Call Letters: KMBZ
City of License: Kansas City, MO
Format: News/Talk "Newsradio 980"
ERP: 5kw/5kw DA-2
KMBC October 1964 newscast|
KMBZ 1999 legal ID
KMBZ debuts on 98.1
1941-1961 - KMBC - Full Service
KMBC's roots start in April 1921 as 9AXJ, an amateur station with limited capabilities. This date would make present-day KMBZ the oldest station in the city. In 1922, the station was licensed as WPE under the ownership of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. The station changed calls to KFIX in 1923, and later, KLDS. The station broadcasted out of the church's headquarters in Independence.
The call letters KMBC were used as early as 1928, as the station shared time with KLDS in 1110 kHz. The station also moved to a hotel at 12th and Wyandotte in downtown Kansas City in 1928. KMBC stood for Midland Broadcast Company. KMBC moved to 950 kHz in 1929, operating as a CBS affiliate and sharing time with WHB for a few years. KMBC didn't move to 980 kHz until 1941. In 1951, KMBC moved into its longtime home on Central Street. KMBC became an ABC affiliate in 1955 under the ownership of the Cook Paint Varnish Co. Metromedia bought the station in 1961.
1961-1967 - KMBC - MOR
Metromedia instituted a middle of the road music format in 1961. Bonneville bought the station in 1967, and split it from the TV station.
1967-1986 - KMBZ - MOR "98 KMBZ" / "Z-98" / "Radio 9-8-0"
The call letters were changed to KMBZ on May 31, 1967. Although sometimes listed as a Top 40 station, KMBZ was much more middle-of-the-road than WHB. Their format continued into the early 1980s with more country artists as "Your Brand of Radio." Rush Limbaugh started doing political commentary for the station in 1983.
1986-1990 - KMBZ - Adult Contemporary
KMBZ took a more Adult Contemporary lean on January 10, 1986, with NBC news.
1990-current - KMBZ - News/Talk/Sports "Newsradio 980"
Much like other AM music stations, news and talk was the way to go. KMBZ was the Royals flagship from 1969-1983, 1986-1991 and 1996 to 2005. KMBZ also carried University of Kansas football and basketball up until September 2006, when KU left for KCSP, and Missouri Tiger sports moved to KMBZ. KMBZ maintains a news staff as well. They mix local talk hosts with syndicated shows. KMBZ ended their afternoon sports talk around 2003, in favor of afternoon news/talk. Entercom bought KMBZ from Bonneville in 1997. In 2010, KMBZ began simulcasting on KUDL-HD3. In 2011, KMBZ's simulcast moved to the full 98.1 frequency.