- Not to be confused with KNBC.
|Kansas City, Missouri|
|Branding||KMBC Channel 9 (general)
KMBC 9 News (news)
|Slogan||The Team You Trust
Kansas City's News Leader
|Channels||Digital: 29 (UHF)
Virtual: 9 (PSIP)
(KMBC Hearst Television, Inc.)
|First air date||August 2, 1953|
|Call letters' meaning||Midland Broadcasting Company (founding owners)|
|Former callsigns||WHB-TV (shared operation, 1953–1954)|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
9 (VHF, 1953–2009)
7 (VHF, 2002–2009)
|Former affiliations||CBS (1953–1955)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
KMBC-TV, channel 9, is an ABC-affiliated television station located in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by the Hearst Television division of the Hearst Corporation, and is part of a duopoly with the area's CW affiliate KCWE (channel 29). The two stations share studios near Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri. KMBC-TV's transmitter is located in eastern Kansas City, near the Blue River.
KMBC-TV also serves as an alternate ABC affiliate for St. Joseph, Missouri, available over-the-air in most of the market and on local satellite providers and select cable providers such as Suddenlink Communications; this is despite the presence of KQTV (channel 2), which is the market's official ABC affiliate and is carried alongside KMBC on some cable providers in the market.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|9.1||1080i||16:9||KMBC-DT||Main KMBC-TV programming / ABC|
KMBC began carrying Me-TV on its second digital subchannel on June 21, 2011. From 2008 to June 20, 2011, the subchannel was an affiliate of The Local AccuWeather Channel, and also broadcast just over the minimum amount of FCC-required E/I children's programming; from September 14, 2010 to June 20, 2011, the channel added a general entertainment block on weeknights from 6-11 p.m., under the branding "MOREtv Kansas City" (a branding previously used by sister station KCWE as a UPN affiliate), which included a 6:30 p.m. encore of KMBC's weeknight 6 p.m. newscast.
KMBC is one of several Hearst-owned stations that broadcasts its digital signal in the 1080i high definition format, instead of ABC's preferred 720p format. KMBC's Hearst-owned ABC-affiliated sister stations WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire, WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, WCVB-TV in Boston and KETV in Omaha also broadcast high defintion programming in this format.
KMBC discontinued regular programming on its analog signal on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition VHF channel 7. As the "analog nightlight" station for the Kansas City market, it aired a loop reminding viewers to get a digital converter box on analog channel 9 until July 12, 2009. On February 19, 2009, the station – after receiving permission from the FCC for a Special Temporary Authority permit – moved its digital signal from channel 7 to UHF channel 29, which had been vacated by sister station KCWE two months before. The station had received viewer complaints about reception due to a combination of Kansas City being an all-UHF digital market besides channel 9 and to address signal conflicts with Pittsburg, Kansas-based KOAM-TV which was allowed to re-utilize its analog channel 7 for its digital channel. It transitioned on February 17 and would have received interference from KMBC-DT as the stations' transmitters are 131 miles (211 km) away from each other, much less than the advised 150 miles (240 km) separation between a shared channel. Through the use of PSIP, KMBC-TV's virtual channel is displayed as 9.
Early years: two stations
The Federal Communications Commission awarded the license of Kansas City's third and last VHF station to two locally-based radio station operators who competed heavily for its construction permit. The Cook Paint and Varnish Company, which operated WHB radio (then at 710 AM, now at 810 AM) and the Midland Broadcasting Company, owners of KMBC radio (980 AM, now KMBZ), began shared operation of channel 9 on August 2, 1953. Under the arrangement, the two separate stations would each alternate 90 minutes of airtime, broadcasting from separate studios but using the same channel allocation and transmitter. The combined KMBC-TV and WHB-TV operation carried programming from CBS.
Cook Paint and Varnish purchased Midland Broadcasting's holdings in April 1954, including KMBC's broadcast facilities in what is now the Lyric Theatre in Downtown Kansas City. On June 14, 1954, KMBC-TV took over channel 9 full-time, absorbing WHB-TV's share of the operation and ending the split-station arrangement. Cook Paint and Varnish also sold WHB radio to Storz Broadcasting in order to comply with FCC rules.
In September 1955, KMBC-TV lost the CBS affiliation to KCMO-TV (channel 5, now KCTV), and the station took on KCMO-TV's former primary affiliation with ABC. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
In 1959, Cook Paint and Varnish bought KDRO-TV in Sedalia, Missouri and changed its calls to KMOS-TV on January 28 of that year. KDRO-TV had been the ABC affiliate for the far eastern portion of the Kansas City market, but ABC refused to give it a network feed to protect KMBC-TV, forcing it to switch to and from channel 9's signal during network programming.
Cook Paint and Varnish sold the KMBC stations, KMOS-TV, and KFRM radio in Concordia, Kansas, to Metropolitan Broadcasting (later Metromedia) in 1961; Metropolitan subsequently spun off KMOS-TV and KFRM. Metromedia signed on KMBC-FM (99.7 FM, now KZPT) the following year, but sold both of the KMBC radio stations to Bonneville International, the broadcasting arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1967.
Over the years, KMBC-TV has pre-empted some ABC programming. Notably under Metromedia ownership, channel 9 declined to air The Brady Bunch when it debuted in 1969, but the station picked up the sitcom a year later. It was also one of the few ABC affiliates to pre-empt the ABC Evening News during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both of these programs were instead broadcast on now-defunct independent KCIT-TV (channel 50, channel now occupied by KPXE-TV). In 1974, Metromedia changed the lease terms of the Lyric Theatre and was given total control of the building.
In December 1980, KMBC-TV hired Christine Craft to co-anchor the station's evening newscasts. Although channel 9 had moved up to number one in the market during this time, a focus group claimed Craft was "too old, too unattractive and not deferential to men." At the time, Craft was 36 and her co-anchor Scott Feldman was 31. Craft resigned from the station nine months later after rejecting a demotion to a reporting assignment. She then sued Metromedia, accusing KMBC-TV management of both fraud and sexual discrimination; this was one of the first such cases to be widely publicized in the United States. Craft initially won her case, though she lost on appeal.
Sale to Hearst
Prior to its legal battle with Craft, Metromedia sold KMBC-TV and the Lyric Theatre to the Hearst Corporation's broadcasting division in 1982. Under Hearst ownership, the station expanded its local news production. It also built a 343 metres (1,125 ft) high guyed mast broadcast tower in eastern Kansas City on a hill above the Blue River in 1988. Hearst inquired about moving KMBC's operations to a new studio space in 1990, but eventually decided to continue to operate the station out of the Lyric Theatre.
In 1996, Hearst entered into a local marketing agreement with upstart WB affiliate KCWB (channel 29, now CW affiliate KCWE), managing that station alongside KMBC. Hearst later bought channel 29 outright in 2001, through an indirect subsidiary of the company instead of its Hearst-Argyle Television division. KCWE officially became co-owned with KMBC in May 2010, when Hearst Corporation transferred the station's license to the Hearst Television unit. Although KMBC's licensee name remains "KMBC Hearst Television Inc.", the copyright tag at the end of its newscasts reads "Hearst Stations Inc." which is the licensee name for KCWE.
On August 23, 2007, the station's operations moved from the Lyric Theatre to a new studio facility at 6455 Winchester Avenue, near Swope Park. Although its former radio sisters had changed their call signs decades earlier, KMBC-TV's legal call sign has retained its "-TV" suffix to this day. Under Hearst, KMBC was again the focus of a lawsuit filed by female journalists at the station. In 2008, Maria Antonia, Peggy Breit and Kelly Eckerman sued the company alleging age and sex discrimination. The lawsuit was settled in 2010.
KMBC-TV broadcasts all of the ABC network schedule, including network primetime, daytime talk shows and soap operas, Saturday morning children's shows and sports programming. The station also airs The View, Nightline, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! outside of the network's recommended time slots for all three shows, with the latter two delayed due to KMBC airing a block of syndicated sitcoms after its 10 p.m. newscast. Syndicated programming on the station includes Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, Two and a Half Men, Rachael Ray, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, and Frasier.
From its 1980 debut until 2011, KMBC delayed Nightline to midnight, 90 minutes later than most ABC stations had carried it at the time (with only minor exceptions for major breaking news events), a decision that had been long criticized by some ABC network management and even former Nightline host Ted Koppel; Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which now preceeds it as of January 2013, was also delayed similarly since its January 2003 debut. On January 3, 2011, KMBC pushed Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel ahead a half-hour, starting at 11:37 p.m., citing shifting market conditions making a compelling case to air the two programs a half hour earlier and a request by the network to do so during recent negotiations of KMBC's affiliation agreement with ABC.
KMBC has been the local home of Monday Night Football games involving the Kansas City Chiefs since 2006, airing simulcasts of ESPN-aired games (as was the case when ESPN aired Sunday night games from 1987 to 2005). This is due to the fact that Hearst holds a 20% ownership stake in ESPN (the network's remaining ownership interest is held by ABC parent The Walt Disney Company), and the company's stations have right of first refusal for simulcasts of ESPN's National Football League game telecasts (as do ABC's owned-and-operated stations).
KMBC presently broadcasts 30½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 3½ hours on weekdays, five hours on Saturdays and 4½ hours on Sundays). During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, KMBC was the #1 news station in the market, but the station's newscasts ended the latter decade in second place behind WDAF-TV (channel 4). As soon as that station switched from NBC to Fox in September 1994, KMBC rose back to first place. Currently, it generally battles KCTV for first place weeknights at 10 p.m. while continuing to battle WDAF for first place on weekday mornings. In November 2007, KMBC's newscasts finished the sweeps period first in most news timeslots and tying KCTV in the 10 p.m. time period. In February 2008, its newscasts won all of their time periods outright.
For the February 2011 sweeps period, KMBC was the #1 news station in the Kansas City market with a total-day quarter-hour household rating average of 6.4; the station tied with WDAF-TV during the 6-7 a.m. hour with a 5.4 rating, though WDAF-TV's morning newscast beat KMBC during the 7-9 a.m. slot while Channel 9 aired Good Morning America. The station also placed first among the market's evening newscasts with a 8.1 rating share at 5 p.m., a 9.2 rating at 6 p.m. and a 9.8 rating at 10 p.m. The station's 9 p.m. newscast on KCWE also scored a 1.4 rating for the month ahead slightly above KCTV's primetime newscast on KSMO but well behind longtime 9 p.m. leader, WDAF-TV.
In 2007, its news department won seven Edward R. Murrow Awards, which is the most wins by a station in the country. The station won awards in the news series, feature, news documentary, spot news, continuing coverage, newscast, and overall excellence categories. KMBC unveiled its new purpose-built facility near Swope Park on August 23, 2007 beginning with the 5 p.m. newscast. The new building includes a news set designed by FX Group. With the relocation, channel 9 became the first station in the market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
For many years, KCWE did not air any local newscasts despite being a sister station to KMBC. It cited a fear of cannibalizing the station's audience as a reason not to expand news offerings to KCWE. This changed on March 3, 2008 when that station debuted a two-hour extension of the FirstNews morning newscast, from 7-9 a.m. As is the case on KMBC, the KCWE newscast is broadcast in high definition. On July 30, 2010, like most of its Hearst-owned ABC affiliated sister stations did on that date, KMBC added an hour-long extension of its weekend morning newscast at 8 a.m. This was followed on August 23, 2010 by an expansion of its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours with the program's start time moved up a half-hour to 4:30 a.m. (NBC affiliate KSHB, channel 41, also moved the start time of its morning newscast to 4:30 a.m. on the same date). On September 14, 2010, KMBC launched a half-hour weeknight-only 9 p.m. newscast on KCWE to compete with WDAF-TV's in-house 9 p.m. newscast and the KCTV-produced 9 p.m. newscast on MyNetworkTV affiliate KSMO-TV (channel 62). Management stated the reason behind this was due to The CW's growing ratings.
- Your Esso Reporter (1953–1956)
- The Kansas City Report (1956–1960)
- The Television 9 Report (1960–1965)
- Pulse (5 p.m. newscast)/24 Hours (10 p.m. newscast; 1965–c. 1971)
- Total News (c.1971–1979)
- The News: The xx:00 Report/Update (1979–1983)
- KMBC 9 News (1983–present)
Current on-air staff
KMBC-TV's primary news anchors are Diane Cho (Saturdays at 6 and weekends at 5, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.; also weeknight reporter), Jana Corrie (weekend mornings on First News from 5-6 and 7-9 a.m.; also weeknight reporter), Kelly Eckerman (weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m. (KCWE); also health reporter), David Hall (Saturdays at 6 and weekends at 5, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.; also weeknight reporter), Len Jennings (weeknights at 5, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.), Kris Ketz (weekday mornings on First News from 4:30-7 on KMBC and 7-9 a.m. on KCWE; also weeknight reporter), Larry Moore (weeknights at 6 p.m.), Lara Moritz (weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.) and Donna Pitman (weekday mornings on First News from 4:30-7 on KMBC and 7-9 a.m. on KCWE).
The KMBC 9 First Alert Weather team includes chief meteorologist Bryan Busby (AMS Seal of Approval; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.; also heard on KPRS (103.3 FM)), meteorologists Lisa Teachman (member, AMS; Saturdays at 6 and weekends at 5, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.) and Erin Little (AMS Seal of Approval; member, NWA; weekend mornings on First News from 5-6 and 7-9 a.m.), and weather anchor Joel Nichols (weekday mornings on First News from 4:30-7 on KMBC and 7-9 a.m. on KCWE; also feature reporter and host and producer of Afterwords; heard on KMBZ (980 AM and 98.1 FM)).
The station's sports team includes sports director emeritus Len Dawson (seen during Kansas City Chiefs season and fill-in weeknight anchor), sports director Johnny Kane (weeknights at 6, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.) and sports anchor Karen Kornacki (Saturdays at 6 and weekends at 5, 9 (KCWE) and 10 p.m.; also sports reporter).
The station's reporting staff includes Martin Augustine (general assignment reporter), Peggy Breit (general assignment reporter), Haley Harrison (general assignment reporter), Cliff Judy (general assignment reporter), Micheal Mahoney (general assignment reporter), Stephanie Ramos (weekday morning reporter), Johnny Rowlands ("NewsChopper 9" helicopter pilot; also weekday morning traffic reporter and 5 and 6 p.m. breaking news reporter), Kerri Stowell (weekday morning traffic reporter and weeknight 5 and 6 p.m. news reporter; also weekday, weekend and holiday fill-in anchor) and Brenda Washington (weekday morning reporter). Reporters for the Hearst Television Washington Bureau are Hallie Jackson, Sally Kidd and Laurie Kinney.
Notable former on-air staff
- Walt Bodine (deceased)
- Jonathan Coachman (later with World Wrestling Entertainment, now with ESPN)
- Christine Craft
- Scott Feldman
- Steve Grant
- Jeremy Hubbard (later at ABC News; now anchor at KDVR/KWGN-TV in Denver)
- Craig Sager
- Dan Weinbaum
- RabbitEars TV Query for KMBC
- Abundance of local newscasts pushes Fox 4 to No. 2 in KC, Kansas City Star, April 13, 2011.
- KMBC Launches New TV Channel, Me-TV On Tuesday Retrieved 6-21-2011
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations
- City, Kansas (February 6, 2009). "KC TV stations will delay digital-only switch".
- "Second VHF outlet for Kansas City as FCC grants share-time bid." Broadcasting - Telecasting, June 29, 1953, pp. 61-62. 
- "Share-time stations can share identification spot." Broadcasting - Telecasting, August 3, 1953, pg. 9.
- KMBC-TV advertisement. Broadcasting - Telecasting, September 14, 1953, pg. 139.
- WHB-TV advertisement. Broadcasting - Telecasting, October 5, 1953, pg. 128.
- "WHB-AM-TV buy's Church's KMBC-AM-TV; WHB acquired by Storz family," and "Storz family of Omaha acquires WHB Kansas City in merger deal." Broadcasting - Telecasting, April 26, 1954, pp. 62, 64. 
- "Cook takes over KMBC-AM-TV, KFRM." Broadcasting - Telecasting, June 14, 1954, pg. 95.
- "For the record: Existing TV stations-Actions by FCC." Broadcasting - Telecasting, July 19, 1954, pg. 93.
- KMBC-TV advertisement. Broadcasting - Telecasting, June 14, 1954, pg. 128.
- "Five Meredith stations become CBS affiliates." Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 24, 1955, pg. 62.
- KMBC-TV advertisement. Broadcasting - Telecasting, October 17, 1955, pg. 132.
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films". Boxoffice: 13. November 10, 1956
- "Metropolitan buying KMBC." Broadcasting, December 26, 1960, pp. 51-52. 
- "$9.65 million sale of KMBC." Broadcasting, July 31, 1961, pp. 45-46. 
- "OK given to sale of KMBC, KMBR-FM." Broadcasting, May 8, 1967, pg. 60.
- "Newsroom issue goes to court." Broadcasting, August 1, 1983, pp. 24-25. 
- "Craft decision leaves questions." Broadcasting, August 15, 1983, pp. 28-30. 
- "Craft case continues." Broadcasting, December 23, 1985, pg. 69.
- "Christine Craft wins two, loses big one." Broadcasting, March 10, 1986, pp. 74-75. 
- "Hearst to buy Kansas City VHF for $79 million." Broadcasting, September 14, 1981, pg. 81.
- "In brief." Broadcasting, May 17, 1982, pg. 88.
- Christine Craft II, in 3-D: Trio of KMBC female stars sue, claiming age, gender discrim
- KMBC changes weather channel, settles discrim lawsuit, adds 9 p.m. news
- KMBC boss: Earlier ‘Nightline’ is ‘probably indefinite’, Kansas City Star, January 4, 2011. Retrieved 1-5-2010.
- KMBC's frosty, fabulous February, Kansas City Star, March 3, 2011.
- KMBC-TV News Team