Monday, January 23, 2012

Official says radio station committed to KU men’s basketball games


For a day anyway, Lady Gaga took precedence in Lawrence over Kansas University basketball.

Lawrence-based KLZR 105.9 — the longtime FM radio home of Kansas University men’s basketball — surprised many listeners on Saturday by failing to broadcast the conference basketball tilt between KU and Texas.

The reason? GaGa Girl ordered it.

KLZR dumped the Texas-KU game as part of a promotion tied to the rebranding of its station — which has changed its name from 105.9 The Lazer to 105.9 KISS-FM The promotion involved a character called GaGa Girl breaking into the studio and forcing the station to play a string of Lady Gaga songs, and 105 hours of commercial-free music.

The commercial-free pledge caused the station — which is owned by Cape Girardeau, Mo.-based Great Plains Media — to drop the KU-Texas game.

Officials in the KU Athletic Department, however, didn’t get the memo from GaGa Girl.

“We didn’t know anything about this until the middle of the game on Saturday,” Jim Marchiony with KU Athletics said. “A little advanced communication would have helped us a lot. But we’ll work through it.”

Jay Wachs, general manager for 105.9, said he would take responsibility for the lack of communication. Wachs said the radio station mentioned numerous times that it would be running 105 hours of commercial-free music, but he said the station never did announce to listeners that the ballgame would not be broadcast on Saturday.

Tonight’s ballgame against Texas A&M; — and future men’s basketball games — will be broadcast on 105.9. Wachs said listeners shouldn’t take the recent decision as a sign that the radio station’s new format will de-emphasize KU sports.

“We’re fully committed to KU,” Wachs said.

But when asked why the radio station chose to do its promotion during a time period that included a KU game, Wachs said it was important to run the promotion over a weekend and “because it was just one game.”

The decision ended up having impacts beyond Lawrence. KLZR is the only FM-radio station that broadcasts KU games into the Kansas City and Topeka markets, although several AM stations broadcast the games in those areas.

As for KLZR’s name change, Wachs said the changes mean the station has dropped ’80s and ’90s music from its playlist. It now will focus on playing music from the 2000 to 2012 time period.


madcow 6 years, 3 months ago

I didn't think it was possible for 105.9 to become more of a joke.

I was wrong.

sevenyearhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

I still have my "The New Lazer Sucks Shirt" somewhere from the last format change ...

Kye Clark 6 years, 3 months ago

Cool, I live in Wichita and used to love T-95. Until it changed formats and started playing "everything rock", including the classic stuff from the 70s. In my opinion, it needed to go newer, not older. Then again, that is just my preference. Maybe they're thriving with the change.

I still miss 92.7 the Fly. They played a lot of the slightly more obscure stuff that true rock fans flocked to.

Ryan Shelton 6 years, 3 months ago

My brother and I loved T-95 growing up! We lived out in Western Kansas and in the late eighties and early nineties when we first started to drive, we would head out of the city limits where we could barely get a signal and jam. Those were great days.

wysiwyg69 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't listen to the station for the games but I did notice the difference so far in their music and it sucks.

Daniel Kennamore 6 years, 3 months ago

A. Much ado about nothing.

B. They are dropping the only good music they actually played? Yikes.

Andy Hess 6 years, 3 months ago

Which is why prior to the initial change in format and his subsequent termination, he played the song "Sellout" by Reel Big Fish three times in a row? Please, dude. Save it.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

Love the Andy pic. Can't remember his last name. Quite the bongo player. I would rather listen to that than the infamous lady.

Chuck Wagstaff 6 years, 3 months ago

KISS-FM? How original. There's already 105.9 million KISS-FMs and they all suck.

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 6 years, 3 months ago

isn't this what fate the other kc classic rock station faced? I still miss that station. I think it was 99.7 ky?

Jim Baker 6 years, 3 months ago

KY 102 (even before digital) - actually 101.9 or was it 102.1? Oh well...long time ago!

Beth Bird 6 years, 3 months ago

And I am now officially done listening to them. It sucked bad enough when they rebranded years ago but this was the final nail in the coffin.

Jason Montgomery 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow, The Lazer has come a long way from being the cool indie rock station that got mentioned in Rolling Stone as one of the best stations in the country. Now its a total joke that only gets played in doctors offices and elevators when the Jayhawks are not playing.

Bee Bee 6 years, 3 months ago

Lady Gag Gag = Side show freak that cant sing. KU hoops is the ONLY thing worth listening to on that station.

Spencer Goff 6 years, 3 months ago

Why don't some of these radio stations actually tag their station for what it is?

KRAP-FM or KRUD-FM, take your pick.

I have never heard of a radio station pre-empting any sports broadcast for anything short of a national emergency. Way to be a front runner "Lazer," I'll be sure to save your station to all my dials, why change from Lady Gaga....

Seriously, I think I taste vomit.

Dyrk Dugan 6 years, 3 months ago

i'm sooooo glad 610 am does the games here in the KC area....they boom out, even at night. i don't even have to worry about tuning in "the lazer" er, KIIS FM. :)

RonBurgandy 6 years, 3 months ago

It's really sad what's happened to a once great radio station.

JayCeph 6 years, 3 months ago

I really can't stop laughing at what that station has become... could they be any more irrelevant than they are right now? The radio equivalent of a pager. (face palm)

Jaminrawk 6 years, 3 months ago

But when asked why the radio station chose to do its promotion during a time period that included a KU game, Wachs said it was important to run the promotion over a weekend and “because it was just one game.”

Wow. Out of touch with one of your markets?

Jeremy Eaton 6 years, 3 months ago

I used to love "The Lazer" but ever since the first rebranding I will always call it "The Loser" matter how many times they decide to change.

DocBean 6 years, 3 months ago

In the 90s the Lazer was Great. When they switched over to top 40 I stopped listening to anything they did except for KU games.

Now that I hear they're switching again, and again it's a downgrade? I'll never listen to them again for anything, even KU BBall or FBall.

Thank you 610 Sports Radio, for covering KU, and streaming online.

Robert Howard 6 years, 3 months ago

Within the Lawrence and Kansas City area, why can't we have at least one decent indie rock station? It seems that all of the stations are playing the same lame Lady Ga Ga pop.

Here's an idea KLZR - be different! You're based in a major college town! Play to your audience. Is it really that hard?

Sam Constance 6 years, 3 months ago

96.5 The Buzz actually does a halfway respectable job. Not a lot of indie, but some. They also do a local music show on Sunday nights.

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 6 years, 3 months ago

occasionally the KU radio station will have good stuff. 90.7 Doesn't always reach KC though. Free streaming online.

Steve Hillyer 6 years, 3 months ago

Alice 102.1 I think does a decent job, 90.9 is the best but you can't get it in Lawrence.

BigXIIForever 6 years, 3 months ago

Dang, this station used to be so awesome helping devlop and promote local music talent, bringing great concerts with up and coming talent, and being big KU supporters. Such a fall.....

cojayhawk99 6 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone still listen to the radio for music? I thought that's what Ipods were for.

Sam Constance 6 years, 3 months ago

As I posted during Saturday's game--it's not every day a mentally handicapped person is able to take over the management of a radio station. That's actually quite impressive.

So many ways in which this is terrible management that I'll only list the most laughable.

Most radio stations come up with their name based loosely on the call letters that the station is assigned when it files with the FCC. All stations get the "K" at the beginning, then three subsequent letters.

105.9 was the Lazer because its call letters were KLZR (LZR = lazer) 96.5 is the Buzz because its call letters are KBRZ (BZ = Buzz) 98.9 is The Rock because its call letters are KQRC (RC = Rock)

The clever ones come up with a name that refers to the call letters, but also fits the station niche.

So just up and changing the station name to "Kiss", which doesn't jive with the KLZR call letters and also is the same name as about a million other radio stations is just unbelievable branding. Typically marketing should set you apart, not make your brand more generic.

Add to the fact that they didn't think running a promotion (a stupid one at that) over a period where one of the most universally popular events in Lawrence was ongoing just makes it that much worst. Toss in the fact that the game was in Austin, against Big 12 power rival Texas, and the new management might as well collect a pile of logic, douse it with gasoline and light it on fire.

I'm glad people called out the whole "the Lazer used to be modern rock" thing, because I had honestly almost completely forgotten, and I grew up in Lawrence, listening to the Lazer. It's hilarious when you think about the fact that the Buzz in KC has easily filled a void in the area of modern/indie rock. I never understood moving from a popular, unique format to a popular, cookie-cutter format back when the conversion was originally made. At the time, the Lazer was moving into a genre that was already being filled by 93.3, 95.7, 102.1 (which has since changed) and many others.

yovoy 6 years, 3 months ago

I listened to games on that station in HS. I'd listen at work. I loved hearing Larry Brown lamenting that his team wasn't playing up to par, how they had 9 turnovers, or had missed 6 freethrows. That's when D. Manning was a frosh. A couple of years later I was at the U, going to games and we won a champeenship!

Which is the "first" re-branding/reformatting that you guys are talking about? The one in the mid-nineties wasn't the "first". Hell, we started calling the LAZIER around that time. Granted, they still played better music than anyone in the area (except KJHK), but we really considered it a major sell-out after that one. It was all Bush/Lit/Blink/RHCP alllll the time (no crime on the RHCP though). It really was a great station at one time. I'm glad I haven't listened to it, or any other station in the area for the last 10 years; I feel less guilty than I did, so now I feel NO guilt.

Mike Stewart 6 years, 3 months ago

I was wondering about that. I get ready to watch the game on Saturday, but I can't because WIBW in Topeka was out of commission for the day. Then I turn on the radio to 105.9 and music was playing. It was like I was in the twilight zone.

whats_going_on 6 years, 3 months ago

So THIS is what was going on. I turned on 105.9 on the way home to watch the game, and there was music. Checked on my phone and it said we played at 3...when I got home I went to ESPN on the Xbox to watch and it wasn't there either. I thought I was going crazy (or Yahoo Sports was...)

Good grief...what a bassackwards weekend.

whats_going_on 6 years, 3 months ago

and yeah, there are at least 3 or 4 stations we get here that play pop music. Why we need another one is beyond me. And with a radio DJ called Gaga or some crap? No...effing....way.

96.5 The Buzz FTW! :-)

Scott Smetana 6 years, 3 months ago

Speaking of Radio... I live in Colorado and would love to stream the audio of the BB games to my iPhone. I can't find it on IheartRadio or TuneIn radio. Any suggestions? Thanks!

RonBurgandy 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm not the best at this so I'll probably be wrong, but I'm. It sure you can "legally" stream the game without paying a fee to a site that carries it like yahoo sports or something.

But I'm sure there are ways around that...

RonBurgandy 6 years, 3 months ago

"But I'm not sure" not "but I'm. It sure."

minnhawk84 6 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, except for last weekend, this station has been very dependable on tunein radio. Go to KU athletics and use their list of stations broadcasting the Hawks. You'll find one to use as a backup if there is another gaga weekend stunt.

cowboy 6 years, 3 months ago

Screw Great Plains Media , Might want to play to your audience , while were at it 1320 sucks too , the most liberal town in Kansas and you program all this right wing crapola. Sell the station please

actorman 6 years, 3 months ago

Sadly, power and money know no bounds. Even in San Francisco, the most liberal city in America, 960-AM, which used to be Green 960 and have all progressive programming, is now paying Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck, for crying out loud!) in the mornings and has some other reactionary douchebag on Sunday afternoons.

At least it still has some progressive programming so it's not a total wash, but it just goes to show you that power and money can have influence everywhere, regardless of the area they're in.

Jason Nowak 6 years, 3 months ago

The last time the Lazer played anything good was pre-2003.Stopped listening to it after that because it turned to crap 40. And their child station 92.9 used to be good, until it turned into "bull"crap too.

Why don't you guys give people what they want and not what you think they want. Without listeners, you will just be another 99.7

Steve Reigle 6 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Wachs apparently is not an avid KU sports fan or he'd understand there is no such thing as "just one game." Every game is important to us serious fans.

Alohahawk 6 years, 3 months ago

My guess is that, since the station is owned by a company located in Mizzery, nothing else need be said.

Obviously, we don't receive their signal out here in the islands, so it doesn't effect me. But for those local fans in Kansas, hoping to at least hear the KU games, I can relate.

Brings up a question I had regarding the CBS broadcast of the KU vs Texas game. From the comments I've heard, the regional game (Connecticut vs ?) was broadcast just about everywhere. Was anyone, anywhere, able to watch the KU game? We were stuck with the Conn. game vs who knows who (Since it wasn't the KU game, I didn't tune in so I can't remember who they played.) I do wonder how they can call the Conn game a regional game in Hawaii. What a laugh.

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 3 months ago

DirectTV shows all of the regional games that are being broadcst by CBS. Trick is, you have to first have DTV and go to a channel that most people never scroll far enough to find in order to receive it. I think this game was on Ch. 728 or something like that.

Orangedog87 6 years, 3 months ago

It was on CBS in Denver, Co but there is a reason it is called CBS = Cant Broadcast Sports. So glad that all the March Madness games are shown on different channels not just CBS....

I have DirecTV and the channels 720-729 are ESPN Full Court channels and you have to buy a package to get them. The Ks-Texas games was on channel 728 on Saturday.

Here is a link to the DTV ESPN Full Court Schedule with the DTV channels.

dylans 6 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, I'm in Hawaii right now and they didn't show the game here either. Poor Alohahawk this is just a vacation for me! Once I'm back in Kansas I won't miss another game for at least this season. It's been years since I've missed a game.

BainDread 6 years, 3 months ago

Not quite true. KU vs. UT was on the CBS station in San Diego. Can't beat watching the Hawks while catching a tan!

actorman 6 years, 3 months ago

For once, CBS actually came through for me in the S.F. Bay Area and showed the KU game here. I felt like I was witnessing a miracle.

But I did get brought down to earth a little by Bobby Knight's brilliant comment that KU has "great depth." Is it too much to ask to get someone commenting on the games who actually has a clue what he's talking about???

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 3 months ago

Why not move to Manhattan and become KSUK-FM? Oh yeah, their fans only have AM radios.

Nathan Scholl 6 years, 3 months ago

I remember when Rolling Stone Magazine named 105.9 the LAZER the best radio station in the country!!........then they sold out. I remember turning on the LAZER one day and hearing Britney Spears. I nearly cried. I couldn't believe it. Lady Ga Ga is lame, and whatever prank some "character" pulled doesn't matter when you play bubble gum pop "music" all the time. The fact that they don't respect the tradition and the need for local fans to tune into Kansas Jayhawk basketball games is just another huge mistake on their part. One of the biggest games of the season from a team that is exceeding expectations!! Lady Gaga can go to Missery for all I care. Let the Tigers "fans" have her!

Hurinfan 6 years, 3 months ago

This is one of the worst things I've ever read on this site. I'm not exaggerating. The depths of my loathing for She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named knows no bounds. I am outraged that anyone, let alone a radio station pledging to cast a KU basketball game, would choose to play the abysmal music of that woman.

Nathan Scholl 6 years, 3 months ago

I completely agree with you on that Hurinfan! She is the worst!

Ockhams_Razor 6 years, 3 months ago

"Wachs said the radio station mentioned numerous times that it would be running 105 hours of commercial-free music, but he said the station never did announce to listeners that the ballgame would not be broadcast on Saturday.Arden and Hank would never have let this happen."

What an idiot of a new general manager. I miss Arden and Hank.

Jackalope7 6 years, 3 months ago

Yea, I was watching the game on a 65" LCD flat screen while enjoying the company of some good friends while drinking some Crown Royal Reserve. Life was good on Saturday.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 3 months ago

Sounds more like a blatant move on their part. Piss off thousands of KU fans = free publicity. What better way to get the news out about their new format? After all, it was just one game...

Steve Hillyer 6 years, 3 months ago

So 105.9 continues to be irrelevant and an embarrassment to Lawrence.

TtownHawk 6 years, 3 months ago

These are the same people who own 92.9 which changed from a great rock station to country a couple years back. The country genre is already over saturated in this area, I can't believe another one would be considered good. But hey, the company is based in Missouri, so it makes sense to why they're screwing us.

JayhawkGrad05 6 years, 3 months ago

The station has gone way down hill since the Booths sold it. They must not look at their ratings and see that the only time they get listeners is during games.

jhawkjava 6 years, 3 months ago

No pre-game. You sure about this "commitment"?

jackpot 6 years, 3 months ago

What do you expect, the owners are from Mizzoo.

jhawkjava 6 years, 3 months ago

Muck Fizzou! I'm buying this station. Anyone wanna give me a loan? I have experience in radio!

KUAlum2000 6 years, 3 months ago

Give it 9 months until its so bad you can buy it for pennies on the dollar. You may not even need a loan to get it.

jhawkjava 6 years, 3 months ago

Good point. Their stock is falling faster than Lady Gaga's wardrobe.

Machawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Another gripe I have with KLZR is they do not carry the locker room show after the game. When I listen to KU games in central Kansas, the coverage goes on for a long time after the game. Yet the home station cuts away after a few post game comments and totally ignores the locker room show. Go figure.

BC5 6 years, 3 months ago

I worked in the media for 12 years and everywhere I went, there was always some idiot GM or news director who thought they knew about sports and would pull some stupid stunt like this. One guy decided not to air a NASCAR race in order to show severe weather which was really just heavy rain. I can tell this guy is an idiot when he said it was "just one game." I got out of the TV business because there are some absolute morons running things and getting paid a lot of money to suck at their job.

I can make it simple for this guy... KU basketball wins national titles. Texas is a huge conference game every year. Don't think, just let the engineer tap into the KU feed and air the game. You stay home on the weekend, be stupid, and get paid. Then change your format without a stupid promo that last 105 hours.

BC5 6 years, 3 months ago

oh yeah, we are building a site to watch mizzou football suck. starting with a facebook page.

Alohahawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Sure glad I live Hawaii. Not to be offensive to dogs, because I have a great appreciation for them, but it sounds like that's one local radio station that has gone to the dogs. Or maybe I should say, "Gone to the Lady Gag Gag". To be honest, I always wondered if she (?) was pulling an "Arthur" joke on everyone, and that "she" is really a "he".

The station's music choice should help ipad sales around Lawrence.

Jaina 6 years, 3 months ago

I know someone in the station, and the term "we're giving the listeners what they want" has been said. REALLY?

So there's been beaucoup dollars spent on research and studies, finding the hole in the market? History of the building and company say no a million times. Obviously Lawrence and Topeka listners have rose up en masse and said "We need Wiz Khalifa and Jay-Z, give us more hip-hop!".

Sad state of affais there.

optimist 6 years, 3 months ago

I only listened because of the variety. They had a good mix. I'm out. KISS me good-bye.

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 3 months ago

Wait, didn't they also have a promotion at Thanksgiving where they dropped turkeys from a helicopter? And a couple of their new DJs are named Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap.. Best thing there is their receptionist, a hot blonde bombshell!

dhinkansas 6 years, 3 months ago

KISS FM is a lousy station. We had it here in KC until 99.7 became the point. The same morning crew is on 105.9 that was on 99.7 until the change. It won't last because the format caters to 12 year olds...not really the college demographic Lawrence has to offer. I noticed last night they kept cutting into the Hawk Talk pregame with music, and I wondered why. Now, I know. Anyone else remember when 105.9 was a true college station and cool?

HawkKlaw 6 years, 3 months ago

What a terrible idea for a Lawrence radio station to have. Broadcasting the KU vs. UT game is a no-brainer, especially when the alternate is 105 hours of awful music made by an awful person.

jgkojak 6 years, 3 months ago

I always thought the Chiefs and 101FM had a good deal - the classic rock format ties in perfectly w/the football (even fans who lean toward country music can appreciate classic rock).

Do they really make that much more money being a complete sell-out of a station instead of programming current music for local tastes like they used to do? I remember the Kaw Valley Calendar- they'd have their own Top 40, and there were some big differences in what they played and what was played everywhere else.

If some KU alum with deep pockets wanted to do something worthwhile, they'd buy 105.9 and return it to local control.

Mike Bratisax 6 years, 3 months ago

KLZR was imo a damn good college radio station back in my day 77-82. I doubt anyone remembers back in 81 when the station gave out 5 pairs of tickets to the Stones in KC (Oct?). Every time a Stone song played, you needed to be the 5th caller to register. And when they announced the winners..I won a pair.

NH_JHawk 6 years, 3 months ago

CBS on the East Coast showed the UConn-Tenn. game.'s live stream was the same game. No luck with streaming KLWN/KLZR on Saturday either. Thank goodness for XM satellite radio. I sat in my car in the driveway and listened to the game on XM. Hey what can I say? I was desperate and it was only 1 game.

Radio's Arbitron ratings are all about TSL (time spent listening) and AQH (average quarter hour) ratings for the cumulative listening audience. I would guess that KU Basketball games attract some of the largest cumulative audience for KLZR, the longest TSL, and also the highest AQH rating of any programming that KLZR offers. Nice job by the station's PD for blowing that off. I mean "it's only 1 game" right? dumb....

Bill Shaw 6 years, 3 months ago

Funny, the other radio stations on the Jayhawk radio network were either broadcasting local basketball games, playing music or their internet feeds were not available. The only audio choice was the TV announcers. They were sooo terrible, I had to MUTE them.

Bill Shaw 6 years, 3 months ago

105.9 music sounds like a video game with a drum beat in the background.

topeka13 6 years, 2 months ago

I've tried listening to this station for the last few weeks at work. I don't like this new format at all!! The Top 40 is too Top 40. It's like this borderline rap stuff. It is very disappointing. Previously you played a good mix. Now, I will be switching to different stations. I believe you will be losing a lot of listeners. To remedy this, please bring back the previous format!!!

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