Call Letters: KMBC-TV
City of License: Kansas City, MO
Owner: Hearst Television
DT HAAT/ERP: 1175ft/1000kw
1953-1955 - KMBC-TV - CBS|
Both KMBC-TV and WHB-TV signed on August 2, 1953, using a time-sharing agreement that allowed both stations to broadcast on the same channel (though probably slightly different frequencies). Cook Paint and Varnish Company owned WHB-TV, and Midland Broadcasting owned KMBC-TV, broadcasting from the Lyric Opera House in downtown Kansas City. KMBC-TV and WHB-TV used separate studios. The two stations merged as KMBC-TV to create a full-time station on June 14, 1954, under Cook's ownership. The long-running Whizzo the Clown show launched at KMBC-TV in 1954, lasting for around 15 years before changing stations. The station had originally hired the man who played Whizzo as a film editor. KMBC-TV lost its CBS affiliation to KCMO-TV in September 1955.
1955-2009 - KMBC-TV - ABC
Metromedia bought the station, and its radio counterparts, in 1961, then sold the radio stations to Bonneville Broadcasting in 1967 (the radio stations later became KMBZ and KMBR). KMBC branded itself as "Metromedia 9" and sometimes "MM9" on the slides. One of the more popular local kids' shows, featuring Torey Southwick, and puppet Old Gus, had a home here in the 1960s.
Hearst Broadcasting bought KMBC (and the Lyric Theatre) in 1982, just when the station was beginning to see some big success. KMBC started placing first in the news ratings, and stayed that way for much of the decade. Hearst sold the Lyric Theatre in 1990. After a brief lull in the early 1990s, the station returned to the top, and has pretty much stayed there since that time. KMBC carried Royals games from the late 1990s to 2002, sharing with sister station KCWE.
KMBC moved out of their downtown cove into a new state-of-the-art building, near I-435 and 63rd St., in 2007. The move to the new studio came with a transition to high definition newscasts. KMBC was the first station in the market to broadcast news in HD. KMBC also expanded its morning news an additional two hours on KCWE. In 2011, KMBC won all weekday newscast time periods. KMBC signed off analog programming June 12, 2009. But KMBC acted as the market's "night light" station, running a continuous DTV informercial loop until mid-July 2009.
Several of KMBC's personalities have been at the station for 20 or more years. Aside from a brief period in Chicago and San Francisco, anchor Larry Moore spent more than 40 years at KMBC. But longevity does not always equal happiness with management. In 1983, anchor Christine Craft won a sexual harassment judgment (lost on appeal) against the station. In 2008, three female anchors and reporter in their late 40s or early 50s sued the station for age discrimination. The station and the employees reached a settlement in 2011.
2002-current - KMBC-TV - ABC
KMBC-DT signed on in May of 2002 on channel 7. It moved to channel 29 after KCWE's analog signal left the air, allowing both KQTV in St. Joseph, and KOAM in Pittsburgh, to use digital channel 7. At first, KMBC broadcasted weather and standard definition programming on its subchannels. KMBC added Me-TV, a vintage television and movie network, to its digital subchannel on June 21, 2011.
In 2009, sports director Len Dawson semi-retired, scaling back is duties to choice Chiefs appearances. In November 2013, Longtime anchor Larry Moore retired from regular duties. In 2014, 25-year weatherman Joel Nichols left the station. While KMBC continues to win the late news, and sometimes the morning news, its early evening shows began to suffer major declines in 2012, after the end of the Oprah Winfrey syndicated show and its replacement Dr. Oz.