|Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas|
|City of license||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Branding||Fox 4 (general)
Fox 4 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Working for You (general/news)
The Calm During the Storm (weather)
|Channels||Digital: 34 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Antenna TV (DT2)
(sale to Tribune Broadcasting pending)
(WDAF License, Inc.)
|First air date||October 16, 1949|
|Call letters' meaning||Sequentially assigned to former AM sister; unofficially means Why Dial Any Further?|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949-2009)
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
WDAF-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station serving Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. Owned by Local TV (itself owned by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners), it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 34 (virtual channel 4.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter at its studios on Summit Street in the city's Signal Hill section. On cable, WDAF-TV is carried on Time Warner Cable and SureWest channel 6, and AT&T U-verse channel 4.
In addition, it serves as an alternate Fox affiliate for the Saint Joseph market as the station's transmitter provides a city-grade off-air signal in St. Joseph proper. However since June 2, 2012, St. Joseph is served by an in-market affiliate, News-Press & Gazette Company television flagship KNPN-LD, whose launch resulted in WDAF-TV being replaced by KNPN on area cable and satellite providers, ending WDAF's status as that market's default Fox affiliate.
- 1 History
- 2 Digital television
- 3 Programming
- 4 News operation
- 5 References
- 6 External links
As an NBC affiliate
WDAF began operations on October 16, 1949 as the second television station in Missouri (following St. Louis's KSDK, which signed on the air two years earlier) and the first in Kansas City. The station was originally owned by the Kansas City Star, along with WDAF radio (then at 610 AM, now occupied by KCSP; now at 106.5 FM). WDAF-TV is among a handful of television and radio stations in the United States that is an exception to the FCC rule requiring stations located west of the Mississippi River to have callsigns start with a "K" and stations east of the river to begin their callsigns with a "W", due to the fact that Kansas City was originally located to the east of the original "K"/"W" line distinction. It was affiliated with all four major networks of the time: NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont. It was a primary NBC affiliate, owing to WDAF radio's long affiliation with NBC Radio.
Randall Jessee was the station's first anchorman. Several other notables, including WDAF-TV's first weathercaster Shelby Storck and future Hollywood character actor Owen Bush, did announcing for the station during the early 1950s. For years, the station signed on and off each day to a recording of Gordon MacRae singing "The Lord's Prayer." When KMBC-TV (channel 9) signed on in 1953, CBS and DuMont programming moved there. WDAF shared the ABC affiliation with KMBC until later in 1953, when KCMO-TV (channel 5, now KCTV) signed on as the ABC affiliate. WDAF then became an exclusive NBC affiliate (KMBC and KCMO swapped affiliations two years later). The station pre-empted moderate amounts of NBC programming, usually some daytime shows and occasionally a prime time show.
In 1953, the federal government began antitrust action against the Star over WDAF-AM-TV. The investigation was reportedly opened at the behest of Harry Truman, who had a long-running feud with the Star; the court ruled against the Star in 1955. After appeals failed, it signed a consent decree in 1957 requiring it to sell its broadcasting properties. WDAF-AM-TV was sold to National-Missouri Broadcasters in 1958. In 1960, National-Missouri merged with Transcontinent Broadcasting of Buffalo, New York. Under Transcontinent, the two stations picked up an FM sister at 102.1 (later KYYS and now KCKC). Transcontinent merged with Taft Broadcasting on April 1, 1964. On July 13, 1984, WDAF-TV became one of the first 20 NBC stations in the country to receive network programming via satellite. In 1986, WDAF-TV also became the first television station in Kansas City to broadcast in stereo. On October 12, 1987, Taft was restructured into Great American Broadcasting after a hostile takeover. By that year, WDAF had overtaken KMBC as the dominant station in Kansas City, as was the trend at many NBC affiliates. In December 1993, Great American Broadcasting was restructured again after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and became known as Citicasters.
As a Fox station
In 1993, Fox won the rights to broadcast the NFC football package from CBS, after which New World Communications signed a long-term deal to switch most of its stations to Fox, starting in the fall of 1994. In the spring of 1994, Citicasters sold WDAF-TV, along with Phoenix's KSAZ (channel 10), to New World, separating the station from WDAF radio (which Citicasters retained). Two other Citicasters stations, Birmingham's WBRC (channel 6) in and Greensboro, North Carolina's WGHP (channel 8), were placed in a blind trust and later sold directly to Fox; in the case of WBRC, it was because New World already owned Birmingham's NBC affiliate WVTM (channel 13) after its purchase of Argyle Television and could not keep it due to FCC rules at the time that did not permit television duopolies.
WDAF-TV became a Fox affiliate on September 12, 1994 (three days after New World officially closed on its purchase of WDAF-TV and KSAZ-TV); the NBC affiliation moved to Kansas City's original Fox affiliate, KSHB (channel 41), NBC agreed to affiliate with KSHB on the condition that KSHB run as much local news as WDAF did as an NBC affiliate. The switch to Fox ended channel 4's status as the unofficial "home" station of the Kansas City Chiefs (ironically in other markets, New World-owned stations continued their relationships with NFL teams). The station had aired most Chiefs games as part of the American Football League/American Football Conference package since 1965, when NBC began airing AFL, and later AFC games. WDAF is one of two former New World stations that switched to Fox that is located in an AFC market (the other being Cleveland's WJW). WDAF is also the only former New World-owned station that switched from NBC to Fox; New World's two other NBC affiliates, WVTM in Birmingham and KNSD (channel 39), remained with the network and were subsequently sold to NBC (KNSD is still owned by NBCUniversal, while WVTM is now owned by Media General). Of the other New World stations that changed their affiliation to Fox – eight were CBS affiliates, and three others were ABC affiliates. After the affiliation switch, WDAF-TV did not purchase any of KSHB's syndicated programming inventory and declined to run the Fox Kids weekday afternoon and Saturday morning programming blocks; those programs ended up on then-independent station KSMO (channel 62, now a MyNetworkTV affiliate). The station added talk shows to round out their schedule.
Fox Television Stations bought most of the New World Communications stations in the fall of 1996 (though the New World name remained as a licensing purpose corporation for WDAF and its sister stations until 2007 under Fox, and since 2009 under Local TV), officially making WDAF a Fox owned-and-operated station, and the first major network O&O in the Kansas City market since DuMont's brief operation of KCTY in 1954. Following the acquisition's January 22, 1997 completion, WDAF changed its branding from "Newschannel 4" (which was adopted by the station while still an NBC affiliate) to "Fox 4" on January 26 (coinciding with Fox's telecast of Super Bowl XXXI).
On December 22, 2007, Fox entered into an agreement to sell WDAF and seven other Fox O&O stations to the Oak Hill Capital Partners subsidiary Local TV, which already owned nine stations formerly with The New York Times Company; the sale was finalized on July 14, 2008. WDAF-TV debuted a new website operated by Tribune Interactive on January 27, 2009, taking over from News Corp. Digital Media's website hosting platform; Local TV then migrated its stations to websites hosted by WordPress.com in January 2012. On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that its stations would be acquired by the Tribune Company.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||720p||16:9||WDAF DT||Main WDAF-TV programming / Fox|
|4.2||480i||4:3||WDAF SD||Antenna TV|
On September 23, 2005, WDAF-TV began broadcasting in full-power high definition, going from an HD signal rated at 1.2 Kilowatts to a signal strength of 1000 Kilowatts. WDAF began carrying Antenna TV on the station's 4.2 digital subchannel on February 13, 2011.
As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WDAF-TV shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast its digital signal on its pre-transition digital channel 34. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WDAF-TV's virtual channel as its former analog channel 4.
WDAF-TV airs Fox's Animation Domination High-Def block on a half-hour delay due to their 10 p.m. newscast. Syndicated programming on WDAF-TV includes Live! with Kelly & Michael, Judge Judy, Steve Harvey, Queen Latifah, TMZ on TV, Wheel of Fortune (Jeopardy!, usually paired with Wheel in most markets, airs on KSHB), Arsenio, and Seinfeld.
As with most of its former New World-owned sister stations, the station has always refused the network's Saturday morning programming; the station opted not to run Fox Kids programming after affiliating with Fox (Fox gave its affiliates the right of first refusal for the Fox Kids block as it was structured as a program package syndicated by Fox, a local station did not have to carry Fox Kids if another station in that market agreed to carry the block's programming, though by 2001, affiliates were no longer required to run the Fox Kids lineup even if the network did not secure another station to carry it). Fox Kids aired locally on KSMO-TV (channel 62, now a MyNetworkTV affiliate) from 1994 to 1998; KCWE (channel 29, now a CW affiliate) from 1998 to 1999; and finally on KMCI-TV (channel 38) from 1999 to 2008, under the Fox Kids, Fox Box and 4Kids TV brandings (WDAF aired syndicated children's programming in place of the network's children's block). Fox ended its network-supplied children's programming on December 28, 2008, replacing it with the network's Weekend Marketplace paid programming block thereafter, which is not carried by any station in the market.
The station was the over-the-air flagship station of the Kansas City Royals for many years, long after many Big Three affiliates dropped regular coverage of local sports. It lost the broadcast rights for the games in 1992, after a 13-year business relationship that started in 1979. The station also broadcast Kansas City Chiefs pre-season games from 1997 to 1999, upgrading the local production presentation to network quality standards.
WDAF-TV presently broadcasts 59½ hours of local news per week (with ten hours on weekdays, 4½ hours on Saturdays and five hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest local newscast output among the Kansas City's television stations; however as is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, WDAF's Sunday 5 p.m. newscasts are subject to preemption due to network sports coverage (though the Saturday 5 p.m. newscast is usually delayed to 6 p.m. during baseball season). The station also operates a Hummer called "Storm Fox" for tracking severe weather events; until August 31, 2009, WDAF-TV used a news helicopter, called "Sky Fox" for traffic and breaking news reporting, and severe weather coverage – WDAF-TV was the first station in Kansas City to use a helicopter for traffic and news reporting. WDAF-TV also has an investigative reporting unit that began in 2003, called the "Fox 4 Problem Solvers", investigating businesses that have ripped off local consumers and uncovering various scams.
Since WDAF became a Fox affiliate in 1994, the station has placed more emphasis on its newscasts and has maintained a newscast schedule very similar to an ABC, CBS or NBC affiliate; the station added additional newscasts from 7-9 a.m. and 5:30-6 p.m. on weekdays, extended its noon newscast to one hour and debuted an hour-long nightly primetime newscast at 9 p.m., increasing its local news programming from about 30 hours a week to nearly 50 hours. In 1996, WDAF attempted to relaunch the 5:30 p.m. newscast as Your World Tonight, a locally-produced newscast featuring national and international news stories similar in format to the network news programs; the concept was not successful, and it was canceled on January 3, 1997 in favor of returning to a traditional local newscast in the timeslot. The station is one of several Fox stations that have a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot (in WDAF's case, at 10 p.m. Central time), in addition to the primetime (9 p.m.) newscast, along with being one of the few to continue their Big Three-era 10 p.m. newscast after switching affiliations and one of the few Fox stations to run a 10 p.m. (or 11 p.m.) newscast seven nights a week.
In April 2007, Topeka, Kansas Fox affiliate KTMJ-CA (channel 43) began simulcasting WDAF's 7-9 a.m. block of its weekday morning newscast and its nightly 9 p.m. newscasts – ironically though, the over-the-air signals of WDAF-TV and several other Kansas City area stations adequately cover the Topeka area. The simulcasts were dropped in November 2008, and replaced with morning and 9 p.m. newscasts produced by NBC affiliate KSNT (whose then-owners, New Vision Television, bought KTMJ that year).
The station began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition on October 12, 2010, making it the last major network affiliate in the market to broadcast its news programming in HD. On March 24, 2011, WDAF-TV added a 9 a.m. hour to its weekday morning newscast, expanding the newscast to five hours; a few weeks later on April 11, WDAF-TV also became the first Fox station (and one of only a handful of television stations in the Central and Mountain time zones) to expand its late evening 10 p.m. newscast to one hour. On October 3, 2011, WDAF expanded its weekday morning newscast to 5½ hours in length, from 4:30-10 a.m., becoming the last station in the Kansas City market to expand its weekday morning newscast into the 4:30 a.m. slot.
Dating back to when WDAF was an NBC affiliate, the station has often battled Hearst-owned KMBC (and at times, KCTV also) for the highest-rated local newscast in Kansas City. During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, WDAF-TV was in second place behind KMBC, but the station ended the latter decade as #1 news station in the Kansas City market. As soon as the station switched from NBC to Fox, KMBC made a short resurgence to #1 in the market. WDAF-TV has since rotated between first and second place with either KMBC or KCTV in various timeslots since the late 1990s after the network switch, with its local newscasts remaining competitive with its rival NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates.
In the February 2011 Nielsen ratings, WDAF-TV had the highest-rated newscast in Kansas City in the morning and primetime slots, and placed second overall amongst all area stations. During the February sweeps period, its weekday morning newscast led all area stations in the 7-9 a.m. time period with a 6.7 household rating and tied with KMBC in the 6 a.m. hour with a 5.4 rating; the 9 p.m. newscast carried a 6.8 rating, easily beating the KCTV-produced newscast on KSMO, the KMBC-produced newscast on KCWE and network programming on KMBC, KSHB and KCTV. WDAF-TV placed second against both KCTV at noon and KMBC-TV in the 5 p.m. time period.
- Your Esso Reporter (1949–1953)
- The Pepsi-Cola Report (1953–1961)
- The Big News (1961–1964)
- The Sixth Hour Report/The Eleventh Hour Report (1964–1974)
- Glen Hansen News (1970s)
- (Channel 4) Action News (1974–1979)
- Action 4 News (1979–1990)
- Action 4 Nightcast (10 p.m. newscast; 1982–1990)
- WDAF 4 News (1990–1992)
- NewsChannel 4 (1992–1997; WDAF-TV kept this news title after switch to Fox in 1994)
- Your World Tonight (5:30 p.m. newscast; 1996–1997)
- Fox 4 News (1997–present)
- "Your Picture Window on the World" (1950s–1960s)
- "Kansas City's Full Color Station" (1960s)
- "Catch 4" (1976–1979)
- "TV-4, Proud as a Peacock!" (1979–1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- "Four Has More!" (1982–1987; general slogan)
- "Kansas City's News Leader" (1982–1992; news slogan)
- "Four Does More" (1987–1992)
- "Kansas City's 24-Hour Newschannel" (1992–1999)
- "Working For You" (1999–present)
- "The Calm During the Storm" (weather slogan; 2005–present)
Current on-air staff
- Mark Alford - Fox 4 News Morning Show 7-10A and Fox 4 News at Noon
- Kim Byrnes - Fox 4 News Morning Show 4:30-7A
- Rob Collins - Fox 4 News at 5, 6, and 10P (weekends)
- Abby Eden - Fox 4 News at 6 and 10P
- Katie Ferrell - Fox 4 Saturday/Sunday; also weekday reporter
- Loren Halifax - Fox 4 News Morning Show 7-10A and Fox 4 News at Noon
- Susan Hiland - Fox 4 News at 5 and 9P
- John Holt - Fox 4 News at 5 and 9P
- Mary Pulley - Fox 4 News at 5, 6, and 10P (weekends); also weekday reporter
- Nick Vasos - Fox 4 News Morning Show 4:30-7A
- Phil Witt - Fox 4 News at 6 and 10P
FOX 4 Weather Team
- Mike Thompson (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; Fox 4 News at 5, 6, 9, 10P
- Michelle Bogowith (AMS Seal of Approval)- Fox 4 News at 9A and 12 Noon
- Joe Lauria (AMS and NWA Seals of Approval - Fox 4 Saturday/Sunday and Fox 4 News at 5, 6, 9, and 10P (weekends)
- Karli Ritter (AMS Seal of Approval) - Fox 4 News Morning Show 4:30-9A
Fox 4 Sports
- Al Wallace - Sports Director; (Sundays at 5P, Monday-Thursdays at 6P and Sunday-Thursdays at 9, 10 and 10:30P)
- Jason Lamb - Sports Anchor; (Saturdays at 6P, Sundays at 5 and 10:30P, and Saturday/Sundays at 9 and 10P; also sports reporter).
General Assignment Reporters
- Macradee Aegerter
- Charly Arnolt (weekday morning reporter)
- Eric Burke (also breaking news reporter)
- Monica Evans
- Sharita Hutton
- Tess Koppelman
- Rob Low
- Sean McDowell
- Michelle Pekarsky
- John Pepitone
- Kathy Quinn (weekday morning and noon reporter; also "Pay It Forward" feature reporter)
- Matt Stewart (weekday morning and noon reporter)
- Robert Townsend
- Linda Wagar (also "Problem Solver" investigative reporter)
- Carey Wickersham
- Sarah J. Clark (Interactive Content Producer)
- Shawn Edwards (film critic)
- Meryl Lin McKean (medical reporter)
- Russ Simmons (film critic)
- Nick Vasos (Morning Traffic Reporter)
Notable former on-air staff
- Owen Bush - station announcer (1950s)
- Jack Cafferty - news and weather anchor (now a news commentator for CNN)
- Harris Faulkner - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (1992-2000; now with Fox News Channel)
- Stacy Smith - evening anchor (1977–1983; now anchor at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh)
- Shelby Storck - weather anchor (1950s–1960s)
- Bob Wells - announcer and weekend weatherman (1959–1965; later at WJW-TV in Cleveland, now an actor/announcer in the Tampa Bay area)
- Callsign Meaning
- Fox station to debut on June 2, St. Joseph News-Press, May 17, 2012.
- Fox 26 KNPN Coverage Area
- FOX wins rights to broadcast NFC football package from CBS, 1993
- FOX, Inc. and New World Communications
- Citicasters, Inc., announces completion of sale of three television stations
- FOX TV Stations bought most of New World Communications stations
- "WDAF to become 'Fox 4' in wake of network takeover". Kansas City Star. January 23, 1997. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- News Corporation
- Oak Hill Capital Partners Completes Acquisition of 8 TV Station sales
- Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- WDAF to Launch 'Antenna TV' Channel
- WDAF-TV began carrying Antenna TV on sub channel
- "DTV transition table". FCC.
- "Panelists on the future of TV news", St. Louis Journalism Review, December 1, 1994. Retrieved March 16, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
- "Channel 4 kills 'national' newscast, shuffles programs". Kansas City Star. January 5, 1997. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- Fox 4 enters the HD era — finally Kansas City Star, October 10, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
- FOX 4 News Introduces New 9 a.m. Show
- WDAF Expands 10 P.M. News to Full Hour
- Fox 4 is Last in KC market to move to 4:30 AM start
- KMBC's frosty, fabulous February, Kansas City Star, March 3, 2011.
- Channel 4 Action News as newscast title
- Action 4 Nightcast as 10 pm newscast title
- Your World Tonight as 5:30pm newscast title
- Your Picture Window on the World slogan
- Kansas City's News Leader slogan
- Kansas City's 24-Hour Newschannel slogan
- Working For You slogan
- FOX 4 News Team
- Landsberg, John (17 October 2012). "WDAF-TV Celebrates its 63rd Anniversary". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Shuler, Deardra. "Harris Faulkner: Facing Her Past on ‘A Current Affair’". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WDAF-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WDAF-TV