|St. Louis, Missouri
|Branding||KMOV 4 (general)
News 4 St. Louis (newscasts)
|Slogan||News 4 never stops watching out for you|
|Channels||Digital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|First air date||July 8, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||disambiguation of former KMOX-TV callsign|
|Former callsigns||KWK-TV (1954–1958)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1954–2009)
56 (UHF, until 2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1954–1955)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||341 m (1,119 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
KMOV, channel 4, is a CBS-affiliated television station located in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by Meredith Corporation. KMOV maintains studio and office facilities located at the Gateway Tower in Downtown St. Louis, near the Gateway Arch; its transmitter is located in Lemay, Missouri.
The station first signed on the air on July 8, 1954 as KWK-TV. At its launch, channel 4 was owned by a consortium that included the Convey family and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, who jointly operated KWK radio (1380 AM, now KXFN); the owners of KXOK radio (630 AM, frequency now occupied by KYFI), which had to be sold as a condition of the license grant; and Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting. Each of the station's part-owners had competed individually for the channel 4 construction permit before agreeing to merge their interests only three months before the station went on the air. Upon signing-on KWK-TV took the CBS affiliation from Belleville, Illinois-licensed WTVI (channel 54, now KTVI channel 2). Until 1955, it also aired ABC programs that WTVI declined to broadcast. The station's original studios, built by KWK radio in anticipation of television, were located on Cole Street in Downtown West.
However, CBS was planning to operate its own television station in St. Louis alongside its powerhouse radio station, KMOX (1120 AM). The network originally won the permit to build a new station on channel 11 – the last remaining commercial VHF channel in St. Louis – in January 1957. But after being approached with an offer, CBS decided in August of that year to buy KWK-TV instead for $4 million. The agreement required CBS to give up its construction permit for channel 11, and the Federal Communications Commission transferred it to one of the failed applicants, a group led by St. Louis hotelier Harold Koplar, for no financial consideration. Almost immediately, the deal was held up after the St. Louis Amusement Company, another of the original applicants for channel 11, protested to the United States Court of Appeals in January 1958. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld the decision in November of that year. CBS had already took control of channel 4's operations that March, and changed its call letters to KMOX-TV in reference to its new radio sister. The following April, channel 11 signed on as independent station KPLR-TV.
In July 1968 CBS opened a new studio and office facility in downtown St. Louis to house the KMOX stations, which until that point had been operating from separate locations (KMOX radio was headquartered near Forest Park). Channel 4 moved from Cole Street into the new facility, known as One Memorial Drive, and remains there to the present day; the Cole Street studio was soon acquired by KDNL-TV (channel 30), which has operated from there since it signed-on in June 1969.
By late 1985, CBS was in rough financial straits, an after-effect of successfully fending off a hostile takeover attempt by Ted Turner the year before. CBS spent the latter portion of 1985 repurchasing a large portion of its stock to help block the Turner takeover. Once Turner sold his stock, CBS was saddled with significant debt and needed to raise money. Not long after Laurence Tisch became the company's chairman, CBS decided to sell KMOX-TV, at the time its smallest owned-and-operated television station by market size. On May 16, 1986, former CBS subsidiary and future parent company Viacom completed its $122.5 million purchase of the station and modified its callsign to KMOV almost a month later on June 18. Despite the sale, channel 4's operations continued to be based alongside KMOX radio at their downtown studios on Memorial Drive; KMOX would relocate from that building in 2012.
As a CBS-owned station, channel 4 cleared the entire network schedule. When Viacom took over in 1986, this changed rather drastically. KMOV began signing off the air at night, thus preempting the overnight news program CBS News Nightwatch. A barrage of scattered primetime preemptions later followed that was so rampant, the station earned a mention in Ken Auletta's 1991 book, Three Blind Mice. KMOV randomly replaced CBS prime-time shows with programming such as Billy Graham Crusades and National Geographic specials, syndicated movie packages, and occasional sporting events. According to Auletta, KMOV preempted 103 hours of CBS primetime programs in 1987, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the network primetime schedule. In the 1990s, the primetime preemptions eased, and currently, the station only occasionally preempts a CBS primetime show. The station also resumed a 24-hour broadcast schedule in the early 1990s.
Viacom purchased Paramount Pictures in 1993, and merged its five-station group (KMOV; WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York; WNYT in Albany, New York; WVIT in New Britain, Connecticut; and KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana) into the Paramount Stations Group. However, in 1994, the company decided to divest itself of all of its major network affiliates to focus on stations that carried its then-upstart UPN network. The A. H. Belo Corporation acquired KMOV in a three-way deal also involving two stations in the Seattle-Tacoma market. As part of the transaction, A. H. Belo (which spun-off its broadcast holdings into a separate, similarly-named company in 2008) sold KIRO-TV (included in the deal because the company had recently acquired that market's NBC affiliate KING-TV) to Cox Enterprises, who concurrently sold its existing Seattle-Tacoma station, KSTW, to Viacom. The deal was consummated on June 1, 1997.
On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company, owner of NBC affiliate KSDK (channel 5), announced that it would acquire Belo. As the deal would violate FCC regulations that disallow common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market (KMOV and KSDK have ranked as the top two stations in the St. Louis market in total-day ratings for several years), Gannett would retain KSDK, while it would spin off KMOV to Sander Media, LLC (owned by former Belo executive Jack Sander). Gannett intended to provide services to the station through a shared services agreement, KMOV's operations were to remain largely separate from KSDK, including separate and competing news and sales departments. However, on December 16, 2013, the United States Department of Justice threatened to block the merger unless Gannett, Belo and Sander completely divested KMOV to a government-approved third-party company that would be barred from entering into any agreements with Gannett. Justice claimed that Gannett and Sander would be so closely aligned that Gannett would have dominated spot advertising in St. Louis. On December 23, 2013, shortly after the Gannett/Belo deal was approved and completed, Meredith Corporation, which owns fellow CBS affiliate KCTV on the other side of Missouri in Kansas City, announced that it would purchase KMOV, along with KTVK and KASW in Phoenix for $407.5 million. The sale of KMOV was completed on February 28, 2014.
- 1954–1958: KWK, Incorporated, original licensee, made up of a consortium: KWK radio, jointly-owned by Robert T. Convey (28%) and the Newhouse Newspapers-published St. Louis Globe-Democrat (23%); Elzey M. Roberts Sr., former owner of KXOK radio, which was sold in accordance with merger agreement (23%); and Missouri Valley Television Inc., made up of Hubbard Broadcasting (23%) and several St. Louis residents (combined 3%).
- 1958–1986: CBS, which merged the station into its existing KMOX radio and changed the call sign to KMOX-TV.
- 1986–1997: Viacom International Television, Inc., subsidiary of the original Viacom, the former production/syndication arm of CBS which was spun-off from the network in 1971; call sign changed to present KMOV. Following Viacom's purchase of Paramount Pictures in 1993, Viacom's stations became part of the Paramount Stations Group.
- 1997–2013: Belo Corporation, Dallas, Texas-based newspaper publisher and broadcaster. Known as "A. H. Belo Corporation" until 2002; this name now belongs to a newspaper company spun off in 2008.
- 2013–2014: Sander Media, LLC, a company separate from Gannett Company, which purchased Belo's assets in 2013 and was forced to separate KMOV to comply with FCC regulations.
- 2014–present: Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa-based television station operator and magazine publisher.
KMOV's digital signal, broadcasting on UHF channel 24, is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||1080i||16:9||KMOV-HD||Main KMOV programming / CBS|
KMOV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to UHF channel 24 (which was previously used for the analog signal of KNLC). Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
KMOV presently broadcasts 28½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays, and three hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). In addition, the station produces the half-hour sports wrap-up program Sports Sunday, which airs on Sundays after the 10 p.m. newscast. Many members of KMOV's on-air news staff have moved on to work for national news organizations (Richelle Carey and meteorologist Reynolds Wolf, for example, both joined CNN in 2006). While it would seem like a positive aspect, the "revolving door" turnover rate of its anchors and reporters has been one of KMOV's weaknesses over the years, leading to the unfamiliarity that many of the station's on-air personalities have in the market. Though this may have initially caused some issues for KMOV, ratings for channel 4's newscasts have since increased. Since the departure of Karen Foss from KSDK in December 2006, Larry Conners assumed the title of the longest-serving 10 p.m. news anchor in the market until he was fired by the station in 2013.
In 1976, channel 4 became the second station to adopt Dick Marx's "WBBM Channel 2 News Theme", that eventually became the de facto official newscast music for CBS' owned-and-operated stations. The theme was dropped by the station in 1986 after Viacom took control, though from 2001 to 2008, the station used the Frank Gari-composed "CBS Enforcer Music Collection", which uses a music signature derived from the WBBM package. Ironically from 1989 to 1992, KMOV used Gari's "News Series 2000", which was traditionally associated with ABC stations, as its news theme.
KMOX-TV led the ratings in St. Louis for most of the period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, as was common with most of its CBS-owned sister stations. From the early 1980s until recently, KMOX-TV/KMOV was a solid, if distant, runner-up to KSDK. However until the mid-1990s, the station had to fend off spirited competition from KTVI. Although KMOV's newscasts were critically favored, they were rarely rewarded with a ratings win over long-dominant KSDK, with the 10 p.m. newscast regularly winning at least a 20% share in viewership, while KSDK averaged about a 30% share. KMOV has seen significant ratings growth since 2004, and beat KSDK at 10 p.m. both during the November 2004 sweeps period – the first time in over a quarter-century that KSDK did not place first in any timeslot – and during the May and November 2006 sweeps periods; it also became the most-watched late evening newscast in the United States during the latter period. Most of the ratings growth at 10 p.m. was attributed to CBS' primetime ratings increases and NBC's large drop in viewership. However, KMOV also saw growth in all of its other newscast timeslots, even where the station does not benefit from a strong CBS lead-in. Starting in late 2013, KMOV started to dominate the news ratings in most newscasts, winning the noon, 5, 6 and 10pm newscasts. KSDK plummeted to last place at 5 and 6pm for the first time in the history of the station. Larry Conners-less KMOV has won the 10pm newscast in every demographic every month since Larry departed the station in May 2013.
On January 27, 2008, beginning with its 5:30 p.m. newscast, KMOV became the second television station in the St. Louis market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition (after KSDK, which has produced its newscasts in the format since 2006).
Notable current on-air staff
- Andre Hepkins - weekday mornings on News 4 This Morning (4:30-7:00 a.m.)
- Steve Savard - weeknights at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
Notable former on-air staff
- Richelle Carey - reporter (2003–2006; now at HLN)
- Roger Grimsby - reporter/news correspondent (1959–1961; deceased)
- Jim Hart - weekend sports anchor (former quarterback for the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals)
- Linda Lorelle - reporter (late 1980s; later worked at KPRC-TV in Houston)
- Russ Mitchell - anchor/reporter (late 1980s; later with CBS News, now at WKYC in Cleveland)
- Regis Philbin - hosted one of his early syndicated shows from the KMOX-TV studios (1972–1975)
- Barry Serafin - weekend anchor/reporter (became Washington, D.C. correspondent for CBS News in 1971; later with ABC News)
- Reynolds Wolf - meteorologist (2005–2006; later at CNN and at WSB-TV in Atlanta; now with The Weather Channel)
Other locally-produced programming
In February 2002, KMOV partnered with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to produce the weekly news discussion program Extra Edition, hosted by now-former weekday morning anchor Marc Cox. In 2003, KMOV began producing At the Zoo, a program that gives a behind-the-scenes look inside the St. Louis Zoo and was hosted by meteorologist Kent Ehrhardt (encore presentations of older episodes aired from 2009 to 2011). In September 2008, KMOV premiered Great Day St. Louis, an hour-long daytime talk show, mostly focusing on entertainment and lifestyle topics in the St. Louis area (the show is currently hosted by Virginia Kerr, Carol Daniel, Matt Chambers and Kent Ehrhardt). In January 2011, KMOV debuted At the Center, which features an inside look at attractions at the St. Louis Science Center.
- "KWK-TV begins; six others ready." Broadcasting - Telecasting, July 12, 1954, pg. 68.
- "St. Louis Ch. 4 grant proposed after merger." Broadcasting - Telecasting, April 19, 1954, pg. 60.
- "KWK celebrates 23rd anniversary." St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly, March 20, 1950.
- "FCC acts to clear key market V's." Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 21, 1957, pp. 35-37. 
- "CBS buys KWK-TV for $4 million." Broadcasting - Telecasting, September 30, 1957, pg. 48.
- "New alignment set for St. Louis TV." Broadcasting - Telecasting, October 28, 1957, pg. 73.
- "Court issues temporary stay in St. Louis ch. 11 situation." Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 6, 1958, pg. 74.
- "Supreme Court refuses plea to upset St. Louis TV grant." Broadcasting - Telecasting, November 24, 1958, pg. 79.
- "CBS-TV takes over KWK-TV." Broadcasting - Telecasting, March 3, 1958, pg. 10.
- "Pressed into service." Broadcasting, May 18, 1959, pg. 80.
- "D'Arcy's new office reflects spirit of St. Louis." Broadcasting, July 15, 1968, pg. 26.
- "The second 50 years of the Fifth Estate." Broadcasting, December 30, 1985, pg. 70.
- "CBS puts KMOX-TV on the block." Broadcasting, October 28, 1985, pg. 110.
- "In brief." Broadcasting, December 9, 1985, pg. 120.
- "For the Record." Broadcasting, June 30, 1986, pg. 64. (call letter change from KMOX-TV to KMOV)
- Auletta, Ken (1991). Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way. Random House. ISBN 0307766330.
- Zier, Julie A., and McClellan, Steve. "Minority-led group eyes Viacom stations." Broadcasting and Cable, November 7, 1994, pp. 6. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- McClellan, Steve. "Netlets dealing for affiliates." Broadcasting and Cable, February 24, 1997, pg. 10. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- Seven, Richard (January 21, 1997). "CBS Link Likely To Stay With KSTW -- Buyer Experienced In Broadcast News". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
- Brown, Lisa (June 13, 2013). "Gannett to buy TV station owner Belo for $1.5 billion". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- Eggerton, John (December 16, 2013). "Justice: Sander Can't Keep KMOV". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- Gannett Completes Its Acquisition of Belo, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved 23 December, 2013
- "Meredith Buying Three Stations From Gannett". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- Brown, Lisa (February 28, 2014). "Meredith Corp. closes on $177 million purchase of KMOV". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KMOV
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Digital Television Transition Problematic For Some, Don Corrigan, Webster-Kirkwood Times, January 23, 2009 indicates both KMOV and KNLC as digital-only
- Belo Corp. | Press Releases
- Belo Corp. | Press Releases
- KMOV.com - KMOV-TV official website
- MeTVStLouis.com - Me-TV St. Louis official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KMOV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KMOV-TV