The 98.1 frequency was originally KUDL, which debuted on the AM band, broadcasting from Fairway, Kansas at 1380 kHz (now KCNW). KUDL began broadcasting at 1380 AM in 1953. KUDL was a pop music station that was playing Top 40 music since at least 1956. With frequency modulation growing in popularity, KUDL began simulcasting their AM signal on 98.1 FM in 1965. From 1968 to 1973, the stations had split formats, with progressive rock (dubbed "The Rock of Kansas City") on the FM and Top-40/oldies on AM. In the early '70s, KUDL-FM had a Soul music format and switched back to a progressive rock format until 1975 when KUDL AM began an all news format. The FM station played began playing top 40 music in 1975 and called itself 'Disco 98' in 1976 with a disco format. After attempting Top-40 again during the rise and fall of disco, KUDL's soft rock format debuted in 1977.
Final logo as KUDL
In 1993, Apollo Broadcasting bought KUDL and one-time rival WHB from Shamrock Broadcasting, then sold WHB to a local broadcaster on the same day. In 2002, current owner Entercom dropped the all-jazz KCIY at 106.5. However, KUDL aired a mini version of the Smooth Jazz format on Sunday Mornings. The show aired from 7 AM to 11 AM and is hosted by Taylor Scott. In 2010, the station changed its positioner from "98.1 KUDL" to "Soft Rock 98.1."
On November 1, 2006, KUDL switched over to the all-Christmas format, continuing through Christmas Day, and switched early again in 2009. After switching to Christmas music, the station made its regular "soft rock" format available online and on its HD-2 channel.
On March 23, 2011, sister station KGEX flipped to a more modern-leaning Adult Contemporary format as "99-7 The Point" that contained some overlap with KUDL. One hour later, KUDL announced that they would terminate their 34 year-old adult contemporary format, most likely due to low ratings, despite holding a 3.4 share in the latest Kansas City Arbitron ratings report (February 2011). Another reason for the format change could be a negative connection to the call letters KUDL, which possibly could have turned away younger demographics, which is a common trend among adult contemporary stations today. KUDL began running liners directing listeners to 99.7. Tanna Guthrie will move to afternoons on KGEX, and Roger Carson will move to mornings on country music sister station WDAF-FM, where he will replace one year veteran Blake Powers. The station held a two-hour farewell show on March 28, at 6 AM, before flipping to a simulcast of The Point at 8 AM, which would allow for KUDL listeners to sample the new station for three days. KUDL closed out its heritage format with "Hold On to the Nights" by Richard Marx. On March 30, 2011, at 2 PM, KUDL broke from the KGEX simulcast and became KMBZ-FM, simulcasting sister station KMBZ. In addition, KMBZ-FM replaced its HD2 simulcast of KXTR (a classical music station that then warehoused the KUDL call letters) with one for KCSP; the KXTR/KUDL simulcast moved to KRBZ's HD2 service, replacing all-comedy.