OTC: Nick Wright Calls Kietzman A Shill & A Whore / Will It Matter?

“I’ve got a 15-year track record here. I don’t answer to anybody. … I don’t want to be beholding to anyone ever! I am my own man. I am unique. If you want to believe somebody else, knock yourself out. I stand by everything I say.”
Kevin Kietzman, to a caller who asked him to respond to some accusations made by 610’s Nick Wright, 810 AM
GH: Wright believes Kietzman has compromised his objectivity when it comes to discussing the Chiefs because of the business partnership 810 entered into last year with the hometown team. This is not a revelation to anyone who reads my OTC regularly. Wright though, has ratcheted up the accusatory tone to DefCon 4 levels. Read on.

“It’s one thing to become a shill. It’s another thing to become a whore that rails against his listening audience He’s got to sleep on that, not me.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Wright has publicly stated that Kietzman’s afternoon-drive show is kicking his show’s ass. Just when it looked like Wright was about to take his butt kicking and fade off into the sunset like so many other failed Kietzman hunters, it appears Wright is leveling one last blast at KK in an attempt to survive. Read on.

“Kevin Kietzman is a Kansas City sports radio icon. He’s talking about the Chiefs’ employee pay cuts. I was shocked because if I know anything about Kevin recently, the man cares about his bottom line more than anything. The Chiefs are a business partner (of 810) and the only way to talk about these pay cuts is to lay out the facts.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Wright is firmly entrenched in the player’s camp on this NFL lockout. Kietzman is just as dug in on the owner’s side. Wright believes KK’s stance is solely fueled by his radio station’s partnership with the Chiefs. I have a feeling Wright’s indignation is more of an act to draw a reaction from KK than any moral stance.

“That’s shameful, man. As a Kansas City kid who always wanted to do sports talk radio (listening to Kietzman). And it wasn’t because he had the biggest signal – which has always been a lie. That’s never been true in fact but it was true in spirit for awhile. Certainly you could say America’s most important all-sports radio station at one time.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Wright is attempting to appeal to those KK listeners like FakeNedYost who once loved Between The Lines but now believe it has lost its way with too many infomercials and non-sports talk. It is not a bad move to go after this growing and restless audience.

“Let’s not forget how ruffled and how upset Lamar Hunt and Carl Peterson were with me and at times Clark Hunt. I’m sorry, my track record with the Chiefs stands. I don’t care what anybody says.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This argument by Kietzman doesn’t hold much smoke or fire. We know he hated the old Chiefs regime. He told us how King Carl tried to get him fired. It is his attitude toward the Chiefs since 810 became their broadcast partner that is in question.

“And now the head of that station, one of the part owners, the big afternoon dog, has gone so cooperate that when impartial national media call Clark Hunt overly greedy and selfish, you get on the radio and call him compassionate and draw a correlation between the Chiefs cutting pay and GM collapsing – because according to you they were overpaying their employees. That’s sad, man.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: I think Wright is all wrong when it comes to his stance that the Chiefs are being cheap and greedy by cutting payroll. What American business isn’t or hasn’t the past three years? His argument toward KK’s objectivity loses me here.

“In my opinion (the Chiefs) let some people go that they were going to get rid of anyway. If you want to say it was dead weight…”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Knowing that Union Broadcasting has also had to slice their payroll in the past year, you have to wonder how those 810 employees who were let go feel about KK’s comments. Were they told they were dead weight when they got their pat on the back and a pink slip?

“I can proudly say that in 15 years we have never ever, ever, once had a meeting with anyone that is on the air and said, ‘This is what we need you to say.’ Never, ever, ever. … You cannot do (sports talk radio) that way.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I had a short stink on the air with Union Broadcasting and I’ll agree with Kietzman that the talent is not told what to say or what not to say – unless it has to do with Bill Grigsby.

“I did work for that other (radio station) and I did have a meeting or two at that company where they did say that. I can say that honestly.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Danny hasn’t worked for Entercom for more than a decade. I doubt if even the night-time cleaning crew even has any of the same people roaming those walls as when he, Petro, Kurtis and Bukaty were at KMBZ.

“The most common thing I get (from listeners) is from K-State fans who ask, ‘How come you can’t be more of a homer?’”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I would think the most common thing KK hears from his listeners is, “That Cookie Diet is the shit!…uh, I mean gave me the SHITS!”

“You folks know! You listen every day! … Danny is basically sitting here saying a lot of the opposite things I’m saying!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: The more Kietz defended himself against Wright’s accusations, the more fascicle his comments became. Danny opposes a KK opinion about as often as Jim Colbert makes sense.

“KK does not even follow any of his followers/interact with his listeners. Why do people continue to mention someone who does not care about you? If you continue to bitch about KK and still follow him or listen, then you are just inflicting pain on yourself. You need to quit him.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Wright, Fescoe and Danny Parkins, the three primary voices of 610 Sports, all met at the 810 Zone recently and parked the company van right out front. 610 would love to start a radio war with 810. They have even invaded enemy territory and tweeted about it. Will it matter? Probably not.

“It is now 10:15 AM and I have heard that Petro is a fatty and his wife wants him to get ‘dress shorts,’ they have a Brogden GMC out front and they will have Oklahoma Joes BBQ.  No sports.  The hour is ¼ over and no sports.”
OTC Reader Anthony, Email

“I saw Hangover II today. The only thing more mailed in than that monstrosity is the afternoon show on 810.”
Danny Parkins, mid-morning host on 610 Sports
GH: What does it say about the quality of the shows on 610 Sports if Kietzman’s mailed-in show – and it is definitely on cruise much of the afternoon – continues to dominate in the ratings? Plenty.

“I will start the day today with NASCAR…”
Kevin Kietzman, opening his Thursday show, 810 AM
GH: Click.

“Jim Colbert is joining us now!”
Kevin Kietzman, opening the three o’clock hour of his Thursday show, 810 AM
GH: Click.

“You’ll just have to judge my record.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Click.

and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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36 Responses to OTC: Nick Wright Calls Kietzman A Shill & A Whore / Will It Matter?

  1. Hammy says:

    I miss the Fabulous Sports Babe…

  2. Ptolemy says:

    Top Local Sportstalk Hosts in KC History:
    1. Ed “Superfan” Bieler – he was the first person in Kansas City to publicly say the words, “Carl Peterson.”
    2. John Renshaw – I miss the Freak.
    3. KK – annoyingly unchanging, but the best interviewer in the media.

    Nobody else warrants remembering.

    • Greg Hall says:

      How about Pete Enich? I consider him the Godfather of modern sports talk radio in KC. Whitlock also brought enough drama to the dial to merit mention.

      • Bill says:

        He wasn’t here long, but I loved DA. Can’t believe 610 got rid of him. He has only gone on to better things like hosting a night show in Boston on the No. 1-rated station in the city.

        • Kyle Rohde says:

          And he kept his night show going until like 6 AM today in celebration of the Bruins’ title – what a great idea!

  3. KCPRGuy says:

    Got in the car for the ride home around 4:45pm – KK was talking about smokin’ meat. Click. Never made it to 610 though.

    Second that notion on The Freak.

    • Greg Hall says:

      Will never be another Freak. NO ONE was ever as honest (or disturbingly entertaining) on the radio as John Renshaw. Freak trading of a baked chicken for sexual favors from a bag lady remains an all-time classic.

  4. renton says:

    Wright can whine all he wants, but I’m not going to listen to his show. I’d rather listen to static for an hour than that egomaniac.

    But he’s right about how commercial-packed KK’s show is. And Petro can be interesting, but the more he veers away from sports topics, the worse his show is too.

    KK and Petro won’t handle the criticism well. Their skin is thinner than the garlic Paulie sliced in Goodfellas.

  5. JimmyD says:

    610 should’ve never gotten rid of DA and brought in Roger Twibell. That was the beginning of the end

  6. Hoppy says:

    “GH: What does it say about the quality of the shows on 610 Sports if Kietzman’s mailed-in show – and it is definitely on cruise much of the afternoon – continues to dominate in the ratings? Plenty.”

    This is spot on. I hold the same opinion of KK as it seems most people do (particularly how lazy and arrogant he has become), the problem is I flip to 610 while hearing about KK and Danny’s golf game and his meal at Marina Grog and Galley over the wkend and MC White Guilt is talking NBA, how he is currently jock sniffin a Chiefs D-Lineman, mixed in with some more smartass lefty BS. Instead of entertaining me, which he alleges he is attempting to do, his whiney voice makes me very hungry for some BBQ and has me missing the sound of Jim Colbert’s voice. With that said Bob Fescoe makes MC White Guilt sound like the sports talk version of Edward R. Murrow. Danny Parkins, while he seems talented doesn’t know a thing about area sports teams. The Border Patrol (unless Nate is making excuses for the Royals and SSJ is talking boxing) is the only decent local sports show. Thus you have the reason why KK and Petro (to a lesser degree) can mail it in. May I suggest Pandora……..

    Kudos Greg on the new site (although I do enjoy alot of the content in the Landmark) because I really enjoy your work plus enjoy reading folk’s commentary and was tired of sifting through all the rag on KCC.

  7. JimmyD says:

    My all-time favorite show was Scott Kaplan and Sid Rosenberg. Always entertaining

    • Fake Ned Yost says:

      I LOVED that show. They probably talked more junk than any of the local shows, but they seemed to make it work.

      • kcredsox says:

        Same thoughts here, they always kept you on the edge of your seat at work. Some days I doubt I got much done during their show due to laughing too much.

        • JimmyD says:

          Every now and then I still catch myself singing their theme song to myself…”They’ll do it, do it, do it…do it til your satisfied.” The good old days

  8. Ptolemy says:

    Enich deserves honorable mention for two incidents: calling McDonald’s fare “rat food” on Kietzman’s show once then after KK dumped into a commercial break tried to explain it away by calling it that “because I can’t eat it;” and referring to the ease of engaging 9 year old prostitutes in Tailand when on a remote down at Kemper with Renshaw. Renshaw and Enich together on a show, uncensored, would be the best radio in all of radio history. If they did their own commercial reads, I’d never change the dial.

    • Bill says:

      I remember listening the morning Renshaw dropped an F-bomb live on air and the board-op, it may even have been Jake, didn’t hit the drop button in time. It was towards the end of his run there, and he apologized coming out of the break, but I think that F-bomb spelled the end of his tenure.

  9. Jay says:

    KK stands by everything he says? That’s cool, apparently he still thinks Missouri just got invited to the Big Ten.

  10. Fake Ned Yost says:

    This might just be a border skirmish in the Radio Wars, or it might signal an escalation of conflict. But there’s been a definite tone since my “letter”. You’ve got publicity stunts like the one at the 810 Zone. You’ve got Kietz defending his honor faster than a pregnant chick a month after prom. Now you’ve got the bombshell of the ratings.

    Dunno. But at least we’ve got something to talk about this summer other than Beefeater grills and which chick of the month the Chiefs players are beating the sh*t out of.

  11. Gavin says:

    I’m not sure what Bottom Line Communications is but this seems to suggest that 610 is closing (if they haven’t already closed) the gap on 810. Greg, care to comment or offer any rebuttal? It’s not as if I know how to interpret or parse these numbers. http://www.bottomlinecom.com/kcnews/kcsstunningradios.html

    • Jim Beam says:

      Read my post on Greg’s latest column for ratings analysis. 610 is nowhere close to beating 810 – unless they count all of the tweens and grandmas and kids that make up the total market Persons ages 6 and up number.

  12. JimmyD says:

    810 really needs some new blood. I’m really not a Nick Wright fan at all but I’d rather listen to him than Danny. KK badly needs a new sidekick, someone to keep him on his toes. Maybe KK is just happy being surrounded by “yes” men. I’m sure the ratings news is a wake-up call. At least 810 still has SSJ

  13. Shecky says:

    I’ll leave the ratings analysis to the radio experts. It still seems clear, though, that any bump for 610 is almost entirely driven by a more interesting Royals team this season. That still counts, however; that’s why they pay for the content. It’s just not necessarily a sustainable gain. To get that, they need a full schedule of quality programming. And very few would suggest they are anywhere close to that.

    Think about it this way – if you ran a sports talk station is there a single host on 610 that you would choose over KK, Petro, or St. John? Even if all the criticisms of 810 and KK are fair (in my view some are and some aren’t) the very best of 610 is nowhere near as good as the worst guy on 810. Honestly, I’d rather listen to most the second fiddle guys on 810 (Bukaty, Stewart, Leabo, Clinkscale, etc.) than Fescoe or Wright. You may disagree with some of those, but I think most will generally agree with the premise.

    That’s why I get frustrated at times with the criticism (like Fake Ned’s) aimed at 810. They can surely improve, but what I want is for 610 to get serious and provide some real competition. Until they hire some real talent, Entercom is just treading water until they find a more financially viable format for the 610 signal. And without that competition, 810 will never be pushed to get better.

    • Bill says:

      See, I would take Wright and, I think, Parkins (once he learns the area better) over Bukaty, Stewart and Clinkscale. Bukaty is a seamhead at heart, and that is when he is at his best. Petro is second-best in this city to a determined KK. When KK is on his game and not being lazy he is really good, it is how he got to this spot.

      The problem is that fire is only around 10-20 percent of the time now. Otherwise it is very boring radio. Wright needs someone to play off of, and someone to give him different topics to talk about.

      I really like Leabo, but I am guessing that is because he is not on near as much as the others. I also think a lot of the split also has to do with age demos. I think the younger audience is more willing to embrace Wright then the middle-aged one.

  14. Jim Beam says:

    It seems to be the modus operandi of Entercom stations to try to crawl up in the face of their competition to get ANY sort of mention, ANY sort of acknowledgement. The Buzz used to do that constantly with Mix 93; they would show up at Mix concerts, rip down Mix banners – even lit one on fire once. Now 610 is going all rowdy on 810 and all I can say is that every time I hear of a radio station trying this tactic it is CRINGEWORTHY.

    They should take a step back and look at the state of media right now. In many ways the press is a joke. How can we take 610 seriously as a news and opinion operation when their “hosts” are playing kid games – starting Twitter wars and parking their truck outside a competitor’s restaurant. To them it’s a “Radio War.” To the rest of us it’s petty and and irrelevant to our lives or the sports fantasy life we want to escape to by hearing about it on the radio.

    As an impartial observer and teacher of radio I can agree with SOME of FakeNedYost’s comments. I agree that some of the segments on Kietzman’s how have become out of control in their length and tangency. I think some of the live broadcasts and remotes have WAY too much talk about the sponsor and what’s happening on-site that could just as easily be wrapped up in intros and :30 spots. But I disagree that these are some of the worst Kietzman shows yet. To a radio man, the issue isn’t CONTENT – it’s formatics.

    See, Greg, I am disheartened when you write “Click” after Kietzman mentions NASCAR talk. And I get down when people whine that Kevin talks “too much soccer” or “too much T-Bones.” Kevin actually populates his show with what’s happening around town, across the metro. Then follows that up in concentric circles with what’s going on outside the 435 beltway, what is affecting the region, the Big 12 conference territory. Who cares for hockey or NBA talk when we don’t have a team? Yes, there are outlets for guys who want to hear that material, but for concentrating on what makes Kansas City tick is what made WHB successful in the first place. And whether people like you understand it or not – and like it or not – NASCAR, soccer, minor league baseball are all part of the sports fabric of this town. And if we really want to call ourselves a great sports town then we have to be able to find access to ALL of our franchises. So I am in complete and utter disagreement with you and FakeNedYost that spending what amount to maybe 1/15 of the time on these smaller sports does not a bad talk show make. Kietzman is trying to play to his total available audience – not the 10 or 15 hardcore fans.

    Radio has a word for mass audience: cume. The game in this day and age of electronic measurement is to get more cume (ie – more people listening to your station). Then, you must get them to come back more often. Talking secondary sports like soccer and NASCAR draw in a fringe element that doesn’t have a place to go and 810′s hope is that along the way that fan will hear something else he likes and stays with the station for another five minutes.

    Now, cleaning up the sponsor mentions and the paid segments is just a matter of formatics. These things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but that station really needs an actual radio guy – an actual program director to say “Hey, look, mention Mr. Goodcents at the top of the segment and then we’ll do a :30 live read at the end of the segment for what today’s special is, but in between that get right to the sports talk.” The FORMATICS are the issue, NOT the CONTENT.

    When KCTE and then WHB was battling KMBZ, the issue was not that Fortune was a bad host or had bad content, it was railing against the corporate structure. It was rebellion against “Traffic every 10 minutes on the 9′s” and 5 minute segments that were interrupted just as the host and caller were getting a flow just to play a five minute break and yet another traffic report. To this day, despite the gripes about amount of commercial inventory on 810 I still hear segments that go 15, 20 minutes in length – certainly longer than any corporate station to this day.

    Kietzman lives and survives and thrives because he knows how to play the game and he dances with the girl that brought him to the prom: opinion (no matter how bombastic), a great voice (at the end of the day it IS radio – and a great voice with concise speech will beat out a whiny white kid who talks with urban dialect because he thinks it’s cool any day of the week no matter WHAT the opinion is), and a willingness to play to the greater audience.

    Clean up the little radio-formatics type stuff and 810 will not only continue to win but just grow bigger and better.

    • Shecky says:

      Dead nuts on, Jim Beam. What KK is trying to do makes perfect sense. Any issues are ones of execution rather than strategy.

      And although I see Greg’s point about not being all things to all listeners, I can’t agree with the contention that history suggests it doesn’t work. How long has Kevin been doing the Racin’ Boys segments? Smoke N Fire? It’s been years and he’s dominated the ratings all along the way. There’s obviously a tipping point where too much is too much, but history in KC sports radio would suggest that he’s been toeing the line fairly well, at least until recently.

      • Jim Beam says:

        Shecky –

        I’ll make this response to you – and address Greg’s concerns below. The electronic method of ratings measurement for radio is killing anything and everything we thought about audience composition, listening habits, content make-up – hell, content delivery – and there’s so much more we haven’t learned.

        Greg is right in one respect that the “radio” of the future will be one of two things: 1. a fast-paced, podcast style of delivery in the same “push method” of radio where content is edited and pared down to small chunks, able to be digested by this ADD world, yet still referee’d by content managers (show hosts) who decide when and how the content is delivered to the audience; or 2. really embracing the idea of radio as the “original social media” where it is all about two-way discussion with the audience and the host is merely a moderator.

        Kietzman really isn’t far off, Greg. After all, as I mentioned, the name of the game in electronic measurement (or, PPM) is a mass audience. So your station – and, thus, your content – become more lifestyle oriented than niche. It’s like looking at a Venn diagram, Greg, but you’re looking at the wrong circle. By it’s nature, SPORTS TALK is a niche format. It’s strong, but it doesn’t have the inherent mass appeal of a Top 40 station or a rock station. First off, you’re losing half of your audience (women) just by turning the thing on. And then it’s mostly older listeners (ones who can still find the AM dial). And of those your P1 (hardcore listeners) will be guys who are in the car a lot or can get access to an internet stream. So you’re behind the 8 ball in many respects just by starting a sports talk station.

        Back in the early 2000′s, some sports stations (the Ticket in Dallas, Extra Sports in Phoenix) decided to do sports talk as “man lifestyle” talk and injected beer and boobs into their sports talk rotation. Yet WHB early on made the decision that they would not stoop to such knuckle dragging depths – no matter how hard Whitlock/St. John or Maas/Grunny tried to take it there. Kietz and the guys wanted their sports talk – and the content that surrounded it – to be as palatable to the “every man” as possible.

        So now, the lifestyle content that envelops their sports diatribes are things like barbecuing, weekend warrior golf games, getting in shape…doing things the “every guy” would probably be doing. As Shecky points out, WHB has a history of winning while doing the lifestyle stuff. I maintain that it is not this CONTENT but the way it is PACKAGED that is getting people fired up right now (notice that I did not say “hurting listening.” There is no evidence that any of the aformentioned here is “hurting” listening; Kevin was tied for 1st place with Men 25-54. His competitor was 5th with 1/3 less the share points. It’s NO competition.).

        If they did those specialty “lifestyle” segments shorter – or even mixed up the times in which they aired so that the listener would not just automatically tune out at 3:05p on a Wednesday – or teased some of the real niche stuff like barbecue and bounced a longform podcast or videoblog to the website (ie – “Hey, for the inside scoop on how to cook chicken in a beer can hit up 810whb.com…”) that would do nothing but benefit them more.

        • Big Dub says:

          It’s funny you mention the Ticket out of Dallas. Thanks to the magic of an Android Phone and the TunedIn Radio app, I’m now listening to The Ticket every time I’m in the car. Kansas City radio is too local when the local stories are just not that interesting most of the time. It’s hard to create engaging radio when too many of our sports teams are consistent losers, and the story never changes. I want to be entertained as a listener, not reminded how nearly every other sports city has it better.

  15. Greg Hall says:

    A radio talk show is at a disadvantage to the print media when it comes to content. If the reader doesn’t want to read about NASCAR or The Green Hornet movie review, he simply turns the page and looks elsewhere for his sweet spot. Radio can’t be all things to all listeners. It can try, which apparently is what KK is attempting to accomplish, but history tell us it’s not a smart play. NASCAR, golf, soccer, infomercials all attract only niche audiences. Almost everyone else tunes this programming out.

    His attack on Nebraska football and its fan base this fall was the stuff of genius. Brilliant freaking radio. It drew every ear that was attached to the Big 12 and beyond. I understand he can’t homer every day but he can’t continue to be so cavalier with his audience’s wants and needs. Or maybe he can if 610 continues to be so blind as to think the Royals audience is proof they are wining the war.

  16. Richard III says:

    Very intelligent debate here…thanks for the insights, participants. IMHO, the 810 morning show is the most entertaining sports talk in town, and Steven St. John is a gem….sure, the 810 crew veers off into “entertainment” topics sometimes, but do you really want to hear about sports topics 24/7? I’m also think Kietz and Clinkscale have a lot of class — true professionals. Feel free to disagree….to each his/her own.

  17. Doctor Gee says:

    Most of the Keitzman criticisms are valid and VERY ironic. If you’ve lived in KC long enough, you’ll remember when Don Fortune in the afternoons on KMBZ was the only sports talk available locally. KK came in as “The Kid”, ready to overthrow the “Old Fart” (Fortune).

    Flash forward to today: Conversations about golf, infomercials planted inside the show, personal testimonies for Marina Grog & Galley, etc. Sound familiar as Keitz’s show? It is EXACTLY what Don Fortune was doing twenty years ago…and was criticized by Kevin Keitzman for doing “non-sports talk” at the time.

    To say that success has corrupted Keitzman is an understatement…at best.

  18. newbaum turk says:

    If White Guilt can’t beat KK now then he never will. I used to be a sports radio junkie and I am surprised by how little I listen anymore. After 10 o’clock in the morning 810 becomes an infomercial. Petro, (who I actually like) should get into advertising. Seriously, his fascination with the salted, cured meats at Mr. Goodcents sounds like an Ethiopian has just been given a free meal at the finest restaurant in Paris. The worst company they shill for I won’t name by name because they are scum of the Earth. The nice word for them is “ticket-brokers.” I understand it’s legal in Kansas but these pieces of shit have ruined concerts for live music lovers like myself. As a 41 year-old I remember the good ol days when if you were first in line for a show you would have front row for a concert. Now these god damned scalpers use nefarious means to get all the good seats and rip off the public. WHB should seriously not take money from that piece of shit company.

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