KMBC-TV, virtual channel 9 (UHF digital channel 29), is the ABC
-affiliated television station licensed to
Kansas City ,
United States and also serving
Kansas City ,
Kansas . The station is
owned by the
Hearst Television subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation ,
as part of a duopoly with CW affiliate
KCWE (channel 29). The two
stations share studio facilities located at the Winchester Business
Center on Winchester Avenue and East 63rd Street (near
Swope Park ,
off of I-435 ) in southeastern
Kansas City, Missouri; KMBC-TV
maintains transmitter facilities located near the Blue River in
Kansas City. On cable ,
KMBC-TV is available on Charter
Comcast Xfinity and
Consolidated Communications channel 12,
Google Fiber and AT KMBC's near-ubiquitous cable distribution in
Saint Joseph dates back to KQTV's former status as a primary CBS
affiliate from its September 1953 sign-on until the former KFEQ-TV
disaffiliated from that network in 1967, a period in which the station
CBS offerings with a limited selection of ABC
* 1 History
* 1.1 Early years: from two stations to one
* 1.3 Hearst Corporation ownership
* 2 Digital television
* 2.1 Digital channels
* 2.1.1 KMBC-DT2
* 2.2 Analog-to-digital conversion
* 3 Programming
* 3.1 Past program preemptions and deferrals
* 3.2 Sports programming
* 4 News operation
* 4.1 In popular culture
* 4.2 On-air staff
* 4.2.1 Notable former on-air staff
* 5 References
* 6 External links
EARLY YEARS: FROM TWO STATIONS TO ONE
The third and last VHF television allocation in the
market was hotly contested between two locally based companies which
had each competed to become the granted holder of the construction
permit to build the new station on VHF channel 9. The prospective
licensees in question were the
Cook Paint and Varnish Company and the
Midland Broadcasting Company, which had respectively owned two of the
area's AM radio stations – Cook was the operator of
WHB (then at 710
AM, now at 810 AM), while Midland owned KMBC (980 AM, now KMBZ ).
Eventually, the companies reached an agreement to combine their
individual inquiries for the permit and jointly bid for the license .
Under the proposed deal, Cook Paint and Varnish and Midland
Broadcasting agreed to an arrangement in which the two licensees would
share the channel 9 allocation as well as a transmitter facility;
although each company would structure their common television property
as two separate stations, individually maintaining operational
stewardship of their respective stations and operating from different
studio facilities within the metropolitan area .
In June 1953, the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the
proposal made by the Cook/Midland venture, and awarded the individual
licenses for which the two companies had applied. Channel 9 first
signed on the air as a shared operation on August 2 of that year. The
licensees borrowed the call letters of their shared television station
from their respective radio properties: the Midland-owned station was
assigned the call letters
KMBC-TV and the Cook-owned station was
assigned the calls WHB-TV. The combined operation shared the local
affiliation rights to
CBS , which had moved its programming from
WDAF-TV (channel 4, now a Fox affiliate), a station that had carried
the network on a part-time basis since it signed on as
first television station in October 1949. Similar to the split-station
WHB radio had maintained three decades earlier with
WDAF radio (610 AM, now KCSP ; the WDAF calls on radio now reside on
106.5 FM ),
KMBC-TV and WHB-TV would each maintain 90 minutes of
programming airtime on an alternating basis throughout its broadcast
day, which initially ran daily from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (the
WHB/WDAF radio sharing arrangement originated in 1922, when both
stations transmitted on 730 AM and transferred frequencies when both
moved to 680 AM in 1924; the timeshare ended when
WHB radio moved to
710 AM in 1927).
With the KMBC/
WHB operation having been on the air for only eight
months, one of the licensees had negotiated a deal that would result
in it buying out its partner in channel 9 and dissolving the
split-station arrangement. In April 1954, Cook Paint and Varnish
purchased Midland Broadcasting's television and radio holdings –
KMBC-TV, KMBC radio and sister radio station
KFRM (550 AM) in
Kansas – in a deal that transferred the rights to
Midland's lease to the Victoria Theatre, at the intersection of East
18th Street and Central Avenue in Downtown
Kansas City , to Cook.
After Cook formally assumed ownership of the station on June 14 of
KMBC-TV began occupying channel 9 full-time, absorbing
WHB-TV's share of the operation and the lease to the Victoria Theatre,
wherein Midland had rented space in the lower floors beneath the
building's performance stage since it purchased the facility in 1947
to house the operations of KMBC radio and later KMBC-TV. Cook Paint
and Varnish subsequently sold
WHB radio to Storz Broadcasting in order
to comply with FCC rules of the time period that restricted a
broadcasting company from owning more than two radio stations in a
single media market.
In January 1955, the
Meredith Corporation signed a multi-year
CBS to affiliate five of television stations that the
company owned at the time with the network. As part of the deal,
Meredith agreed to affiliate KCMO-TV (channel 5, now
KCTV ) with CBS,
as compensation for sister station
KPHO-TV in Phoenix ,
CBS in September 1994) losing its affiliation with the
network to KOOL-TV (now Fox owned-and-operated station
KMBC-TV subsequently signed an affiliation agreement with ABC ,
granting it assumption of the
Kansas City affiliation rights to that
network from KCMO-TV, which had carried the network since its
September 1953 sign-on in a dual-affiliation arrangement (KCMO also
initially carried select programs from the DuMont Television Network
on a part-time basis until the network ceased operations in August
1956). Channel 9 formally switched to ABC, becoming the market's first
full-time affiliate of that network, in September of that year.
During the late 1950s, the station also briefly maintained an
affiliation with the
NTA Film Network programming service.
In the winter of late 1958, Cook Paint and Varnish purchased KDRO-TV
(channel 6) in Sedalia ; the company subsequently changed that
station's call letters to
KMOS-TV on January 28, 1959. During that
time, KDRO-TV had been serving the ABC affiliate for the far eastern
portion of the
Kansas City market as well as portions of north-central
Missouri. However, the network refused to provide KDRO direct access
to its programming feed in order to protect KMBC-TV, with which KDRO's
signal overlapped in the western portions of the latter station's
coverage area; this forced engineers at that station to have to switch
to and from channel 9's broadcast signal whenever KDRO aired ABC
In December 1960, Cook Paint and Varnish sold the KMBC television and
New York City
New York City -based Metropolitan
Broadcasting (later renamed
Metromedia ) for $9.65 million;
Metropolitan subsequently spun off
KMOS-TV and KFRM. In 1962,
Metropolitan signed on a companion station on the radio side, KMBC-FM
(99.7 FM, now KZPT );
Metromedia would sell both of the KMBC radio
Bonneville International , the broadcasting arm of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , in 1967 (although its
former radio sisters had changed their call letters decades earlier,
KMBC-TV has retained the "-TV" suffix in its legal call sign to this
Metromedia eventually took over management of the building housing
KMBC's operations in 1974, after being granted a change to the terms
of its lease, although the group honored the lease signed by the Lyric
Kansas City in 1970 – around which time it was renamed from
Capri Theatre to the Lyric Theatre – that gave the repertory company
permission to perform at the theatre.
HEARST CORPORATION OWNERSHIP
In September 1981,
KMBC-TV and the lease to the Lyric
Theatre to New York City-based Hearst Broadcasting in a deal worth $79
million for the television station alone. Under Hearst ownership,
the station heavily invested in its news department and expanded its
local news programming, which increased from seven hours per week at
the time of the purchase to 20 hours by 1990. In 1988, it also built a
343-metre (1,125 ft) high guyed mast broadcast tower in eastern Kansas
City, located on a hill overlooking the Blue River .
Hearst sold the Lyric Theatre to the Lyric Opera in 1989, in order to
allow repairs to the building that commenced after a piece of plaster
fell onto the performance stage during a rehearsal session by the
Kansas City Symphony to continue due to the expensive cost. After
selling the building, in 1990, Hearst weighed plans to move KMBC-TV's
operations to a new studio space elsewhere in the
metropolitan area ; however, company management eventually decided to
continue to operate the station out of the Lyric Theatre, with which
the station entered into a leasing agreement after Hearst turned over
ownership of the building.
Channel 9 would gain a sister television station in 1997, when Hearst
Broadcasting – which was renamed Hearst-Argyle Television after
Argyle Television Holdings II merged with Hearst's broadcasting unit
Hearst Television ) that year – entered into a local
marketing agreement to manage the operations of KCWB (channel 29, now
KCWE ), which signed on the air in September 1996 as the
market's original affiliate of The WB (it would later assume the UPN
KSMO-TV (channel 62, now a
MyNetworkTV affiliate) in
August 1998, as part of a swap that resulted from then-owner Sinclair
Broadcast Group 's multi-station affiliation agreement with The WB).
Hearst-Argyle Television continued to maintain operational
KCWE until 2001, when its parent company, the
Hearst Corporation, bought the channel 29 license outright by way of
an indirect subsidiary (doing business as "KCWE-TV Company") separate
from its broadcasting division.
In July 2005, Hearst-Argyle announced plans to construct a new
53,000-square-foot (4,900 m2) facility at the Winchester Business
Center (located at 6455 Winchester Avenue, near
Swope Park ) in
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri to house the operations of KMBC and
KCWE. Construction of the facility – which was designed in the mold
of the Spanish -inspired architectural style of
Country Club Plaza ,
and built by
Oklahoma City -based architecture firm Rees and
Associates, which also designed the studio facilities of sister
New Orleans and
Orlando – began later that
month, and was completed in early August 2007. The modern
purpose-built concrete and glass studio facility incorporates a master
control facility with digital and high definition transmission
processing equipment; a two-story 4,500-square-foot (420 m2)
production studio; an expanded 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) newsroom; a
satellite management center supporting downlink and uplink
capabilities; a helistop for the station's "NewsChopper 9" helicopter;
and surface parking for station employees and guests. The operations
of KMBC and
KCWE formally migrated to the Winchester Avenue studio on
August 23, 2007, ending KMBC's 54-year tenure at the Lyric Theatre,
which had earlier been sold by the Lyric Opera to real estate firm DST
In late March 2010, Hearst filed an application with the FCC to
KCWE license from the KCWE-TV Company subsidiary to the
Hearst Television unit; the transfer was completed on May 1 of that
year, officially making
KCWE directly owned sister
stations. Although "KMBC
Hearst Television Inc." remains the name of
the licensing purpose corporation for KMBC-TV, "Hearst Stations Inc."
– the licensee name for
KCWE – is used instead for the copyright
tag seen at the end of its newscasts.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed :
PSIP SHORT NAME
KMBC-TV programming / ABC
KMBC-TV is one of several Hearst-owned ABC stations that broadcasts
its digital signal in the
1080i high definition format, instead of the
720p format. KMBC's ABC-affiliated sister stations
under Hearst including
WMUR-TV in Manchester ,
New Hampshire ; WTAE-TV
Oklahoma City and KETV
in Omaha also transmit high definition programming content –
including local and syndicated programs – in this format.
On February 26, 2008,
KMBC-TV launched a digital subchannel on
virtual channel 9.2 under the brand "First Alert Weather 24 Hours",
initially serving as an affiliate of
The Local AccuWeather Channel
The Local AccuWeather Channel .
The channel – which was immediately made available on the digital
cable tiers of Time Warner Cable (on digital channel 1422), Comcast
(on channel 247) and Everest Broadband (on channel 611) – provided
regional and national forecasts provided by the
network, along with pre-recorded local forecasts presented by
meteorologists from KMBC's "First Alert Weather" team (which were
updated two to three times per day), and a half-hour block of
syndicated children's programs compliant with FCC educational
programming guidelines on Monday through Saturday afternoons.
On September 14, 2010, KMBC-DT2 launched "MOREtv
Kansas City", a
four-hour block of entertainment programs that aired in place of The
AccuWeather Channel's prime time programming on Monday through
Friday nights (the block's branding was inspired by the "MOREtv 29"
moniker used by sister station
KCWE as a
UPN affiliate from January
1998 until September 2005). The block – which aired on the
subchannel each weeknight from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. – consisted mainly
of general entertainment syndicated programs (featuring a selection of
same-day or week-delayed rebroadcasts of first-run talk shows seen on
KMBC's main channel, as well as shows exclusive to the subchannel); it
also included a encore of KMBC-TV's weeknight 6:00 p.m. newscast,
which aired on a half-hour tape delay at 6:30 p.m.
On June 21, 2011, as part of an affiliation agreement between Hearst
Television and network parent
Weigel Broadcasting , KMBC-DT2 became an
affiliate of the classic television network
MeTV ; some of the
syndicated programs that aired as part of the "MOREtv" block moved to
KCWE with the switch.
On February 19, 2009,
KMBC-TV – after receiving permission from the
FCC for a
Special Temporary Authority permit – moved its digital
channel allocation from VHF channel 7 to UHF channel 29, which had
been vacated by sister station
KCWE when it shut down its analog
signal two months earlier on December 15, 2008 (
transmits its digital signal on UHF channel 31). The station had
received viewer complaints regarding issues with the reception of its
signal due to the combination of all the television stations in the
Kansas City market (besides channel 9) transmitting their digital
signals on UHF and to address signal conflicts with Pittsburg, Kansas
KOAM-TV , which was allowed to reutilize its
analog channel 7 for its post-transition digital channel (KOAM would
have experienced interference from
KMBC-TV as both stations'
transmitters are 131 miles (211 km) away from each other, a fairly
shorter distance than the advised 150 miles (240 km) separation
between two stations operating on a shared channel).
The station shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 9, on June
12 of that year, the official date in which full-power television
stations in the
United States were federally mandated to transition
from analog to digital broadcasts (which was originally scheduled for
February 17, but was pushed back after both Congressional branches
passed measures to delay the complete conversion to ensure that all
consumers receiving television broadcasts over-the-air had the
equipment necessary to receive digital transmissions). Through the use
of PSIP , digital television receivers display the station's virtual
channel as its former VHF analog channel 9. Through its participation
as a SAFER Act "nightlight" broadcaster,
KMBC-TV kept its analog
signal on the air until July 12 to inform viewers of the digital
television transition through a loop of public service announcements
National Association of Broadcasters .
Syndicated programs broadcast on
KMBC-TV (as of September 2016 )
The Dr. Oz Show , The Real , Steve Harvey , The Ellen
DeGeneres Show , and
Entertainment Tonight .
KMBC-TV carries the entire ABC network schedule, although it
currently airs some programs offered by the network out of pattern.
KMBC has aired The View on a one-hour tape delay since its premiere on
August 11, 1997; the station has delayed
ABC Daytime programs that the
network intended for its stations to air during the 10:00 a.m.
(Central Time ) hour dating back to the late 1970s. The weekend
Good Morning America
Good Morning America and This Week also air outside of
their recommended time slots, with the former airing one hour earlier
than recommended on both Saturdays and Sundays (transmitted live via
Eastern Time Zone
Eastern Time Zone feed), due to a secondary two-hour
block of its morning newscast, FirstNews, on both days; while the
latter airs on a half-hour delay to air religious programming
following the secondary FirstNews block on Sundays. In addition, KMBC
does not currently air the Sunday edition of
ABC World News Tonight in
favor of an hour-long local early evening newscast that precedes the
ABC prime time lineup.
PAST PROGRAM PREEMPTIONS AND DEFERRALS
Over the years, KMBC has either broadcast several ABC programs out of
their recommended time slots or pre-empted them outright. In these and
other instances, viewers within the
Kansas City market could view the
affected shows in their normal time slots if they received KQTV
(channel 2) out of nearby St. Joseph, which became a full-time ABC
affiliate in September 1967, and/or
KTKA-TV out of Topeka , which
signed on in February 1983.
Metromedia ownership, channel 9 declined to air The Brady Bunch
when it debuted in September 1969, in favor of running movies in its
time period, which effectively pre-empted most of ABC's Friday night
lineup; the station resumed clearance of the sitcom the following
year. It was also one of a small number of ABC affiliates that opted
to pre-empt the ABC Evening News during the late 1960s and early
1970s, as well as one of a handful that declined carriage of the music
American Bandstand for part of its run throughout the 1960s
until the mid-1970s. In addition to being viewable in the northern
half of the market through KQTV, many of the ABC programs that were
KMBC-TV during this period could also be viewed
alternatively in the market on independent station KCIT-TV (channel
50, channel now occupied by
Ion Television owned-and-operated station
KPXE-TV ) during its two years of operation from 1969 to 1971.
Beginning with the newsmagazine 's debut in 1980,
Nightline to midnight – 90 minutes later than most ABC stations had
carried it at the time, with the only instances in which Channel 9
carried the program in its network-designated time slot being for
major breaking news events – in order to run off-network syndicated
sitcoms in the time period following its 10:00 p.m. newscast,
something KMBC continued to do even after many Big Three affiliates in
large and mid-sized markets began restricting their off-network
syndicated content to drama series scheduled to air on weekends; this
decision had long been criticized by some members of ABC's management
and even original
Ted Koppel .
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel Live! ,
which has preceded
Nightline on ABC's late-night schedule since the
network switched the broadcast order of the two programs in January
2013, was also delayed by the station in a similar manner beginning at
the talk show 's debut in January 2003. On January 3, 2011, KMBC-TV
Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel ahead a half-hour, starting at
11:37 p.m., citing shifting market conditions and a request by the
network during negotiations with
Hearst Television to renew its
affiliation agreement with
KMBC-TV that the station air both programs
at earlier times.
KMBC-TV would begin airing
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel Live! and
Nightline in ABC's intended time periods for both shows (with Kimmel
now following its 10:00 p.m. newscast) on January 5, 2015.
From September 2006 until the program was dropped by ABC on August
KMBC-TV pre-empted the
Power Rangers series that aired as
part of the ABC Kids block due to the program's lack of educational
content (as Hearst's other ABC stations opted to do with the series);
the station also aired
Kim Possible and
Power Rangers SPD on tape
delay on early Monday mornings before
World News Now – instead of
their normal Saturday morning time slot – during the 2005–06
television season for the same reason.
KMBC was also among the more than 20 ABC-affiliated stations owned by
Hearst and various other broadcasting groups that declined to air the
network's November 2004 telecast of
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan , because of
concerns that the intense war violence and strong profanity that ABC
opted against editing out of its broadcast of the 1998 World War II
-set film would result in stations that aired it being fined by the
FCC amid the agency's crackdown on indecent material following the
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy . The station, along
with several other Hearst-owned ABC affiliates, chose to air the 1992
Far and Away in its place; it was eventually determined that the
movie's broadcast did not violate FCC regulations.
KMBC-TV has carried
National Football League
National Football League (NFL) games
Kansas City Chiefs through either ABC or team-specific
syndication arrangements with
ESPN . From 1970 to 2005 , most of the
team's broadcasts on Channel 9 were ABC-televised prime time games
selected to air on
Monday Night Football , involving both opponents
that are fellow members of the
American Football Conference
American Football Conference (AFC) and
interconference matches with
National Football Conference
National Football Conference (NFC) teams.
In 1987 , the station became the rightsholder to local simulcasts of
regular season Chiefs games intended for exclusive cable broadcast on
ESPN. Until ESPN's contractual rights to the package concluded in 2005
, these involved games selected to air on Sunday Night Football ,
which resulted in KMBC tape delaying portions of ABC's Sunday prime
time lineup (including the now-discontinued ABC Sunday Night Movie and
ABC Movie of the Week presentations) to air after its 10:00 p.m.
newscast on the night of the Chiefs broadcast in place of its regular
schedule of syndicated programs. The simulcasts shifted to the team's
Monday Night Football matchups after
ESPN took over the rights to that
package from ABC (in a compensation deal by the NFL to make up for the
loss of Sunday Night Football to
NBC ) in 2006 . Presently, the
station reschedules ABC's Monday night schedule to air in place of the
network's late night lineup to accommodate the game, with Dancing with
the Stars (which ABC moved to Mondays in September 2006) airing after
the late newscast on the affected live performance episode's original
airdate, incorporating a separate voting window for
viewers under a clause in the program's voting regulations that
account for preemptions by ABC stations for MNF telecasts involving
local NFL franchises, or extended breaking news or severe weather
coverage in Dancing's normal timeslot.
The Hearst Corporation holds a 20% ownership stake in
remaining majority interest and operational control of the network is
maintained by ABC parent
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company , with Hearst moreso
acting as a silent partner rather than an active participant in ESPN's
management); as is the case with ABC\'s owned-and-operated stations ,
Hearst's television stations hold the right of first refusal for NFL
game simulcasts from ESPN, which – as the telecasts are
cable-originated – are required under NFL broadcasting rules to be
simulcast on a broadcast television station in the local markets of
both participating teams.
KMBC also aired select
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball (MLB) games involving
Kansas City Royals that ABC telecast between 1976 and 1989 (when
the network held rights to the
Monday Night Baseball package), and
from 1994 to 1995 (under the Baseball Network partnership involving
ABC and NBC, which was disrupted in its first year by the strike that
abbreviated the 1994 season ). Notable Royals telecasts that aired on
Channel 9 during ABC's contractual tenures with the league included
the team's second
World Series appearance in 1985 , which saw the
franchise win the first of the two national championship titles it has
earned to date.
KMBC-TV presently broadcasts 37 hours of locally produced newscasts
each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, 4½ hours on Saturdays and five
hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to local
news programming, it is the second-highest newscast output among the
Kansas City market's television stations, albeit well below the 59½
cumulative weekly hours of news programming that is broadcast by Fox
affiliate WDAF-TV. KMBC also produces seven hours a week of local
newscasts for CW-affiliated sister station
KCWE (consisting of a
two-hour weekday morning broadcast at 7:00 a.m. and an hour-long 9:00
p.m. newscast that airs seven nights a week).
During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, KMBC had the highest-rated
local television newscasts in the
Kansas City market . However, the
station faced stiff competition during this period from KCTV, which
ascended to first in late news with the success of main anchors Anne
Wendall Anschutz . In 1968, assignment reporter Larry
Moore was appointed as the station's lead anchor; Moore's co-anchors
during much of his tenure included Laurie Everett (1985–2001), Kelly
Eckerman (2001–2013, as Moore's co-anchor on the 6:00 p.m. newscast)
and Lara Moritz (2001–2011, as his co-anchor on the 10:00 p.m.
newscast; Moore and Eckerman remain weekday evening co-anchors at the
station as of 2016). Moore helmed KMBC's weekday evening newscasts in
some capacity for 37 of his 41 years at
KMBC-TV – with a four-year
break from 1978 to 1983, while Moore took short-lived anchor jobs at
ABC owned-and-operated station
Chicago and, later, CBS
San Francisco – until his retirement from
regular broadcasting on November 27, 2013, when he transitioned into
an anchor emeritus role in which he contributed to special projects
In December 1980,
Christine Craft to serve as co-anchor
for its 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. Although ratings for KMBC's
newscasts had ascended to first place in the market during this time,
a focus group recruited by station management to survey their opinion
on its news product pilloried Craft – who was 36 at the time, five
years older than her co-anchor Scott Feldman , then age 31 –
claiming that she was "too old, too unattractive and not deferential
to men." Craft resigned from the station nine months later after
rejecting a management-decided demotion to an assignment reporting
position. She then filed a lawsuit against its then-owner Metromedia,
KMBC-TV management of both fraud and sexual discrimination ,
becoming one of the first such cases to be widely publicized in the
United States. Craft initially won her case when it went to trial in
1983; although when the suit was retried on a second appeal three
years later, the presiding judge ruled in favor of
by then, had merged into
News Corporation after it purchased
Metromedia's major-market independent stations to later serve as the
nuclei for the
Fox Broadcasting Company ).
The station launched a local morning newscast on December 1, 1987,
when it launched the initially 30-minute traditional news program
FirstNews, a program that evolved out of local news inserts it aired
during World News This Morning , which was initially anchored by Maria
Antonia and weather anchor Joel Nichols (Bryan Busby, who has served
as chief meteorologist at KMBC since 1985, conducted the program's
forecast segments for a few weeks prior to Nichols' hire). During the
late 1980s and early 1990s, KMBC became engaged in very competitive
WDAF-TV for first place in overall news viewership,
frequently trading places with both stations in certain time periods,
although it ended the former decade in second place overall behind NBC
affiliate WDAF-TV. After WDAF became a Fox affiliate in September
KMBC-TV experienced a resurgence to first place, overtaking both
KCTV and WDAF as the most watched television news operation in Kansas
City. At present, channel 9 generally places first in the early
evening time period among total viewers; it also battles
first place at 10:00 p.m., while continuing to battle WDAF for first
place on weekday mornings. In November 2007, KMBC-TV's newscasts
finished first in most news timeslots during the sweeps period, while
tying for #1 with
KCTV at 10:00 p.m. During the following sweeps
month in February 2008, channel 9's newscasts won all of its time
In 2007, the station's news department won seven Edward R. Murrow
Awards – the most wins by any American television station – in the
news series, feature, news documentary, spot news, continuing
coverage, newscast and overall excellence categories. On August 23,
2007, beginning with the 5:00 p.m. newscast,
broadcasting from its new purpose-built facility near Swope Park,
which included a newly constructed set for its newscasts that was
FX Group . With the relocation, channel 9 became the first
television station in the
Kansas City market to begin broadcasting its
local newscasts in high definition . On March 3, 2008, KMBC-TV
debuted a two-hour extension of its FirstNews morning newscast, from
7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on CW affiliate KCWE. For many years, KMBC
management cited concerns with cannibalizing the station's audience as
its reasoning for not expanding news offerings to its sister station.
On November 13, 2008, Channel 9 again became the focus of a lawsuit
filed against the station, parent company Hearst-Argyle Television and
Wayne Godsey, then-general manager of KMBC/KCWE, by anchor/reporters
Maria Antonia (named as a plaintiff under her legal name, Maria
Albisu-Twyman) and Kelly Eckerman, and general assignment
reporter/former evening anchor Peggy Breit, alleging that station
management engaged in age and gender discrimination, perpetrated "a
hostile environment, permeated with threats, intimidation and
disrespect" and demoted them in favor of younger women, while men much
older than them stayed in their assigned anchor slots. Antonia, who
was demoted from weekend evening anchor to assignment reporter in
2007, alleged that Godsey told her upon disclosing her demotion that
she " never anchor at Channel 9 again" and passed her over for a role
offered to her to anchor the
KCWE FirstNews broadcast in favor of a
woman in her 20s. Eckerman, who had been co-anchor of the 5:00 and
6:00 p.m. newscasts since 1997, claimed that management promoted
co-anchor Kris Ketz (who joined KMBC in 1996) to a more prominent role
as weeknight early-evening anchor at the expense of her being
reassigned from a weeknights-only to a Tuesday-to-Saturday shift to
get him out from under the "shadow" of longtime main anchor Larry
Moore. Breit – who was moved from a weekday daytime to a
Tuesday-to-Saturday reporting slot in 2007 – alleged that KMBC
management passed over assignment reporters older in age for
higher-profile shifts in favor of younger hires. Godsey was
dismissed from the lawsuit in July 2009, on procedural grounds citing
the plaintiffs' failure to name him in the complaint involving twelve
other KMBC employees that was originally filed with the
Rights Commission did not put him on notice that he was being held
personally responsible for the work environment alleged in the suit;
KMBC and Hearst-Argyle reached a settlement with the three anchors in
On July 30, 2010, as most of its Hearst-owned ABC-affiliated sister
stations did on that date,
KMBC-TV added an hour-long extension of its
weekend morning newscast at 8:00 a.m. This was followed on August 23
by the expansion of its weekday morning newscast into the 4:30 a.m.
KSHB-TV (channel 41) also moved the start time
of its morning newscast to 4:30 a.m. on that date). On September 14,
KMBC-TV launched a half-hour weeknight-only 9:00 p.m. newscast
KCWE to compete with WDAF-TV's in-house 9:00 p.m. newscast and the
KCTV-produced 9:00 p.m. newscast on
MyNetworkTV affiliate KSMO; the
program would eventually expand to a full hour on April 25, 2016, on
the same date that KMBC also launched an hour-long late afternoon
newscast at 4:00 p.m.
For the February 2011 sweeps period, KMBC-TV's newscasts garnered the
#1 spot among the
Kansas City market's television news operations; the
station tied with
WDAF-TV during the 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. hour, though
channel 4's morning newscast beat KMBC's broadcast of Good Morning
America during the 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. time period. The station's 5:00,
6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts also placed first in their respective
time slots; while its prime time newscast on
KCWE placed second in the
9:00 p.m. time slot, slightly ahead of the KCTV-produced newscast on
KSMO but well behind WDAF-TV, which has led the 9:00 p.m. hour since
shortly after its switch to Fox and the related launch of its prime
time newscast in September 1994.
On April 30, 2013, KMBC launched a separate website (www.kmbc.tv, and
reformatted its weeknight 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts as well as the
8:00 a.m. hour of its FirstNews extension on
KCWE to allow viewer
comments, opinions and questions sent to the station's
Google Plus accounts in a live chat hosted by the
respective anchors of the aforementioned KMBC/
IN POPULAR CULTURE
A Sept. 1, 2010, interview with an eyewitness to an attempted
gas-station robbery briefly became a social-media sensation. KMBC-TV
video of the interview was "songified" by
The Gregory Brothers using
pitch-correction software to become "Backin Up Song."
Notable Former On-air Staff
Walt Bodine (deceased)
Jonathan Coachman (later with
World Wrestling Entertainment , now
* Scott Feldman
Jeremy Hubbard (later at
ABC News ; now anchor at
Craig Sager (later with
Turner Sports , died on December 15, 2016)
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* ^ "
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* ^ "Employees sue KMBC-TV, alleging sex and age discrimination".
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