fart was on there, that he and Parks would actually discuss a wide swath of the day’s political issues, and it was somewhat entertaining. But those days are gone. And so have gone the ratings.

  9. the Real Ratings says:

    KMBZ’s Local shows are all top 10 in the 25-54 demos, with most in the top 5, men 25-54. Dana and Parks is their top program. I don’t think entercom is all that worried with the money they are making on the station. 12+ ratings, M-S 6a-12mid (which is all this article is based on), are absolutely no indication of how a station is really doing.

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