|City of license||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Broadcast area||Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Kansas
|Branding||96-5 The Buzz|
|First air date||September 3, 1959 (as KXTR)|
|Callsign meaning||Kansas Radio BuzZ|
|Former callsigns||KXTR (1959-2000)|
|Sister stations||KCSP, KMBZ, KMBZ-FM, KQRC, KUDL, KZPT, WDAF-FM|
KRBZ began broadcasting on September 3, 1959, as classical music station KXTR. On August 17, 2000, at 10 AM, KXTR was moved to 1250 AM, displacing sports talk station KKGM (now KYYS), and 96.5 began stunting with a ticking clock. At noon, 96.5 flipped formats to a Top 40 format that emphasized on modern rock and leaned away from rhythmic content and boy bands (a trend in pop music at the time), taking aim at rival station KMXV, and was branded as "96.5 The Buzz." The first song played on "The Buzz" was "Learn To Fly" by The Foo Fighters. The station launched with 5,000 songs in a row, which concluded on Labor Day.
By 2002, the Buzz moved towards a Hot AC format, most likely due to low ratings with its "Rock 40" format. However, this failed, as the station sounded like KMXV, with pop acts dragging the station through the ratings. Later that year, the station refocused its brand, dumping anything that sounded like KMXV, whom they often parody in liners. However, ratings remained low, which nearly resulted in the station's demise.
On April 1, 2002 (April Fool's Day), the station stunted as an "all-gay" radio station known as "K-Gay 96.5", playing mostly dance music targeting the LGBT community. The next day, the station refocused as a Modern AC station, as well as introducing a new morning show (titled "The Kenny & Afentra Showgram"). This morning show lasted until July 2003, when Kenny left the show and Afentra began The Buzz's well-known morning show "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz". By September of that year, the station completely shifted to a full-fledged modern rock format, which it continues with today. It returned the alternative rock format to Kansas City for the first time since 1999, when KLZR dumped alternative rock for contemporary hit radio and when KNRX (now KMJK) dumped its alternative format for urban oldies. KLZR later changed to an adult top 40 format when KRBZ dumped modern AC.
Also in 2003, KRBZ was nearly pulled off of the air when plans for sports station KCSP forced longtime country station WDAF to look for an FM home. Fans gathered to "Save The Buzz", showing a huge turnout and solidified the station's alternative format. Instead, WDAF moved to 106.5 FM, displacing KCIY, a Smooth Jazz station.
KRBZ has gone from the bottom of the ratings to one of the highest rated stations in the 18-34 demographic. In mid-2010, the station jumped in the ratings, garnering a 5.1 share in the latest Arbitron ratings report (February 2011). The station went back down in the Arbitron ratings, with the station being placed at #17 with a 2.7 share. However, the station recovered and is currently ranked #12 with a 3.8 share.
In 2005, the station reduced the length of all commercial breaks to two minutes or less. This lasted until the fall of 2008, when the station reverted to longer stop sets. The station has been recognized by Billboard magazine for its ability to showcase new artists. In 2004, the station focused heavily on registering young adults to vote. They were recognized by the "Rock The Vote" campaign for registering more new voters than any other radio station in the country. In April 2006, the station began broadcasting live over the internet.
On June 1, 2006, popular afternoon host/program director Lazlo announced that he was leaving the station to become program director of KNDD "The End" in Seattle, KRBZ's sister station. His wife, Afentra, host of morning show "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz," worked her last day from the studios in Kansas City on August 4, 2006, but continued hosting mornings at KRBZ via satellite from her home in Seattle until November. Her co-hosts remained in Kansas City. Operations Manager Greg Bergen took over as program director in the wake of Lazlo's exit. On September 8, 2006, morning co-host Danny Boi announced plans to leave the show and the station. He was replaced as co-host by Slimfast.
On November 10, 2006, it was announced that Lazlo, Afentra, and SlimFast reunited on air for The Church of Lazlo, which broadcasted from Seattle on KNDD and simulcast on KRBZ. On February 12, 2007, The Dick Dale show with Jessica Chase debuted as the new morning show. Less than a month later, Chase quietly departed the station. On July 9, 2008, the morning show was disbanded with Dick Dale being fired from the station.
On July 17, 2008, Lazlo, Afentra, and SlimFast announced plans to end The Church of Lazlo's run on KNDD. This came shortly after the announcement that former KRBZ Program Director Mike Kaplan would take over programming duties at KNDD.
On August 25, 2008, both "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz" and "The Church of Lazlo" returned live to Kansas City. Afentra's original producer, Scoops, returned to the show in May 2009.
On August 4, 2010, Scoops quit on the air after being confronted by Afentra about being two hours late to work. On the morning of August 16, 2010, Danny Boi returned to "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz" in place of Scoops.
On August 23, 2010, Jason Ulanet, longtime midday host and music director, was released from the station. Ulanet was replaced by Jeriney, who also hosts Homegrown Buzz.