KCTV, is an American virtual TV channel. It is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Kansas City, Missouri, United States as well as Kansas City, Kansas. The station is owned by the Meredith Local Media subsidiary of the Meredith Corporation, as part of a MyNetworkTV affiliate KSMO-TV. Located on Shawnee Mission Parkway in Fairway, Kansas, KCTV manages transmitter facilities located on East 31st Street in the Union Hill section of Kansas City, Missouri.
Since 1967, KCTV previously served as the main CBS affiliate for the St. Joseph market until June 1, 2017, when locally based KBJO-LD (channel 30) switched its primary affiliation from Telemundo to CBS. KCTV remains available in that market on cable providers and on satellite via DirecTV and Dish Network; its transmitter also produces a city-grade signal that reaches St. Joseph and the surrounding areas in the market’s central and southern counties.
History of KCTV, Kansas City, Missouri
The station first came on the air on September 27, 1953 as KCMO-TV. Founded by the KCMO Broadcasting Corporation, owners of radio stations KCMO and KCMO-FM, from which the television station acquired its original call letters. It was originally a primary affiliate of ABC and a secondary affiliate of the DuMont Television Network. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on East 31st Street in Kansas City, Missouri’s Union Hill neighborhood. On October 2, six days after channel 5 made its debut, Meredith Engineering purchased the KCMO radio and television stations from KCMO Broadcasting. In December of 1953, the sale was finalized.
Meredith signed a multi-year agreement with CBS to affiliate five of the television stations from the previous owners in January of 1955. As part of the deal, Meredith agreed to affiliate KCMO-TV with CBS, as compensation for sister station KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Arizona losing its affiliation with the network, from which it would re-assume the network’s Phoenix affiliation 39 years later in December 1994. CBS moved its Kansas City affiliation to channel 5 from KMBC-TV in September of that year.
While it changed its primary network affiliation, KCMO-TV remained a secondary affiliate of DuMont. Later, in 1956, it would disaffiliate from that network when it ceased operations, resulting in CBS becoming the station’s only network affiliation. For most of its first decade on the air, KCMO-TV presented themselves on-air as “Television 5.” Subsequently, in 1966, the station’s branding was simplified to “TV 5”, a name which remained in use until the callsign change to KCTV in 1983.
KCTV maintains transmitter facilities on a 1,042-foot transmission tower located at its former studio facility on East 31st Street on Union Hill. The tower has become a widely recognized Kansas City landmark, partly because of the string lights that hang on the four corners of the structure’s frame, which can be seen for miles around the immediate metropolitan area at night. It is so recognized that KCTV incorporated the “tall tower” into its 1999 logo that it had used when re-branding, which remained in use until May 2002. The tower itself is similar to the 750-foot transmission tower ABC affiliate KQTV upstate maintains in St. Joseph. From the 1970s until 2001, the tower also served as a weather beacon to signal residents of potentially dangerous weather affecting Kansas City and its immediate surrounding communities.