Radio-TV Broadcast History

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WDAF-TV, virtual channel 4.1, is the Fox affiliated television station serving the Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas designated market area. The station is owned by Local TV LLC, the media arm of private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Its studios and transmitter are located in the Signal Hill neighborhood of Kansas City. The station broadcasts a digital signal on UHF channel 34, using its former analog channel assignment of channel 4 as its virtual digital channel via PSIP. On cable, WDAF can be seen in standard definition on channel 6 on Time Warner Cable and Surewest, and in high definition on digital channel 1411 on Time Warner and digital channel 640 on Surewest.

WDAF-TV is a news-intensive Fox station with 49 hours a week of locally produced newscasts, as well as first-run prime time, late night and sports programming from Fox. It also runs off-network sitcoms, talk shows, reality shows and court shows.

Fox 4 Kansas City logo
Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas
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)

Subchannels 4.1 Fox
Owner Local TV LLC

(WDAF License, Inc.)

First air date October 16, 1949
Call letters' meaning Sequentially assigned to former AM sister; [1] unofficially means Why Dial Any Further?
Former channel number(s) Analog:

4 (VHF, 1949-2009)

Former affiliations Primary:

NBC (1949-1994) Secondary: CBS (1949-1952) DuMont (1949-1952) ABC (1949-1953)

Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 295 m
Facility ID 11291
Transmitter coordinates 39°4′21.2″N 94°35′46.4″W / 39.072556°N 94.596222°W / 39.072556; -94.596222

WDAF-TV, along with a few other television and radio stations in the United States, is an exception to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that call signs must start with K west of the Mississippi River and W east of it. This is because Kansas City was located to the east of the original K/W line.

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[edit] History[]

[edit] As an NBC affiliate[]

WDAF began operation on October 16, 1949 as the second television station in Missouri and the first in Kansas City. The station was originally owned by the Kansas City Star along with WDAF radio (610 AM, now at 106.5 FM), which began operations in 1922. 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-AM's long affiliation with NBC Radio.

Randall Jessee was the station's first anchorman. Several other notables, including Shelby Storck (WDAF-TV's first weathercaster) and future Hollywood character actor Owen Bush, did announcing for the station during the early 1950s. When KMBC-TV (channel 9) signed on in 1953, CBS and Dumont programming moved there. WDAF shared ABC with KMBC until later in 1953, when KCMO-TV (channel 5, now KCTV) signed on as the CBS affiliate. KMBC and WDAF then affiliated exclusively with ABC and NBC respectively. 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.

In 1958, WDAF-AM-TV was sold to National-Missouri Broadcasters. 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. Taft was renamed Great American Broadcasting on October 12, 1987. By that year, WDAF had overtaken KMBC as the dominant station in Kansas City, as was the trend at many NBC affiliates. Great American became Citicasters in 1993.

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.

[edit] As a Fox station[]

In 1993, Fox won the rights to broadcast the NFC football package from CBS[1], after which New World Communications signed a long-term deal to switch most of its stations to Fox, starting in the fall of 1994.[2] In the spring of 1994, Citicasters sold WDAF-TV and KSAZ (channel 10) in Phoenix to New World. Two other stations owned by Citicasters, WBRC (channel 6) in Birmingham and WGHP (channel 8) in Greensboro, North Carolina, 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.[3] Ironically, WDAF is one of two former New World stations that switched to Fox, located in an NFL market whose team is not in the NFC conference (the other is WJW in Cleveland, Ohio); the Kansas City Chiefs are in the American Football Conference, with their games primarily airing on CBS affiliate KCTV.

WDAF-TV became a Fox affiliate on September 12, 1994 (three days after New World officially closed on its purchases of WDAF-TV and KSAZ-TV), and the NBC affiliation moved to KSHB (channel 41), Kansas City's original Fox affiliate; with NBC agreeing to affiliate with KSHB on the condition that KSHB run as much local news as WDAF did under its NBC affiliation. WDAF is the only former New World-owned station that switched to Fox to be a former NBC affiliate; sister stations WVTM in Birmingham and KNSD (channel 39) in San Diego remained NBC affiliates under New World ownership, and were subsequently sold to NBC; KNSD is still owned by NBC Universal Television Group, while WVTM is now owned by Media General. The majority of the New World stations that changed their affiliation to Fox were CBS affiliates with eight of the stations being affiliated with CBS, and three of them 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). WDAF also increased its local news programming from about 30 hours a week to nearly 50 hours — including expansions in morning and evening newscasts. WDAF-TV was the first station in Kansas City to use a helicopter for traffic and news reporting. The station added talk shows to round out their schedule.

Fox Television Stations Group bought most of the New World Communications stations in the fall of 1996[4], officially making WDAF a Fox owned-and-operated station, and the first major network O&O in the Kansas City market. However until 2007, the station used "New World Communications of Kansas City, Inc.", as their end tag during their newscasts. New World Communications was used as a licensing purpose corporation for all of WDAF's sister stations as well until 2007. However, as of June 2009, WDAF's former New World sister stations which are still owned by Fox are now once again using the licensee names "New World Communications of <city or state>, Inc." or "NW Communications of <city or state>, Inc." — but by that time, WDAF and a few other ex-New World stations were no longer owned by Fox.

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. On December 22, 2007, Fox entered into an agreement to sell WDAF and seven other Fox O&O stations[5] to Oak Hill Capital Partners' Local TV LLC, which currently owns nine stations formerly of The New York Times Company. The sale was closed on July 14, 2008.[6]

After three years, WDAF-TV debuted its new website on January 27, 2009 to remove itself from the MyFox umbrella since Fox no longer owned the station. The new WDAF-TV website is operated by Tribune Interactive, which also operates the websites of most of the former Fox O&Os owned by Local TV and the websites of Tribune-owned stations. The other Local TV-owned stations phased in the new Tribune-run websites during late January and into February 2009, partially severing their membership with WorldNow although WorldNow continues to provide streaming video technology to Tribune Interactive.

[edit] Digital television[]

WDAF-DT broadcasts on digital channel 34.

Digital channels

Channel Name Programming
4.1 WDAF-DT main WDAF/FOX HD programming

[edit] Analog-to-digital conversion[]

On June 12, 2009, WDAF-TV abandoned its previous analog channel assignment of channel 4, and now broadcasts on its digital channel assignment to channel 34. However, digital television receivers will continue to display WDAF-TV's virtual digital channel as 4.

[edit] Programming[]

WDAF-TV clears the entire Fox network schedule (nightly primetime, Saturday late night, and Fox Sports programming, and the political talk show Fox News Sunday; except for Fox's Saturday morning infomerical block, Weekend Marketplace, which airs on KMCI). However, the Saturday late night lineup (currently The Wanda Sykes Show and reruns of the short-lived Fox sitcom Brothers) airs a half-hour later than on most affiliates airing at 10:30 p.m., due to its 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday evenings. WDAF, like most Fox stations, airs a mix of talk/court/reality shows in the daytime and sitcoms in the evening. WDAF is one of numerous Fox stations that carry Divorce Court, Judge Alex, Judge Joe Brown and Judge Judy (which airs before the 5 p.m. newscast) and Seinfeld (which airs in late night). The station also airs TMZ on TV weeknights after the 10 p.m. newscast and Access Hollywood in late night (both are also replayed weekdays after the morning newscast), and airs weekend telecasts of House, Monk and Bones.

Like most of its New World-formerly owned sister stations, WDAF opted not to run Fox Kids programming since affiliating with Fox. Fox Kids was not condidered part of the Fox Network but a group of programs syndicated by it. Fox affiliates had the rights of first refusal but did not have to carry it if an alternate station was found. Beginning in 2001, affiliates were no longer compelled to run the programming even if another station could not be found. In Kansas City, Fox Kids aired on KSMO-TV (channel 62, now a MyNetworkTV affiliate; as Fox Kids from 1994 to 1998; from 1998 to 1999 on Channel 29 KCWE, as an affiliate with UPN (previously the station dropped WB for UPN); it is now a CW affiliate); and then on independent station KMCI (channel 38; as Fox Kids from 1999 to 2001, Fox Box from 2001–2002, and 4Kids TV from 2002 to 2008); Not airing Fox Kids was common among WDAF's newer Fox sister stations as well in the same timeframe since the mid-1990s (WDAF instead aired syndicated children's programming in place of Fox's children's block). Fox discontinued children's programming on December 28, 2008 (it is unknown if Fox will resume children's programming in the future). The station currently carries the minimum amount of educational and informational children's programming, as the stations airs syndicated children's shows such as Wild About Animals, Animal Atlas and Awesome Adventures, along with reruns of Saved by the Bell on weekend mornings.

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, marking the end of a 13-year business relationship. The station also produced and aired Kansas City Chiefs pre-season games from 1997 to 1999, upgrading the local production presentation to network quality standards. The contract ran through the 1999 season.

[edit] News operation[]

WDAF-TV broadcasts a total of 49 hours of local news per week (with eight hours on weekdays, and 4½ hours each on Saturdays and Sundays), giving the station more hours of local news than any other station in Kansas City; 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 sports coverage (though the Saturday 5 p.m. newscast is usually delayed to 6 p.m. during baseball season). It is currently the last remaining Big Four network affiliate in the Kansas City market that still airs its weekday morning newscast at 5 a.m. (KSHB and KMBC moved the start time of their morning newscasts to 4:30 a.m. in August 2010, with KCTV also doing so the following month), it is unclear when WDAF will expand its weekday morning newscast to 4½ hours in length, from 4:30-9 a.m.

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 a ABC, CBS or NBC affiliate, along with additional newscasts from 7-9 a.m. and 5:30-6 p.m. on weekdays and the hour-long nightly primetime newscast at 9 p.m. The station is one of a steadily growing number of Fox stations with 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 one of the few to continue their Big Three-era 10 p.m. newscast after the affiliation switch and one of the few Fox stations to run a 10 p.m. (or 11 p.m.) newscast seven nights a week.

The station also has a Hummer called "Storm Fox" equipped to track and chase severe weather along with Sky Fox. WDAF-TV has gained notice in the Kansas City market for its investigative team created in 2003, called the "FOX4 Problem Solvers", helping people who have been ripped off by businesses and uncovering various scams. Until August 31, 2009 WDAF-TV used a news helicopter, called "Sky Fox" for traffic and breaking news reporting, and severe weather coverage. WDAF is working on alternative methods for covering breaking news from the air.

Beginning in 2006, the Fox-owned stations revamped their sets and graphics, and created standardized logos similar to Fox News Channel's, and changed their websites to use the "MyFox" name and interface (which has also been adopted by all the other Fox O&Os). WDAF-TV debuted the new logo (which retains the "4" logo used since 1992 under NBC affiliation), graphics and music package on October 23, 2007, starting with its noon newscast. Minor changes were made in the studio to match the new theme. WDAF-TV and the other former Fox O&Os that were acquired by Local TV still use the logo, graphics, news music and website interface implemented under Fox ownership. Minor changes were made in the studio to match the new theme.

In April 2007, WDAF-TV began simulcasting the 7-9 a.m. portion of its weekday morning and nightly 9 p.m. newscasts on Fox affiliate KTMJ-CA (channel 43) in Topeka, Kansas and its three repeaters KTLJ-CA (channel 6) in Junction City, KMJT-CA in Ogden (channel 15) and KETM-CA (channel 17) in Emporia even though WDAF-TV and the signals of other Kansas City area VHF stations adequately cover the Topeka area. In November 2008, after KTMJ's purchase by New Vision Television (owners of Topeka NBC affiliate KSNT, channel 27) was complete, the simulcasts were dropped and replaced with morning and 9 p.m. newscasts produced by KSNT.

On August 14, 2010, WDAF-TV aired its final broadcast from its existing news set, and began broadcasting the next day from the newsroom while a new, larger set was being installed for their high definition broadcasts. The station began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition on October 12, 2010, with the noon newscast, making it the last of the major broadcast network-affiliated stations in the city to broadcast in HD.[7]

[edit] Ratings[]

Dating back to when WDAF was an NBC affiliate, the station has usually battled Hearst-owned KMBC (and at times, KCTV also) for the #1 spot in local news 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 number one station in the Kansas City market. As soon as the station switched from NBC to Fox, KMBC made a short resurgence to number one 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. WDAF-TV is just one example of a few Fox stations that have actually outcompeted NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates in local newscasts.

According to Nielsen Media Research, as of February 2008, WDAF-TV has Kansas City's #1 newscast in some timeslots, including at 9:00 p.m. (beating competition from KCTV's 9:00 p.m. newscast on KSMO, and network programming on KMBC, KSHB and KCTV). WDAF-TV currently battles KMBC-TV for first place in morning news, but usually finishes in third or fourth at 5, 6, and 10.

[edit] News/station presentation[]

Newscast titles[]

  • Six O'Clock News Special/The Ten O'Clock News
  • The Sixth Hour Report/The Eleventh Hour Report (1960s)
  • Newsbeat
  • The Scene (1970-?)
  • News 4 (1973-1970s)
  • Glen Hanson News (1970s)
  • (Channel 4) Action News (1970s–19??)[15]
  • Action 4 News (19??–1990)
  • Action 4 Nightcast (10 p.m. newscast; 1982–1990)[16]
  • WDAF 4 News (1990–1992)
  • NewsChannel 4 (1992–1997; WDAF-TV kept this news title after switch to Fox in 1994)
  • The World Tonight (5:30 p.m. newscast; 1996–1997)[17]
  • FOX 4 News (1997–present)

[edit] Station slogans[]

  • Your Picture Window on the World (1950s-1960s)[11]
  • Kansas City's Full Color Station (1960s)
  • Channel 4, Your Action News Station (1974–1978)
  • Catch 4 (1976; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Catch 5")
  • First in Kansas City (1978-early 1980s)
  • TV-4, Proud as a Peacock (1979–1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-4, Our Pride is Showing (1981–1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Four Has More! (early 1980s-1987; general slogan)
  • We're TV-4, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Kansas City's News Leader (1982–1992; news slogan)[12]
  • TV-4 There, Be There (1983–1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-4, Let's All Be There (1984–1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to TV-4 (1986–1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Four Does More (1987–1992)
  • Come Home to the Best, Only on TV-4 (1988–1990; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-4, The Place (1990–1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Kansas City's 24-Hour Newschannel (1992–1999)[13]
  • Working For You (1999–present)[14]
  • The Calm During the Storm (weather slogan; 2010–present)

[1] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.===[edit] On-air staff===

[edit] Current on-air staff (as of September 2010)[15][]

Current anchors

  • Mark Alford - weekday mornings (5-9 a.m.) and noon
  • Kim Byrnes - weekend mornings (7-9 a.m.); also weekday reporter
  • Loren Halifax - weekday mornings (5-9 a.m.) and noon
  • Susan Hiland - weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m.
  • Stephanie Hockridge - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 9 and 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter
  • John Holt - weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m.
  • Mary Pulley - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 9 and 10 p.m.; also weekday reporter
  • Phil Witt - weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.

4WARN Weather

  • Mike Thompson (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6, 9 and 10 p.m.
  • Don Harman (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings (5-9 a.m.)
  • Joe Lauria (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seals of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend mornings (7-9 a.m.), Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 9 and 10 p.m.
  • Karli Ritter (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekdays at noon

Sports team

  • Al Wallace - Sports Director; Sundays at 5, Monday-Thursdays at 6 and Sunday-Thursdays at 9 and 10 p.m.
  • Jason Lamb - Sports Anchor; Friday-Saturdays at 6, 9 and 10 p.m.; also sports reporter


  • Eric Burke - general assignment and breaking news reporter
  • Leslie Carto - general assignment and "Try It Before, You Buy It" feature reporter
  • Stefan Chase - general assignment reporter
  • Heather Claybrook - fill-in reporter
  • Dave Dunn - general assignment reporter
  • Shawn Edwards - film critic
  • Monica Evans - general assignment reporter
  • Bob Hess - video journalist
  • Meredith Hoenes - fill-in reporter
  • Bill Hurrelbrink - morning traffic reporter
  • Sharita Hutton - general assignment reporter
  • Meagan Kelleher - "Web Watch Weekly" feature reporter
  • Tess Koppelman - general assignment reporter
  • Meryl Lin McKean - medical reporter
  • Lori Patterson - fill-in weekend reporter
  • John Pepitone - general assignment reporter
  • Kathy Quinn - morning and noon reporter; also "Pay It Forward" feature reporter
  • Russ Simmons - film critic
  • Bob Stepanich - weekend reporter
  • Nick Vasos - morning and 5 p.m. traffic reporter
  • Linda Wagar - general assignment and "Problem Solver" investigative reporter

Former on-air staff[]

  • Sue Abrams - morning and midday anchor (1991–1994; now runs Sue Abrams Productions, LLC of Dallas, TX)
  • Carmen Ainsworth - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (?-?)
  • Frank Boal - sports director (1981–2009; now at WHB-AM)
  • Owen Bush - station announcer (1950s)
  • Heather Claybrook - weekend morning anchor/reporter (?-2008); fill-in reporter at WDAF-TV
  • Megan Cloherty - general assignment reporter (January 2007 - August 2010)
  • Carrie Coogan - "Try It Before You Buy It" consumer reporter (?-?; works for "The Johnny Dare Morning Show" on KQRC-FM)
  • Toby Cook - weekday morning (7:30-9 a.m.) anchor (?-?; now with the Kansas City Royals)
  • Casey Curry - noon and weekend morning meteorologist (?-2002?; now at KTRK in Houston)
  • Harris Faulkner - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (?-?; now with Fox News)
  • Dave Froelich - weekend evening anchor/reporter (2007–2010; now at KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, TX)
  • Dave Helling - reporter (?-?; now with the Kansas City Star)
  • Dan Henry - meteorologist (?-?; retired)
  • Paul Herdtner - 7:30-9 a.m. weekday anchor, then, weekend anchor (?-2009; lives in Overland Park, Kansas)
  • Dick Hoctor - meteorologist (?-? retired)
  • Kevin Keitzman - sports anchor (?-?; now at WHB-AM)
  • Tom Lawrence - weekend anchor (?-2007; retired)
  • Nancy Lewis - general assignment reporter/"Problem Solvers" investigator (?-?; now communications director with Independence, MO School District)
  • Gary Lezak - morning meteorologist (?-?; now chief meteorologist at KSHB)
  • Shelli Lockhart - 6 and 10 p.m. anchor (?-2008; moved back to Boston to be with her husband)
  • Sue Mason - weekday morning 6-7:30 a.m. anchor (now does marketing for Costco)
  • Heather McMichael - morning anchor (?-?; now works for a law firm in Kansas City)
  • Monica Parise - 5 and 9 p.m. anchor (?-? now lives somewhere in Hawaii)
  • Glenn Pearson - morning anchor (?-?)
  • Bryan Polcyn - "Problem Solvers" investigative reporter (?-?; now investigative reporter for WITI-TV in Milwaukee)
  • Ken Price - reporter (?-2008)
  • Johnny Rowlands - traffic reporter (?-?; now at KMBC-TV)
  • Steve Shaw - reporter (?-?)
  • Tina Simpkin - noon and weekend morning meteorologist (?-?; later at WTHR in Indianapolis, now a stay-at-home mother)
  • Shelly Slater - 6 and 10 p.m. weekend anchor (?-?; now at WFAA-TV in Dallas)
  • Cynthia Smith - anchor (1977–1992; now president & CEO of Sunflower House, a child abuse prevention center; came back for the station's sixtieth anniversary on the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts)
  • Stacy Smith - evening anchor (1977–1983; now anchor at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh)
  • Shelby Storck - weather anchor (1950s-1960s)
  • Laura Thornquist - 7:30-9 a.m. weekday anchor (?-2008)
  • Dan Vogt - reporter (1999–2002; now VP of Marketing, Midwest Open Imaging in Kansas City)
  • Bob Wells - announcer and weekend weatherman (1959–1965; later at WJW-TV in Cleveland, now an actor/announcer in the Tampa Bay area)

[2] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.==External links==


  1. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ News Corporation
  6. ^
  7. ^ Fox 4 enters the HD era — finally Kansas City Star, October 10, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2010
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^,5528
  13. ^,1239
  14. ^
  15. ^