|City of license||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Broadcast area||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Branding||Kansas City's Station for News, Traffic & Weather, 98.1 FM, KMBZ|
|First air date||April 5, 1922 (as WPE)|
Z (to differentiate from KMBC-TV)
|Former callsigns||WPE (1922-1923)
KMBZ (980 AM; "Newsradio 98.1/980"), is a personality based news and talk radio station broadcasting in the Kansas City, Missouri market from its studios and broadcast tower in suburban Mission, Kansas. The station is simulcast on KMBZ-FM (98.1 FM).
KMBZ is the oldest surviving station in Kansas City, first going on the air on April 5, 1922, with the callsign WPE, and the second oldest radio station in the state of Missouri (behind only St. Louis' WEW).
In its history it has been owned by two rival branches of the Latter Day Saint movement although it has no church affiliation now. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS Church- based in Independence, Missouri) bought the station in 1923 and renamed the station KFIX and later KLDS.
In 1928, Midland Broadcasting bought the station and renamed it KMBC. Cook Paint and Varnish Company bought the Midland holdings in 1954. The AM radio and television station operated out of the Lyric Theatre.
In 1961, Cook sold the radio and television stations to Metromedia, who signed on KMBC-FM (later KMBR and KLTH, now KZPT) the next year. In 1967, Metromedia sold both radio stations to Bonneville International but kept the television station. Bonneville is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons based in Salt Lake City). They changed to KMBZ (with "Z" rhyming with "C"). In the 1970s and early 1980s, the station's nickname was "Z-98".
In 1997, Bonneville sold its entire Kansas City cluster, which by then consisted of KMBZ, KLTH, KCMO (AM) and KCMO-FM, to Entercom Communications. KMBZ consistently ranks as the most listened talk radio station in the Kansas City market.
Rush Limbaugh got his start in political commentary on the station in 1983. He continues to be heard on KMBZ both in his live slot and on an overnight replay, one of only a handful of stations (KTTH in Seattle being another) that airs Limbaugh in the overnight hours.
The station now carries Limbaugh's nationally syndicated show along with those of Glenn Beck, and Adam Bold, as well as local hosts EJ Becker, Ellen Schenk, Jonathan Weir, Dana Wright & Scott Parks and Darla Jaye, and George Noory's Coast to CoastAM, the highest rated overnight radio show.
Though KMBZ was the Kansas City Royals flagship station for some time, their format is currently mostly news and political talk. However, beginning in 2009 the Royals returned to KMBZ, as part of a partnership with KCSP. The station is also the western flagship for the Missouri Tigers radio network, broadcasting football, men's and women's basketball and the "Tiger Talk" coach's show.
In 2009, KMBZ began simulcasting its program on sister station KUDL's HD3 subchannel. On March 24, 2011, Entercom announced that on March 30, KUDL's analog FM broadcasts would become a full time simulcast of KMBZ as KMBZ-FM. .
KMBZ dominated Kansas City radio during the 1970s with a lineup anchored by morning announcer Mike Murphy. One stunt had Murphy run for "Metro Morning Mayor" against then-mayor Charles Wheeler. He was followed during the midday by former Kansas City Chiefs football lineman Curt "Mother" Merz.
Other former hosts include: Jerry Agar, Tom Becka, Walt Bodine, Jack Cashill, Ray Dunaway, Don Fortune, Mary O'Halloran, Noel Heckerson, Soren Petro, Russ Johnson, Julian Riding, Marty Wall.
- KMBZ official website
- KMBZ Frequency History
- History of KMBZ
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KMBZ
- Radio-Locator Information on KMBZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KMBZ