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KCTV 5 logo.png
Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas City, Kansas
United States
City of license Kansas City, Missouri
Branding KCTV 5 (general)
KCTV 5 News (newscasts)
Slogan It's Your News
Channels Digital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 5 (PSIP)
Subchannels 5.1 CBS
Affiliations CBS (secondary until 1955)
Owner Meredith Corporation
(sale to Media General pending)
First air date September 27, 1953 (1953-09-27)
Call letters' meaning Kansas City's TeleVision
Sister station(s) KSMO-TV
Former callsigns KCMO-TV (1953–1983)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
5 (VHF, 1953–2009)
Former affiliations Primary:
ABC (1953–1955)
DuMont (1953–1956)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 344 m
Facility ID 41230
Transmitter coordinates 39°4′14.4″N 94°34′57.5″W / 39.070667°N 94.582639°W / 39.070667; -94.582639Coordinates: 39°4′14.4″N 94°34′57.5″W / 39.070667°N 94.582639°W / 39.070667; -94.582639
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.kctv5.com

KCTV, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 24), is a CBS-affiliated television station serving Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, United States. The station is owned by the Meredith Corporation, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV affiliate KSMO-TV (channel 62). The two stations share studio facilities located on Shawnee Mission Parkway (U.S. 56/U.S. 169) in Fairway, Kansas; KCTV maintains transmitter facilities located on East 31st Street in the Union Hill section of Kansas City, Missouri (adjacent to the studios of PBS member station KCPT (channel 19)).

On cable, the station is available on Time Warner Cable and SureWest channel 3, and Google Fiber and AT&T U-verse channel 5. As the Saint Joseph market does not have a CBS affiliate of its own (as original CBS affiliate KQTV became a full-time ABC affiliate in 1967), KCTV serves as a default affiliate for the area as its transmitter provides a city-grade signal in St. Joseph proper; it is also available on cable and satellite providers in that market.


The station first signed on the air on September 27, 1953 as KCMO-TV (for Kansas City, MissOuri). Founded by the KCMO Broadcasting Corporation, owners of radio station KCMO (then at 810 AM, now at 710 AM), it originally served as a primary ABC and secondary DuMont affiliate. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on East 31st Street, where its transmitter remains to this day (see below). On October 2, six days after its debut, Meredith Engineering purchased KCMO radio and KCMO-TV; the sale was completed less than two months later in December 1953.[1]

In September 1955, CBS moved its Kansas City affiliation from KMBC-TV (channel 9) to channel 5; it received the CBS affiliation as compensation for the loss of the network on another Meredith-owned station, KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Arizona (which lost the CBS affiliation to KOOL-TV (now KSAZ-TV), from which it would re-assume the network's Phoenix affiliation 39 years later);[2] KMBC, meanwhile, would assume the ABC affiliation. KCMO-TV lost the DuMont affiliation when that network ceased operations on August 6, 1956. KCMO-TV branded as "Television 5" until 1966 (around this time, it began using a logo similar to that of Bay City, Michigan sister station WNEM-TV), it was then simplified to "TV 5", which remained in use until 1985. Meredith sold KCMO-AM and sister radio station KCMO-FM (94.9) in 1983, but retained ownership of KCMO-TV. The station's call letters were changed to the current KCTV on March 7 of that year (based on the familiarity of the "TV 5" branding). It also vacated its original studios (now occupied by PBS member station KCPT (channel 19)), relocating its operations to a new facility on Shawnee Mission Parkway in Fairway, Kansas. The "TV 5" branding was discontinued in 1990; however, KCTV's logo has continued to subtly reference that brand, by changing the font of the "TV" (as done from 1990 to 1999), bolding the "TV" (as done from 1999 to 2002) or connecting the "T" and "V" (as done from 2002 to 2012).

KCTV logo, used from 2011 to October 2015.

When New World Communications acquired NBC affiliate WDAF-TV (channel 4) in 1994 with the intent to switch that station to Fox, NBC briefly held discussions to affiliate with KCTV. However, CBS persuaded Meredith to switch NBC-affiliated WNEM-TV and independent station KPHO-TV to that network as a condition of keeping the CBS affiliation on channel 5. As KMBC-TV was in the middle of a long-term affiliation agreement with ABC, NBC was forced to affiliate with soon-to-be-former Fox station KSHB-TV (channel 41). In November 2004, Meredith purchased WB affiliate KSMO-TV (channel 62, now a MyNetworkTV affiliate) from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, creating the third television station duopoly in the Kansas City market.[3]

On September 8, 2015, Richmond, Virginia-based Media General announced that it would acquire the Meredith Corporation for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General once the sale is finalized. The sale would mark the first change of ownership for the station since it was purchased by Meredith in 1953, and would put KCTV and KSMO-TV under common ownership with Media General's existing virtual triopoly in the adjacent Topeka market between NBC affiliate KSNT, Fox affiliate KTMJ-CD and ABC affiliate KTKA-TV.[4][5][6][7][8]


KCTV's transmitter tower

KCTV's 1,042 feet (318 m)[9] transmitter tower at its former studios on East 31st Street on Union Hill (south of downtown), is a widely recognized Kansas City landmark. This is due largely in part to the string lights that adorn the four corners of the tower, which can be seen for miles around the immediate metropolitan area at night. It is so recognized that from 1999 to 2002, the "tall tower" (as it was called on the air) was incorporated into KCTV's logo. From the 1970s to 2001, the station flashed the lights on the tower to signal inclement weather affecting Kansas City and the immediate surrounding communities in three sections:

KCTV's transmitter tower as seen from Liberty Memorial

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, KCTV changed the tower's lighting to a red, white and blue scheme with red lights on the top third of the tower and blue lights on the bottom third. The lights on the tower went dark for a period until all of the light bulbs could be changed. On July 1, 2006, the tower was turned back on, now with all white lights as it had originally been the case until the 1970s. Since then, the lights have not flashed as they did before September 11, 2001.

In June 2010, the analog antenna was disassembled to allow the installation of a new top-mounted digital antenna to improve KCTV's digital signal coverage. The tower is similar in structure to the 750-foot (228.6 m) KQTV tower upstate in St. Joseph. Coincidentally, that station (which serves as the ABC network affiliate for the St. Joseph market) also began broadcasting on September 27, 1953.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[10]
5.1 1080i 16:9 KCTV-HD Main KCTV programming / CBS

KCTV formerly operated second and third digital subchannels as overflow game feeds during the early rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. In 2008, when CBS restricted stations to only one multicast feed, the station aired the additional game over KCTV-DT2. The need for stations to multicast games ended in 2011, as CBS and the Turner Broadcasting System's TBS, TNT and TruTV began sharing the broadcast rights to the tournament. KCTV has not operated any subchannels since then (the use of subchannels varies among Meredith's stations, often either being used only for a local weather service or not being used at all; sister station KSMO-TV, however, carries Spanish-language network MundoMax on its second subchannel).

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KCTV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 5, at 9 a.m. 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 remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 24.[11][12] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 5.


Syndicated programs broadcast on KCTV (as of September 2014) include Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, The Insider, Blue Bloods, and The Good Wife (the latter two of which also air first-run episodes on the station through CBS). KCTV currently carries all CBS network programming, although it is one of several CBS affiliates that airs Face the Nation in separate half-hour blocks, with the second half-hour of the program airing on Sunday late nights due to its Sunday morning newscast (sister station KSMO-TV rebroadcasts the full hour-long edition on Sunday late-evenings); it is also one of several CBS affiliates that splits the network's children's program block over both Saturdays and Sundays, as one hour of the lineup airs on Sunday mornings before CBS News Sunday Morning. Over the years, KCTV preempted moderate amounts of CBS programming such as some morning daytime as well as some late night shows prior to the 1993 launch of the Late Show with David Letterman, a couple of Saturday morning cartoons, the entire Sunday morning cartoon block and an occasional primetime show.

One of the most common copies of the Star Wars Holiday Special comes from KCTV.[citation needed] It can be found as first to third generation bootleg copies. During the 1970s into the 1980s, KCTV produced several locally produced shows such as Saturday Science Fiction Theatre. During the immediate aftermath of the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, one of the station's most popular shows, Friday Fright Night, was preempted out of fear of further traumatization of viewers already in shock; the program was known for its opening sequence of a skull with an announcer giving the lead-in with both a spooky tone of voice and dialogue only to leave the shot with a prolonged sequence of hysterical-sounding laughter. At least two other shows competed in the genre with Friday Fright Night by the early 1980s including KSHB's Creature Features with Crematia Mortem and All Night Live! with Edward Musacare (a.k.a. Uncle Ed) and "Caffeina the Cat", and later Dick Wilson. However, "Uncle Ed" had various spook-shows dating back to the 1960s albeit in other markets.

In September 2012, KCTV debuted the hour-long lifestyle program Better Kansas City, airing at 9:00 a.m. weekdays and is produced independently from the station's news department. The program is formatted similarly to the Meredith-distributed syndicated lifestyle program Better, which airs locally on sister station KSMO-TV.[13] The program was placed on a summer hiatus on June 6, 2013 for "retooling", with the national Better program filling the timeslot.[14]

Sports programming[edit]

Since 1998, when CBS acquired the broadcast rights to televise games from the American Football Conference of the NFL, KCTV has served as the flagship station for the Kansas City Chiefs, airing regular season and preseason games that are not televised nationally by a broadcast or cable network. In 1970, as KCMO-TV, Channel 5 broadcast the Chiefs' lone Super Bowl victory, when the team defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

News operation[edit]

KCTV presently broadcasts 34 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 5½ hours on weekdays, 4½ hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the second-highest newscast output among Kansas City's television stations, well behind the 59½ hours that WDAF-TV broadcasts each week. KCTV also produces seven hours a week of local newscasts for sister station KSMO-TV with a nightly half-hour evening broadcasts at 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. In addition, the station also produces the sports discussion program Off the Bench With Michael Coleman on Sundays after the 10:00 p.m. newscast.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, KCTV was very competitive with KMBC and WDAF-TV in news viewership. From 1979 to 1994, the anchor team of Anne Peterson and Wendall Anschutz led the station to #1 in the Kansas City market.[15] In November 2004, KCTV won the coveted 10:00 p.m. news race, unseating KMBC-TV for the first time in a decade. However, in November 2006, KCTV fell back to second place at 10:00, and remained in third place at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. behind KMBC-TV and WDAF-TV. In February 2007, KCTV regained the #1 spot at 10:00 p.m. and most of its other newscasts also made ratings gains.[16]

In the mid-1990s, KCTV briefly operated a helicopter for aerial newsgathering, called "NewsHawk 5"; the station acquired a new news helicopter in May 2006, called "Chopper 5". KCTV and former news director Regent Ducas came under fire during the 2000s for incorporating a perceived tabloid style of journalism to the market. "Live. Latebreaking. Investigative." (which was also used by Phoenix sister station KPHO) was adopted by KCTV as its new slogan in September 2002, six months after Ducas's hiring. A year later, the station's sports department was shut down; sports news coverage was then outsourced to Metro Sports, with most of the former KCTV sports personnel being hired by the local sports cable channel.[17] KCTV's agreement with Metro Sports ended in 2009, and the station did not operate a sports department for a year; it later announced that would begin producing sports segments in-house once again on March 25, 2010.

Some of KCTV's main personalities had been with the station since the late 1960s. As a result of the station's "new direction," several high-profile anchors and reporters left including Anne Peterson, Russell Kinsaul (now working across the state in St. Louis at CBS-affiliated sister station KMOV) and Dave Helling. A May 26, 2007 Kansas City Star article revealed the turbulence behind KCTV's move to become the #1 news station in the market. A lawsuit filed by a longtime newscast director alleged that the Meredith Corporation engaged in systematic harassment and dismissal of older workers. A judge denied KCTV's move to dismiss the suit and the station later settled with the plaintiff.[18][19] In the fall of 2005, KCTV began producing a nightly 9:00 p.m. newscast for KSMO-TV to compete with WDAF-TV's in-house newscast in the same timeslot. KCTV became the third television station in Kansas City (after KSHB-TV and KMBC-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition on October 20, 2008 beginning with its 4:00 p.m. newscast; the KSMO-TV newscasts were included in the upgrade.

On September 13, 2010, KCTV expanded its weekday morning newscast to 2½ hours, with the addition of a half-hour at 4:30 a.m.[20] On October 12, 2010, KCTV announced that it would begin airing obituaries during the noon newscast and the (now-defunct) 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. newscast on KSMO-TV, citing concerns caused by the decline of newspaper circulation. KCTV and its parent company Meredith also launched ObitMissouri.com and ObitKansas.com to provide detailed online obituaries and memorial service information to Kansas City-area residents.[21]

On January 4, 2011, KCTV entered into a partnership with Kansas City Star, in which the station and the newspaper would collaborate on local news stories and allow KCTV to provide weather forecasts for the paper. Incidentally, the Star founded rival WDAF-TV in 1949 and owned it until 1958; KSHB-TV had a news share agreement with the Star until the announcement was made.[22] In the February 2011 sweeps period, while KCTV beat WDAF-TV in the noon timeslot, the station placed second at 10:00 p.m. behind KMBC-TV, and dropped to third place overall behind WDAF-TV.[23] In 2011, KCTV debuted an hour-long extension of its morning newscast at 7:00 a.m. for KSMO-TV; it was cancelled that December.[24] On August 4, 2014, KCTV began producing a half-hour newscast at 6:30 p.m. for KSMO.[25]

Investigative reporting[edit]

The station has not shied away from reporting on controversial topics, two of which were featured nationally by CBS. KCTV aired a seven-part series in February 2004 that exposed the dangers that children can face on internet chat rooms. A group called Perverted Justice (which Dateline NBC later used as the basis for its To Catch A Predator series) posed as minors in chat rooms and waited for adult men to proposition them for sex. The "minors" then invited the men to meet them at a house where a KCTV news crew was waiting. After the series aired, local law enforcement made a new effort to police chat rooms and prosecute men who attempt to meet minors for sex through the internet. None of the people "stung" by KCTV could be charged in these cases because the operation was done without police involvement.

In June 2005, KCTV exposed a doctor's negligent handling of private medical records. A scavenger gave the station a computer found at the curb of a plastic surgeon's home in Mission Hills. The surgeon claimed that he had erased the patients' information from the computer. However, only the computer's random access memory was removed and its hard drive was intact, containing photographs and files on many patients. KCTV attempted to contact several of the patients whose information was found on the discarded computer. The surgeon sued citing that interviewing the patients violated medical confidentiality. The judge ruled in favor of the doctor although KCTV took the case to a federal district court in Kansas City, Kansas. The doctor withdrew his lawsuit and the story aired on June 30. As a result of this, several of the surgeon's patients filed a class action lawsuit against him for negligent handling of their confidential records.

In early 2010 under new management, it was rumored KCTV was shutting down its entire investigative unit. However, in March of the same year, the station hired new investigative reporter Stacey Cameron (who left KCTV in 2014), a former attorney and reporter who had joined the station from WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. Later that same month, the investigative unit received several awards for its investigative reporting. KCTV's news team has been honored with the Mid-America Emmy award for overall news excellence, the Edward R. Murrow Award for overall news excellence, and multiple awards for its investigative reporting.

Notable former on-air staff[edit]


  1. ^ Chillicothe Constitution, October 3, 1953.
  2. ^ "Five Meredith stations become CBS affiliates." Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 24, 1955, pg. 62.
  3. ^ CBS affiliate takes over WB station in Kansas City, Mo., Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News (via HighBeam Research), November 13, 2004.
  4. ^ "Media General Acquiring Meredith For 2.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. September 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ Cynthia Littleton (September 8, 2015). "TV Station Mega Merger: Media General Sets $2.4 Billion Acquisition of Meredith Corp.". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Media General, Meredith To Combine To Create Meredith Media General: A New Powerful Multiplatform And Diversified Media Company" (Press release). Meredith Corporation. PR Newswire. September 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Meredith will be acquired by Media General in a television merger". Kansas City Star (The McClatchy Company). September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ "KCTV, KSMO will get new owner". Kansas City Business Journal (American City Business Journals). September 9, 2015. 
  9. ^ "KCTV Tower". Structurae. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KCTV
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  12. ^ KCTV5 Going Digital On June 12
  13. ^ "KCTV-5 creating a 9 a.m. show". Kansas City Star (The McClatchy Company). May 4, 2012. [dead link]
  14. ^ Merrill Knox (June 6, 2013). "Kelly Jones Out, ‘Better Kansas City’ on Hiatus at KCTV". TVSpy. Mediabistro Holdings. 
  15. ^ "Longtime KCTV5 Anchor Wendall Anschutz Dies". KCTV5.com. KCTV. Retrieved February 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ http://www.kctv5.com/Global/story.asp?S=6179150&nav=1Pua[dead link]
  17. ^ KCTV to Drop Sports, Use Metro Cable Reports; CBS Affiliate Eliminating In-House Department, Partnering With Time Warner Unit, TelevisionWeek, November 17, 2003.
  18. ^ "Lawsuits reveal a time of turbulence at KCTV". Kansas City Star. 2007-05-26. Archived from the original on 2010-09-09. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Live. Late-Breaking. Litigation.: Lawsuits reveal a time of turbulence at KCTV". TVBarn. KansasCity.com. May 30, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2010. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Newspaper Decline Creates Need KCTV Will Begin Doing TV Obituaries, Bottom Line Communications. October 12, 2010.
  22. ^ KCTV and KC Star Form News Partnership, Bottom Line Communications, January 4, 2011. Retrieved 1-5-2011.
  23. ^ KMBC's frosty, fabulous February, Kansas City Star, March 3, 2011.
  24. ^ http://kcradio.tripod.com/5.html
  25. ^ Engle, Tim (August 1, 2014). "KCTV-5 to launch 6:30 p.m. newscast on KSMO". Kansas City Star. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]