For a day anyway, Lady Gaga took precedence in Lawrence over Kansas University basketball.
Lawrence-based KLZR 105.9 — the longtime FM radio home of Kansas University men’s basketball — surprised many listeners on Saturday by failing to broadcast the conference basketball tilt between KU and Texas.
The reason? GaGa Girl ordered it.
KLZR dumped the Texas-KU game as part of a promotion tied to the rebranding of its station — which has changed its name from 105.9 The Lazer to 105.9 KISS-FM The promotion involved a character called GaGa Girl breaking into the studio and forcing the station to play a string of Lady Gaga songs, and 105 hours of commercial-free music.
The commercial-free pledge caused the station — which is owned by Cape Girardeau, Mo.-based Great Plains Media — to drop the KU-Texas game.
Officials in the KU Athletic Department, however, didn’t get the memo from GaGa Girl.
“We didn’t know anything about this until the middle of the game on Saturday,” Jim Marchiony with KU Athletics said. “A little advanced communication would have helped us a lot. But we’ll work through it.”
Jay Wachs, general manager for 105.9, said he would take responsibility for the lack of communication. Wachs said the radio station mentioned numerous times that it would be running 105 hours of commercial-free music, but he said the station never did announce to listeners that the ballgame would not be broadcast on Saturday.
Tonight’s ballgame against Texas A&M — and future men’s basketball games — will be broadcast on 105.9. Wachs said listeners shouldn’t take the recent decision as a sign that the radio station’s new format will de-emphasize KU sports.
“We’re fully committed to KU,” Wachs said.
But when asked why the radio station chose to do its promotion during a time period that included a KU game, Wachs said it was important to run the promotion over a weekend and “because it was just one game.”
The decision ended up having impacts beyond Lawrence. KLZR is the only FM-radio station that broadcasts KU games into the Kansas City and Topeka markets, although several AM stations broadcast the games in those areas.
As for KLZR’s name change, Wachs said the changes mean the station has dropped ’80s and ’90s music from its playlist. It now will focus on playing music from the 2000 to 2012 time period.