Kansas City’s first FM broadcaster, KOZY, dates to the pre-war FM band. It was started by Everett L. Dillard, earlier the founder of WLBF (now KCKN), and later the founder of WASH(FM) in Washington, D.C. Studios and transmitter were at the Porter Building at 34th and Broadway.
Dillard was the experimental licensee of W9XA at 26.45 mHz 1937-39, operating both in AM and FM modes. His first FM station application was submitted to the FCC on March 1, 1940. K49KC was on the air in 1942 at 44.9 mHz. When numeric FM calls were discontinued, Dillard chose the KOZY calls. KOZY moved to 99.9 mHz during the postwar change of the FM band to 88-108 mHz, and then to 98.1 mHz in 1947 when interstation spacing was changed from 0.4 to 0.8 mHz.
KOZY went off the air early in 1950 after it lost its lease on studio and transmitter site. Dillard requested deletion for economic reasons, which was granted by the FCC on February 15, 1951.
The 98.1 allocation was reactivated by reclaimed when the fcc granted a constrction permit for KCBM(FM) on December 18, 1957. According to Rob Zerwekh, the station did not sign on the air until December 5, 1959, by that time, the calls had been changed to KCJC.
In 1969, the station changed call letters to KUDL-FM and would sometimes be simulcasted with KUDL(AM) at 1380 kHz, and sometimes, the stations would be programmed separately. In 1975, the AM station briefly adopted a news format, changing its call letters to KCNW, while the FM station adopted the AM station’s oldies format before adopting a Disco-oriented Top 40 format. By 1977, KUDL(FM) had adopted a soft Adult Contemporary format.
During the 1980s, Shamrock Broadcasting owned the station, along with WHB. Shamrock sold KUDL to Apollo Broadcasting in 1993. Apollo was subsequently acquired by Regent Communications, which in turn was acquired by Jacor Communications. In 1997, KUDL, along with WDAF(AM) were sold to Entercom. Entercom took control of KUDL on January 5, 1998.
On March 23, 2011, Entercom announced that the long-standing Adult Contemporary format would be terminated. The next day, they announced that 98.1 would simulcast KMBZ‘s news/talk format beginning at 2pm on March 30. On March 31, KUDL(FM) changed it’s call letters to KMBZ-FM.