KMOX has lost Cards
August 4, 2005
The Cardinals' 52-year run with KMOX as the team's flagship radio station will
end after this season, with the broadcasts moving to KTRS, a KTRS board member
said Wednesday night.
Cardinals President Mark Lamping could not be reached for comment. KTRS general
manager Tim Dorsey said, "we have no done deal. ... Not yet, but I think we're
getting them close to making a decision but I don't know which way they're
going to go."
But the board member, who did not want to be identified, said the move to KTRS
(550 AM) will be announced as soon as today. The team, or club chairman Bill
DeWitt Jr., is expected to purchase about a 50 percent interest in the station.
Les Hollander, Infinity Broadcasting senior vice president and regional
manager, is the person handling the negotiations for KMOX (1120 AM). Hollander,
who is based in New York, said he hasn't had talks with Cardinals officials for
about two weeks.
"I know there's going to be a press conference (today), so it wouldn't surprise
me if they announced they were going to KTRS," he said.
Cardinals director of public relations Brian Bartow, who arranges news
conferences, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, several KMOX sources said a staff meeting, with attendance
mandatory, has been called at that station for this morning.
And a KTRS broadcaster said personnel there "were told if we got calls not to
say anything. I think what they want to do is have the Cardinals announce
everything. ... I was told it's going to be a fun day (today) at the Big 550."
Another KTRS broadcaster said: "We are officially under a gag order. Any time
(today), anyone on the air, our official response is we don't know anything.
We're just hearing what's in the newspaper or on TV."
The Cardinals have been on KMOX since 1954, after being aired for the previous
three seasons on WIL. But club officials have been unhappy with the
revenue-sharing plan KMOX owner Infinity has been trying to put in place. The
team is being paid $6.7 million this year in rights fees, but Infinity wants to
drop that to about $4.7 million. The parties then would split earnings beyond
Lamping said in an interview last month that the team disliked that formula
because KMOX would receive the bulk of the money at first, and the Cards
wouldn't get the bigger percentage until a significant amount of revenue had
been generated. He contended that could reduce the incentive for the station to
sell ads when it's not benefiting the most.
"That has been a real problem in the structure of any type of revenue sharing,"
He added, "It's just a question of how far our rights fees are going to go
down, not if they're going to go down. . .. The key here is the
KMOX officials said the Cardinals could expect to receive more money next year
than this year under the plan. But the Cardinals have been insistent on a
"Our premise all along to KMOX has been we do not agree that if we're
successful on the field and they're successful in their sales efforts, that the
Cardinals radio rights should be worth less in 2006 than in 2005," Lamping has
The Cardinals would use KTRS as a marketing tool, probably moving the studio
from West Port Plaza to new Busch Stadium or the Ballpark Village that is
scheduled to be constructed nearby. They could gear much of the station's
programming around the team.
They could gear much of the station's programming around the team, and one KTRS
broadcaster has said the call letters might be referred to on the air as
representing "The Redbirds Station."
Lamping previously said that broadcasters Mike Shannon and Wayne Hagin, who
work for the club, will remain in place no matter where the broadcasts are
Meanwhile, KMOX's strong nighttime signal - which covers most of the United
States east of the Rockies and parts of Canada - has been credited with helping
the team gain much of its popularity. KTRS' signal at night, when most of the
games are played, has much less reach. It doesn't even cover the entire St.
Louis metropolitan area, meaning the Cardinals would have to line up affiliates
to cover towns as close to Busch Stadium as Collinsville and Edwardsville.
"KMOX's positive is they've got a strong signal," Lamping said last month. "If
it just came down to signal (strength), this would have been decided a long
time ago. On the other hand, if it just came down to financials it also would
have been decided a long time ago and we would have gone to KTRS. There's no
question financially the best way for the Cardinals to go is KTRS."