KMBZ (980 kHz; "Talk 980"), is a commercial AM talk radio station licensed to Kansas City, Missouri. KMBZ is owned by Entercom Communications and its studios and transmitter tower are in suburban Mission, Kansas. Most of KMBZ's schedule is made up of nationally syndicated talk shows including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Meghan McCain, Herman Cain, Laura Ingraham and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Its sister station, 98.1 KMBZ-FM, airs mostly local talk shows.
KMBZ operates at 5,000 watts around the clock. It has been granted an FCC construction permit to move to a different transmitter site and increase day power to 9,000 watts. Its signal covers the Kansas City metropolitan area, including sections of Missouri and Kansas.
KMBZ is the oldest surviving station in Kansas City, first going on the air on April 5, 1922, with the Call sign 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 (with the LDS standing for "Latter Day Saints").
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".
Rush Limbaugh got his start in political commentary on the station in 1983. He continues to be heard on KMBZ in his live 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. time slot and for many years also had an overnight replay heard on the station.
KMBZ was the Kansas City Royals flagship station for some time. In 2008, Royals games switched to co-owned Sports radio station 610 KCSP. Beginning in 2009, the Royals returned to KMBZ, as part of a partnership with KCSP. KMBZ 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 programming 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. On December 24, 2014, Entercom announced that the KMBZ simulcast would split on January 5, 2015. On that date, KMBZ-AM flipped to "Talk 980", carrying a mostly network line up of shows.