|Kansas City, Missouri|
|Branding||41 Action News|
|Slogan||Clear. Complete Coverage. (general)|
Kansas City's Weather Leader (weather)
|Channels||Digital: 36 (UHF)|
Virtual: 41 (PSIP)
|Owner||E. W. Scripps Company|
|Licensee||Scripps Broadcasting Holdings LLC|
|First air date||August 10, 1970|
|Call sign meaning||Scripps Howard Broadcasting|
(former name of broadcasting division)
|Former call signs||KBMA-TV (1970–1981)|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Height||325 m (1,066 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
KSHB-TV, virtual channel 41 (UHF digital channel 36), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Kansas City, Missouri, United States and serving the Kansas City metropolitan area. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, as part of a duopoly with Lawrence, Kansas-licensed independent station KMCI-TV (channel 38). The two stations share studios on Oak Street in southern Kansas City, Missouri, and transmitter facilities at the Blue River Greenway in the city's Hillcrest section. On cable, KSHB is available on Charter Spectrum, Consolidated Communications and Google Fiber channel 13, Comcast Xfinity channel 8, and AT&T U-verse channel 41.
KSHB-TV also serves as an alternate NBC affiliate for the St. Joseph market (which borders the northern portions of the Kansas City Designated Market Area), as its transmitter produces a city-grade signal that reaches St. Joseph proper and rural areas in the market's central and southern counties. KSHB had previously served as the default NBC affiliate for St. Joseph from its assumption of the Kansas City affiliation rights from WDAF-TV (channel 4) in September 1994, until locally based KNPG-LD (channel 21) switched its primary affiliation from The CW Plus to NBC on November 1, 2016.
Though the station remains available on Suddenlink Communications and smaller cable providers in St. Joseph, duplicate NBC network programs carried by KSHB are blacked out on the station's cable channel slots within that market out of exclusivity to KNPG, in compliance with regulations imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that allow local television stations to require cable systems to black out network programs shown on out-of-market stations that the provider also carries if a station holds the exclusive local affiliation rights.
The station first signed on the air on August 10, 1970 as KBMA-TV (standing for Businessmen's Assurance Company of America, which provided the initial funding for the station at its founding). Founded by Wilson D. Grant, it originally operated as an independent station, with a programming format consisting of off-network sitcoms and drama series, some first-run syndicated programs and feature films. However, it had much stronger financing and a better inventory of programming than the first independent ever to operate in the Kansas City market, KCIT-TV (channel 50, now Ion Television owned-and-operated station KPXE-TV; the KCIT calls now reside on a Fox-affiliated television station in Amarillo, Texas), which ceased operations in July 1971, at which time, channel 41 became the only independent station in Kansas City for the next twelve years (channel 50 eventually returned to the air in December 1978 as a religious independent station).
The station's original studio facilities were located in the BMA Tower in downtown Kansas City, Missouri; its transmitter facilities at the time were located on Summit Street in the city's Signal Hill section, on the same tower used by then-NBC affiliate WDAF-TV (channel 4) to house its transmitter. The first local program to air on KBMA was 41 Treehouse Lane, an afternoon series aimed at children which also showcased cartoon shorts. From the early 1970s through the 1980s, channel 41 extended its availability to many cable providers in the neighboring states of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma – including many large Midwestern cities that did not have independent stations of their own, such as Des Moines, Omaha, Lincoln and Wichita – effectively attaining status as a regional superstation. In the mid-1970s, KBMA launched the first locally originated cable network, Target Network Television, a channel distributed via microwave to cable systems within the market that featured a mix of locally produced programs separate from those carried on the station.
In 1977, Grant sold KBMA to the Scripps-Howard Broadcasting subsidiary of the E. W. Scripps Company. To reflect its new ownership, the station eventually changed its call letters to KSHB-TV on September 28, 1981, at which this time, it adopted "Kansas City 41" as its on-air branding. Under the purview of Scripps, channel 41 acquired some stronger off-network sitcoms and movie packages; it remained the area's leading independent station, outpacing the competition that it gained when KEKR-TV (channel 62, now MyNetworkTV affiliate KSMO-TV) signed on in September 1983 as the market's second independent. During the 1980s, the station instituted other technological firsts, including becoming the first U.S. television station to utilize computer automation for broadcasting operations and the first in the world to use communications satellites for point-to-point transmission delivery of its signal.
KSHB became a charter affiliate of the Fox Broadcasting Company when that network launched on October 9, 1986. As was the case with other Fox-affiliated stations during the network's early years, channel 41, for all intents and purposes, was essentially a de facto independent as the network initially aired only a late-night talk show at its launch, before expanding to include a weekend-only prime time schedule beginning in April 1987. Around the time channel 41 joined Fox, the station began identifying itself as "KSHB-TV 41".
Until Fox began offering seven nights a week of prime time programming in September 1993, KSHB-TV aired a movie at 7:00 p.m. on nights when network programs did not air. The station received additional content from the network, when Fox launched a children's program block, Fox Kids, in September 1990, replacing several of the syndicated children's programs that KSHB had aired to occupy portions of the weekday daytime and Saturday morning time periods. In 1991, KSHB changed its on-air branding to "Fox 41" under the network's stricter branding conventions; it also began to add a few talk and reality shows to its programming schedule during the early 1990s.
As an NBC affiliate
On May 23, 1994, six months after the National Football League (NFL) awarded the network the rights to the National Football Conference (NFC) television package (outbidding CBS for the contract), New World Communications reached an agreement with Fox parent News Corporation, in which the latter company purchased a 20% equity interest and reached a multi-year affiliation agreement with New World. Under the terms of the deal, New World would affiliate most of the twelve television stations that the company had either owned outright or was in the process of acquiring – specifically those affiliated with one of the "Big Three" networks – with the Fox network, once individual affiliation contracts with each of the stations' existing network partners expired.
One of the stations involved in the wide-ranging agreement was Kansas City's longtime NBC affiliate, WDAF-TV, which had been affiliated with that network since it signed on in October 1949. Earlier on May 5, two weeks prior to its signing, New World had announced that it would acquire WDAF-TV and three other television stations owned at the time by Great American Communications – which was subsequently renamed Citicasters – for $350 million in cash and $10 million in share warrants (CBS affiliate KSAZ-TV in Phoenix was also acquired through the deal, although New World would sell Great American-owned ABC affiliates WBRC in Birmingham and WGHP in High Point, North Carolina to Fox's owned-and-operated station group, Fox Television Stations, as its purchases of stations from Great American and Argyle Television Holdings put it over FCC ownership limits prohibiting a single company from owning more than twelve television stations nationwide and its purchases of WBRC and Argyle-owned WVTM-TV in Birmingham would have violated rules in place at the time forbidding common ownership of two commercial stations in the same market). New World included WDAF among the stations that would switch to Fox as part of its affiliation agreement with the network.
With only five months to find a new partner to replace WDAF as its Kansas City affiliate, NBC almost immediately entered into negotiations with other area stations. The network first approached CBS affiliate KCTV (channel 5) for a deal and briefly held discussions with the station for a contract. However, CBS – concerned about the prospect of losing another of its stronger affiliates in a market affected by the New World deal, which had forced the network to affiliate with a former Fox affiliate or an independent station in most cases – approached the Meredith Corporation for a proposal to keep the network's Kansas City affiliation aligned with KCTV. Under the terms of the deal, it persuaded Meredith to agree to switch two of the company's stations – NBC affiliate WNEM-TV in Bay City, Michigan and independent station KPHO-TV in Phoenix – to that network as a condition of keeping the CBS affiliation on KCTV. KMBC-TV (channel 9) was in the middle of a long-term affiliation agreement with ABC at the time, making it a non-viable option for NBC to replace WDAF as its affiliate; for that reason, KSHB was excluded from Scripps' affiliation deal with ABC (a caveat of retaining the network's affiliations with WEWS-TV in Cleveland and WXYZ-TV in Detroit, which were themselves being approached by CBS to replace affiliates that displaced it through the Fox-New World deal), which was struck around the same time. NBC eventually signed an agreement with Scripps to affiliate with KSHB on August 1, 1994, on the condition that it carry as much local news programming as WDAF had aired as an NBC affiliate.
Channel 41 officially became an NBC affiliate on September 12, 1994, when Fox programming moved to WDAF, ending that station's affiliation with NBC after 45 years. However, as WDAF (as did the other New World Communications-owned stations that joined Fox around the same timeframe) chose to decline carriage of Fox's children's programming block, Fox Kids, which KSHB could not retain due to its programming commitments with NBC, the Fox Kids programming rights were acquired instead by KSMO-TV, which also acquired much of the syndicated programming inventory that KSHB was not able to retain because of NBC's network-dominated programming schedule; the syndicated programming that channel 41 was able to retain on its schedule consisted mainly of off-network sitcoms and first-run newsmagazines. At that time, KSHB accordingly dropped its existing "Fox 41" brand and began branding itself as "KSHB 41" (eventually becoming known as "NBC 41" in November 1999).
In April 1996, Scripps-Howard Broadcasting took over the operations of independent station KMCI (channel 38) in Lawrence, Kansas under a local marketing agreement it signed with then-owner Miller Television; after Scripps began managing the station, KSHB moved sitcoms to which it had held local syndication rights that it did not have room to air as part of its schedule due to the heavy amount of network programming from NBC as well as its new local news programming commitments to KMCI. Scripps acquired KMCI outright on March 3, 2000, becoming the first official television duopoly in the Kansas City market (KCWE (channel 29) and KMBC-TV were technically the first, however, the Hearst Corporation owned KCWE independently of the company's broadcasting division that KMBC was owned under until May 2010). In July 2003, KSHB and KMCI relocated their transmitter facilities to an 1,164-foot (355 m) tower at the Blue River Greenway in the Hillcrest section of southern Kansas City.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|41.1||1080i||16:9||KSHB-DT||Main KSHB-TV programming / NBC|
KSHB also operates a Mobile DTV feed that relays the station's primary channel on virtual channel 41.1, which transmits at 1.83 Mbit/s. The mobile feed, developed through a partnership with Mobile Content Venture (MCV), launched on September 8, 2011.
KSHB-TV launched a digital subchannel on virtual channel 41.2 on March 1, 2006, when it debuted "Action WeatherPlus", a 24-hour weather channel (originally operating as an affiliate of NBC Weather Plus) featuring a mix of local and national current weather observations and forecasts as well as pre-recorded local weather updates conducted by the station's meteorologists; in compliance with the network's branding standardizations for NBC owned-and-operated stations and affiliates that carried the network, the "Action WeatherPlus" brand also served as the universal on-air branding for KSHB's weather department. The subchannel affiliated with successor service NBC Plus after NBC Weather Plus discontinued its national programming on November 30, 2008, converting into an automated service featuring local and regional weather maps using the Weather Plus graphics platform. On April 1, 2013, KSHB-DT2 became an affiliate of the classic television network Cozi TV.
On April 15, 2015, as part of an affiliation agreement between the E. W. Scripps Company and network parent Katz Broadcasting, KSHB launched a third digital subchannel on virtual channel 41.3, which served as a charter affiliate of the comedy-oriented multicast network Laff.
KSHB-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 41, 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 continued to broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 42. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 41. As part of the FCC's repack, KSHB-TV moved to channel 36 on February 11, 2019.
Syndicated programming broadcast on KSHB-TV (as of September 2018[update]) includes In Depth With Graham Bensinger and Jeopardy! (Wheel of Fortune, which is usually paired with Jeopardy! in most markets, aired on KSHB from September 2003 until it moved to WDAF-TV in September 2012).
In September 2005, KSHB debuted a locally produced mid-morning talk show titled Kansas City Live, which was similar in format to two other talk programs aired on the station—Kansas City Today, which aired on the station from 1997 to 1999, and AM Live, which aired in the 1980s; the show was cancelled in early 2008, and was replaced by a midday newscast in its 11 a.m. slot; the Kansas City Live title was revived for a new talk show that debuted on the station in September 2012, which features a mix of paid and unpaid segments. On April 25, 2015, the station premiered Nichols at Night, a locally produced late-night talk show hosted by former KMBC-TV weather anchor Joel Nichols (who joined KSHB as co-host of Kansas City Live in July 2014), which maintains a format similar to his former KMBC program Afterwords; the program airs on early Sunday mornings following Saturday Night Live.
KSHB-TV currently broadcasts the entire NBC schedule, with the only programming preemptions being those necessitated due to breaking news or severe weather events that require extended coverage. However, since the program expanded to four hours in September 2009, it currently airs Today in three blocks—the main program from 7 to 9 a.m., Today Third Hour from 9 to 10 a.m. and Today with Hoda and Jenna from 1 to 2 p.m. (with the latter block airing on a three-hour tape delay due to the station's carriage of Kansas City Live in its recommended 10 a.m. slot). KSHB also airs The More You Know E/I block on a one-hour delay on Saturday mornings to accommodate the Saturday edition of Today (prior to April 2016, NBC's children's program block was preceded by the Saturday edition of its morning newscast, 41 Action News Today, until the 9 a.m. hour was moved to an earlier timeslot to create an expanded two-hour broadcast).
As a Fox affiliate, KSHB carried that network's programming in pattern; however during its early years as an NBC affiliate, the station preempted or delayed a limited number of programs. From September 1994 until the program's cancellation in September 1998, the station did not clear the network's overnight news program NBC Nightside (one of only a few NBC-affiliated stations to do so, for purposes other than for scheduled overnight sign-offs); it also aired the soap opera Sunset Beach on tape delay in the early morning hours on Tuesday through Saturday during the program's final two seasons from 1998 to 1999, in addition to carrying it in its traditional daytime slot. In addition, it ran Early Today at 3:30 a.m. (30 to 60 minutes earlier than typical of most NBC stations in the Central Time Zone) from September 2013 to September 2015, in line with the Eastern Time scheduling of the early-morning news program.
KSHB-TV became the unofficial "home" station of the Kansas City Chiefs upon becoming an NBC affiliate in September 1994. Through the network's broadcasting contract with the American Football Conference (AFC), KSHB aired regular season and playoff games to which NBC held rights to televise in the team's designated regional market. Prior to the affiliation switch, WDAF-TV had previously aired most of the Chiefs' games as an NBC affiliate beginning in September 1965, when the network assumed rights to the American Football League (AFL, of which the Chiefs were part of at the time), which had its teams annexed into the American Football Conference after the AFL merged into the National Football League (NFL) in 1970 (the transfer of Chiefs local broadcasts from WDAF to KSHB as well as that between Cleveland differed from the situation in New World markets, mainly those where that group bought or already owned a CBS-affiliated station, in which the stations that were affected by the deal continued their relationships with local NFL teams when Fox assumed the NFC rights). The Chiefs game telecasts moved to KCTV in September 1998, when CBS took over the national television rights to the AFC package. Since NBC resumed telecasting NFL games in September 2006, Chiefs games now only air on KSHB whenever the franchise is one of the featured teams participating in a Sunday Night Football telecast. On September 21, 2019, KSHB and its sister station KMCI replaced KCTV as the official broadcast partners of the Chiefs, giving the stations exclusive rights to team programming, including preseason contests, plus marketing opportunities.
KSHB also aired select Major League Baseball (MLB) games involving the Kansas City Royals during the 1995 regular season, through the Baseball Network partnership initiated the season prior between NBC and ABC (WDAF carried a limited number of Royals games aired by NBC under the venture—with a few others airing on KMBC through ABC's end of the contract—during the 1994 season, prior to the league labor strike that resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of that year's regular season and entire postseason).
On November 6, 2013, Scripps announced a broadcasting agreement between KSHB/KMCI and Sporting Kansas City, which gave KMCI the local broadcast television rights to the Major League Soccer (MLS) club's regular season games, and its pre-game and post-game shows beginning with the team's 2014 season. The deal also allowed both stations the rights to carry team-focused specials during the regular season.
As of September 2016[update], KSHB-TV presently broadcasts 39½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 6½ hours each weekday, four hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). KSHB also produces five hours a week of local newscasts for sister station KMCI (consisting of an hour-long extension of 41 Action News Today at 7:00 a.m. weekday mornings). In addition, the station produces the half-hour sports highlight and discussion program Sunday Sound Off on Sunday nights after the 10:00 p.m. newscast. It is one of ten television stations that air consumer reports from John Matarese of ABC-affiliated sister station WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.
News department history
Channel 41 carried local news programming in various formats for years prior to joining NBC. As an independent station, KSHB (as KBMA) aired five-minute-long news updates that led into select daytime and evening programs on the station, consisting of footage accompanied by an announcer reading wire reports from United Press International, presented over a slide displaying a 41 Newsbreak title logo. In 1981, the station began producing 60-second live news and weather updates, branded as the Kansas City 41 News Update, that aired during commercial breaks within the station's daytime and evening programming. Under Scripps ownership, the station would launch 41 Express, a 15-minute local late-evening newscast that premiered in September 1984. Originally airing at 10:00 p.m. weeknights, the newscast was displaced by The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers when it became a Fox charter affiliate on October 3, 1986, forcing its move to 11:00 p.m., where the program remained until its cancellation the following year. For the next four years, the only news programming offered by KSHB-TV consisted solely of the aforementioned news updates, which by then had aired mainly during commercial breaks within the station's afternoon and prime time schedule before being discontinued in January 1991.
The station would venture back into news programming two years later, when Scripps announced it would establish a full-scale news department for KSHB, with the cooperation of news director Mark Olinger (who previously served in that position at independent station KSTW [now a CW owned-and-operated station] in Seattle from 1991 to 1992, where his management style quickly drew criticism for the layoffs or demotions of several veteran anchors and reporters). Long-form newscasts returned on August 30, 1993, with the premiere of Fox 41 News at Nine, a half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast that aired on Monday through Friday nights. The program was originally anchored by Jim Condelles (who joined KSHB from NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis) and Pam Davis (a former actress, who previously served as an anchor/reporter at ABC affiliate KOVR-TV [now a CBS owned-and-operated station] in Sacramento) on Sunday through Thursday nights, and by Jeff Burnside (who also served as executive news producer, a position he also held at his previous job at KSTW) and Linda Hamblin (who previously served as an anchor/reporter at ABC affiliate WPRI-TV [now a CBS affiliate] in Providence, Rhode Island).
The newscast was structured to match the Fox feel in an effort to court younger viewers, incorporating a futuristic black marble set as well as heavily emphasizing video footage to "charge stories with feeling" and utilizing close-up and horizontally tilted camera angles (inspired by the filming style of MTV's The Real World) during field reports. The program originally devoted the vast majority of each broadcast to news stories; weather forecasts and sports segments were abbreviated, maintaining a similar coverage format as the newsbrief segments that aired prior to the news department's launch, with the main anchors presenting such segments instead of dedicated weather and sports anchors. The program was the first attempt at a prime time newscast in the Kansas City market since WDAF aired a 15-minute news program at 9:30 p.m. from its September 1949 sign-on until it became a full-time NBC affiliate in September 1953 (through the respective losses of its secondary affiliations with ABC, CBS and the DuMont Television Network to KMBC/WHB-TV and KCMO-TV), at which time the station moved its late-evening newscast to 10:00.
Upon becoming an NBC affiliate on September 12, 1994, KSHB moved its existing late-evening newscast one hour later to 10:00 p.m. Atypical of most NBC stations, immediately after joining the network, channel 41 only aired news outside of its established evening time slot in the form of newsbriefs during Today. (For the first two years after the news department was relaunched under the 41 News brand, KSHB aired syndicated children's programs and newsmagazines acquired during the final few years of its tenure as a Fox station, as well as the early-morning network newscast NBC News at Sunrise between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.) To accommodate the pending expansion of its newscasts, KSHB-TV increased its news staff from approximately 20 to around 70 employees, hiring 50 additional employees in both on-air and behind-the-scenes roles. The only major on-air changes initially included lightening up the main news set in preparation for expanding into additional dayparts, and staffing-wise, the promotion of Amy Marcinkiewicz (an assignment reporter from the start of news operations) to co-anchor on the weekend newscasts alongside Hamblin. (Burnside concurrently relegated his role to serving solely as the station's executive producer of special projects.)
On October 3, 1994, three weeks after the switch, the station added a half-hour early-evening newscast at 5:00 p.m. seven nights a week; citing demographic trends for the time period, the weeknight editions of that broadcast incorporated feature segments geared toward women such as "Just for Women" (which features stories focused on health, fashion and romance advice) and "Howdaya Feel" (which was described by The Kansas City Star as taking a wellness approach to the traditional health and medical feature). This was followed on March 13, 1995, by the addition of a half-hour 6:00 p.m. weeknight newscast. In turn, by February 1995, the style of its newscasts began veering toward a more traditional format, shedding much of the style carried over after the affiliation switch. The station would eventually launch a 90-minute-long weekday morning newscast at 5:30 a.m. on June 3, 1996.
Since the expansion of news following its switch to NBC, ratings for KSHB's newscasts have statistically ranked in fourth place among the Kansas City market's television news outlets. Ratings for the station's news programming remained stagnant over the next few years, and did not even approach those of WDAF-TV during its latter tenure as an NBC affiliate. KSHB's newscasts struggled to become competitive with WDAF, KCTV or KMBC due partly to the fact that many of the station's on-air staffers came from outside the Kansas City market and were not familiar to viewers; for the first Nielsen sweeps month after the affiliation switch, the 10:00 p.m. newscast lost roughly half of the audience share of its NBC program lead-in, the largest late news ratings drop-off of any Kansas City area station and despite NBC being #1 in prime time viewership during that period. Not helping matters were the abrupt departures of news director Olinger and executive producer following the November 1995 sweeps period, and the demotion of Condelles to the weekend newscasts.
On September 29, 1997, the station replaced its separate half-hour 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts in favor of a single half-hour newscast at 6:30 p.m.; the vacated slots would respectively be filled by The Rosie O'Donnell Show and a tape-delayed broadcast of NBC Nightly News (an unusual occurrence of an NBC station located outside of the Pacific Time Zone carrying the latter program outside of its network-recommended time slot). A year-and-a-half later in March 1999, KSHB discontinued the 6:30 broadcast because of low viewership, and reinstated newscasts at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., relegating Nightly News back to its standard slot between both shows. (It would later restore a local newscast in the prime access slot on September 12, 2016, when it expanded the weekday editions of its existing 6:00 p.m. newscast into a one-hour program, albeit treated as two separate half-hour broadcasts.) On June 5, 2000, KSHB began producing a half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast for KMCI, which initially featured a slightly increased emphasis on business and entertainment news than the 10:00 p.m. newscast on channel 41; by the time it was canceled in September 2003, the program was titled 38 News Now and had used different graphics, a different – and drastically smaller – set, and a different all-percussion theme than the Stephen Arnold-composed package ("Third Coast") used for KSHB's newscasts during that time (KSHB would not produce a newscast for KMCI until April 6, 2015, when the station debuted an hour-long extension of its morning newscast for that station).
While its ratings continue to generally be lower than WDAF, KCTV and KMBC-TV (and NBC's ratings have been lower than that of ABC, CBS and Fox since the mid-2000s), the station has seen some slow growth in viewership for its newscasts since the late 2000s. In fact, KSHB is now solidly places second at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. behind longtime leader KMBC, and has risen to third place in the 6:00 a.m. timeslot behind WDAF and KMBC. Given NBC's often mediocre to poor performance in prime time in recent years, a situation which began to steadily improve in the 2013–14 television season, its late evening newscast at 10:00 p.m. continues to struggle – consistently ranking in fourth place, and at times reaching a close enough margin to where KSHB competes to an extent with WDAF (itself a competitor for second place alongside KCTV) for third place in the time period. The station placed its inaugural first place win in a single time period in November 2013, when it beat KMBC-TV for the ranking in the 6:00 p.m. time slot (where it had placed second since November 2008, either by itself or in a statistical tie with KCTV); it also eked out its first monthly win in late news during the February 2014 sweeps period, through the strength of having NBC's broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympics as its lead-in, which helped increase its news ratings in the period by 46%.
KSHB-TV has since become a more news-intensive operation, to the point where it currently brands itself as 41 Action News. The Action News branding, as a Scripps-owned station, is also shared with two of KSHB's ABC-affiliated sister stations, WFTS-TV in Tampa and WXYZ-TV in Detroit. In the case of the Kansas City market, KSHB is the second television station to have used the branding, which had previously been used by WDAF as the identifier for its newscasts – first as simply Action News, and then from 1982 onward as Action 4 News – from 1974 to 1990 as an NBC affiliate. The Action News branding on KSHB originated under the moniker NBC Action News in May 2003, for use as a unified brand for both entertainment programming and newscasts; after station management discovered that most viewers still referred to KSHB as "channel 41," the on-air branding was altered, with very little advanced promotion, to 41 Action News on February 5, 2012 beginning with that night's 10:00 p.m. newscast (following NBC's coverage of Super Bowl XLVI and the second-season premiere of The Voice).
On May 24, 2005, KSHB began leasing a Bell JetRanger 206B helicopter to provide aerial coverage of breaking news, traffic reports and weather events, branded as the "NBC Action News SkyTracker," which was outfitted with three cameras mounted under the nose of the helicopter that provide camera angles at a 360° rotation. On April 24, 2008, starting with its 11:00 a.m. newscast, KSHB became the second television station in the Kansas City market (behind KMBC-TV) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; a new high definition set was unveiled later on August 8, coinciding with the start of NBC's telecast of the 2008 Summer Olympics. In November 2009, KSHB-TV introduced a new red and brown standardized graphics package (designed by a corporate graphics hub based out of the studios of WFTS-TV) and news theme (composed by Musikvergnuegen) for its newscasts, that became utilized on most of Scripps' stations.
On August 23, 2010, KSHB expanded the weekday editions of its morning newscast to 2½ hours, with the addition of a half-hour at 4:30 a.m. (the station had previously started its morning newscast at 4:00 a.m. from 2005 to 2006); the station subsequently extended its Saturday morning newscast from one hour to two hours (running from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.) and premiered an hour-long Saturday edition of its 6:00 p.m. newscast on September 4 (the evening broadcast later reverted to a half-hour, before expanding to a full hour once again on April 11, 2015). Earlier on August 19, KSHB announced that Frank Boal – who had served as a sports anchor at WDAF-TV beginning in 1986 and was promoted to sports director after Gordon Docking's departure from that position the following year – would join the station as a contributor for its NFL and college football coverage; Boal's hiring by channel 41 was a major reversal for the veteran sports journalist, who had announced in 2009 that he was retiring from the television industry after accepting a contract buyout from then-WDAF owner Local TV. Boal would once again announce his retirement from television on April 25, 2017, though he will continue to serve as a contributor for WHB (810 AM) following his departure from KSHB on June 29 (Mick Shaffer – who was previously with Spectrum Sports, and joined channel 41 on June 19, 2017 – will replace Boal as sports director). On August 29, 2011, KSHB debuted a half-hour weekday 4:30 p.m. newscast, which utilized social media platforms to allow viewers to interact with the program; it evolved into an hour-long newscast at 4:00 p.m. on April 8, 2013.
In December 2012, KSHB won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for breaking news for its coverage of the natural gas explosion that leveled JJ's Restaurant in downtown Kansas City, marking the first time that a Kansas City television station was given the honor. On July 14, 2014, KSHB-TV became one of two Scripps stations to debut a local version of the group's hour-long news program format The NOW, which launched on the station as a revamp of its existing 4:00 p.m. newscast, under the title The NOW Kansas City. The format of the program – which Scripps began syndicating to its other stations through January 2015 – features a mix of local news inserts and national segments (produced by Denver sister station KMGH-TV, which debuted its version of the show that same day to replace its own late-afternoon newscast) featuring stories that are trending online, weather forecasts and lifestyle and entertainment reports, with a heavy integration of social media to allow viewers to comment on stories covered during the broadcast.
Notable former on-air staff
- Elizabeth Alex – anchor/reporter (1994–2013)
- Chris Hernandez – reporter (2004–2012; now marketing director at the Unicorn Theatre)
- Russ Ptacek – investigative reporter (2007–2012)
- Todd Romero – sports director (1998–2004)
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