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!’ ”
“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.