Call Letters: KCTV
City of License: Kansas City, MO
DT HAAT/ERP: 1048ft/1000kw
1953-1955 - KCMO-TV - ABC|
KCMO-TV signed on September 27, 1953, from studios on 31st St., East of Main (now occupied by KCPT). Meredith Engineering bought the station and its radio counterparts not long after the sign-on. KCMO began as an ABC affiliate, with some DuMont programming. Among the first local shows at KCMO-TV-- the Sportsman's Friend. Harold Ensley launched the fishing and hunting show in 1953. The Sportsman's Friend became a syndicated show in 1975.
1955-1984 - KCMO-TV - CBS
In 1955, KCMO-TV swapped affiliations with KMBC. KCMO-TV evidently received the CBS affiliation in 1955 as compensation for the loss of another of Meredith's affiliations. Whizzo the Clown had a home on KCMO-TV around 1970, having moved over from KMBC-TV. The station started branding itself as "Television 5" in the 1960s, which later provided the inspiration for the KCTV call letters. KCMO-TV continued to operate on 31st Street until the mid-1980s. Meredith sold the radio stations in 1983, separating KCMO-TV from KCMO-FM and KCMO. The television station moved to a new building on Shawnee Mission Parkway in Fairway, Kansas soon afterward.
1984-2009 - KCTV - CBS
Upon the sale of the radio stations, KCMO-TV became KCTV, branding itself as "TV 5." In the 1980s and early 1990s, KCTV was very competitive with KMBC and WDAF. In the mid-1990s, KCTV rented a helicopter for a while, calling it NewsHawk 5. In the 1990s and early 2000s, KCTV used its iconic broadcast tower in midtown Kansas City as a weather tool, with different light combinations signifying different weather conditions.
Some of the main personalities had been there since the late 1960s, but that began to change after the year 2000, as CBS started aiming for younger viewers, and KCTV sought younger news watchers. Longtime anchor Wendall Anschutz retired in 2001. KCTV stirred the pot with a rebranding that placed an emphasis on immediacy and urgency in the news. Veteran talent like Anne Peterson and Russell Kinsaul left, and others were pressured to leave. That part of the equation later became the focus of a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former director. KCTV eliminated its sports department in 2003, outsourcing to Metro Sports. The "Live, Late Breaking, Investigative" marketing coincided with increased success in CBS prime time programming. KCTV reached #1 in their 10:00 news in 2004; they currently place second. KCTV's investigative stories have won numerous awards.
In November of 2004, Meredith bought local station KSMO, creating a duopoly. KCTV airs several newscasts on KSMO. KCTV started airing news in high definition in September of 2008, becoming the third in the market to do so. KCTV signed off its analog signal June 12, 2009.
2002-current - KCTV - CBS
KCTV-DT signed on in 2002. KCTV does not operate on any subchannels. Previously, they aired games from the first three rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament. That subchannel programming ended in 2011, when CBS moved some NCAA games to Turner Broadcasting properties. In 2009, KCTV's contract with Metro Sports ended; the station went without a sports department for a year before rehiring an in-house sports unit. In 2011, KCTV announced a news partnership with the Kansas City Star. KCTV provides weather and website video for the Star, and the two will supposedly work together on some stories. At the end of 2011, KCTV quietly dropped its 7:00 a.m. newscast from KSMO. In 2014, KCTV added a 6:30 p.m. news on KSMO.