By Ben Embry
Kansas City, MO – After months of uncertainty, plans for the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center in downtown Kansas City are back on track and back to the original site. The Kansas City Star reports board members of the center and the Kauffman Foundation voted unanimously to return to the site's original location at 16th Street and Broadway. The vote ends months of speculation about the future of the center after board members voted in April to examine renovating the historic Lyric Theater and adding a new concert hall. In addition, the board voted to add 250 seats to the symphony but cut 600 seats from the opera house. Despite the shift back to the original site, revised cost estimates won't be completed until at least next month. So far, the center has raised $230 million - falling about $70 million short of the original $304 million cost estimate.
Sprint Nextel Corp. is jumping into the music phone business. The Overland Park-based telecommunications giant said today that it and Seattle-based digital media provider RealNetworks Inc. are launching a streaming music service for Sprint PCS customers called Rhapsody Radio. The service provides streaming radio stations, a freestyle rap service called "Beats N Breaks," music news, videos and podcasts for $6.95 per month. The move marks a trend among wireless companies, who have raced each other to add music content to their service portfolios inspired by the popularity of Apple Computer iPod and other MP3 players.