I have trouble calling KMBZ 980 a “business.” Businesses want to make money, and I’m not sure KMBZ wants to.
John Landsberg at Bottom Line Communications reports that KMBZ 980 AM’s Program Director Neil Larrimore was let go.
KMBZ 980 has Rush Limbaugh on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is not worth listening to after that. I can’t comment on the morning programming, because I typically listen to music on my way to work and get my news coverage from reading articles on the Internet.
Landsberg writes: “In the most recent Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings overall KMBZ was ninth in the market and reportedly its morning news ratings have been less than stellar.”
KMBZ is owned by Entercom.
I don’t know anything about Neil Larrimore, and I suspect a lot of KMBZ’s problems aren’t his fault. The feeling one gets from the radio station is that management is, in part, deathly afraid of criticizing the performance of the 1970s-era Kansas City establishment that has lost control of most elements of government except local government, where members continue to raise taxes, create an artificially weak local economy, run really bad public schools, and give awards to one another; and, in part, KMBZ leaders are clearly part of this local establishment.
Just from the business side of things, I don’t think KMBZ’s management understands the enormous financial opportunity cost of its nothingness news product. Its target audience on both the Missouri and Kansas sides is conservative. Not moderate or liberal; conservative. And many of those listeners (whether current or potential listeners) are quite successful economically.
The county in which I live — Johnson County, Kansas — is one of the most wealthy areas in the world, highly educated, and very fiscally conservative. The population of this one county is the size of a small US state. I’ll estimate that 65% of Johnson Countians are fairly fiscally conservative — I get that number from two elections:
1) In the overwhelmingly pro-Democratic year of 2006, when left-wing Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius won re-election (and 62% of the Johnson County vote), voters rejected by 64% the “soccer bond vote” that would build youth soccer stadiums. As I recall, proponents spent somewhere around $500,000 (largely from the development company selling the land), and I’m guessing the opponents spent under $50,000. Of course, the Overland Park City Council later raised the hotel tax and built the soccer stadiums, anyway.
2) In 2010, Congressman Kevin Yoder won 65% of Johnson County vote.
I’m not aware of a large listenership demand for liberal news programming, and I don’t even know what “moderate news programming” means. Most people fit into two camps, as far as I can see: you either want more of this government thing, or you want less. And with an overwhelming majority of Johnson County listeners being suspicious of Big Government while believing in the free market, in family, in church, and in charity, I have trouble even calling KMBZ a “business.”
Businesses want to make money, and I’m not sure KMBZ wants to.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).