KNLC, virtual channel 24 (UHF digital channel 14), is a religious independent television station located in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by the locally based New Life Evangelistic Center. KNLC maintains studio facilities located at the church's facilities on Locust Street in the Downtown West section of St. Louis, and its transmitter is located in House Springs.
The station first signed on the air on September 12, 1982; it was founded by New Life Evangelistic Center founder Reverend Larry Rice. At its launch, KNLC maintained an entirely religious programming format that included shows such as The 700 Club and The PTL Club, programs by televangelists Richard Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart, and locally produced religious shows. In 1984, KNLC began mixing in secular classic television series including sitcoms and westerns from the 1950s and early 1960s, most of which were not airing on television in many other U.S. markets. These programs ran in an unusual manner, as while most religious stations that run secular programs air a single block of such shows (for example, weekdays from 3-7 p.m.), KNLC utilized a hodgepodge schedule for its religious and secular syndicated shows (with secular programming airing from 7-7:30 and 9-10:30 a.m., 2-3, 5-6 and 9-9:30 p.m., with religious shows filling the remaining timeslots between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. when secular shows were not airing). However, in the late 1980s, the station began mixing the religious and secular shows in a more consistent pattern, and acquired a lot of barter cartoons and relatively more recent sitcoms. While the daytime schedule may have featured a mixed format from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the 7-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. time periods featured cartoons and the 5-7 p.m. slot featured classic sitcoms. In 1986, the New Life Evangelistic Center launched a second religious independent, KNLJ in New Bloomfield; it sold that station to the Christian Television Network in 2007.
As the United Paramount Network was preparing to make its January 1995 debut, KNLC turned down an offer to affiliate with the network. However that August, the station began carrying Fox Kids, which was turned down by KTVI (channel 2) just prior to its switch from ABC to Fox that month, KNLC ran the block from 7-8 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. weekdays and on Saturday mornings. The station also acquired more recent programming around this time. However, its growth would not last. By the spring of 1996, KNLC refused to sell local advertising during the Fox Kids blocks because it objected to the content featured within the programs and the national advertising included along with it. The time that would normally be allocated to local commercials was instead replaced with messages from Rice's ministry regarding issues such as the death penalty, same-sex marriage and abortion. Fox felt that its children's programming was not the appropriate place for such subjects to be discussed upon; in addition, the station's signal was virtually unviewable in some portions of the market, even on cable; and the fact the market had one of the largest Fox Kids Clubs in the country (second only to Cleveland, operated by WB station WBNX-TV), resulting in the station being unable to cope with the resulting flood of mail. Ultimately regretting putting Fox Kids programs on a conservative religious station, the network moved both the weekday afternoon and Saturday morning Fox Kids blocks to KTVI that fall, becoming then-owner New World Communications' only Fox-affiliated station to run the network's children's programs (the remainder of New World's Fox affiliates chose to run local newscasts and/or syndicated programs in place of the Fox Kids blocks).
As children's programming on broadcast television went on the decline and the more popular classic television shows migrated to cable television, KNLC began to spend less of its revenue on secular shows. Nonetheless, KNLC finally affiliated with UPN in May 1999, but it refused to air several programs because management felt that the network's series and advertisements were offensive; by September 2000, channel 24 had left the network. UPN subsequently moved to secondary affiliation status on then-The WB affiliate KPLR-TV (channel 11); the network did not have full-time affiliate in St. Louis until WRBU (channel 46), which began carrying select UPN programming in September 2002, added the remainder of its schedule in April 2003.
Pax TV (now Ion Television) offered to affiliate with KNLC after losing its St. Louis area affiliate, KUMO-LP (channel 51, a repeater of Mount Vernon, Illinois station WPXS), in 2004, but the station also turned it down. Ion has since purchased WRBU.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|24.1||720p||16:9||KNLC-HD||Main KNLC programming|
|24.2||480i||4:3||A.R.E.||Renewable Energy Satellite|
On February 4, 2009, KNLC added its first digital subchannel on 24.2, Renewable Energy Satellite (RES), which features programming focusing on various renewable energy methods. The subchannel is operated by Missouri Renewable Energy (MORE), a non-profit group associated with the New Life Evangelistic Center.
KNLC shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 24, on January 19, 2009 (just over five months before the federally mandated June 12 transition to digital broadcasts for U.S. full-power television stations, in order for KMOV (channel 4) to be able to set up its permanent digital signal on UHF channel 24 since its original digital channel allocation on UHF 56 was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) to be removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition). The station's digital signal remained from its pre-transition UHF channel 14. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 24. Because of these conversion arrangements, KNLC partnered with KMOV to raise funds to purchase digital converter boxes for viewers living in low-income households.
Today, the programming on KNLC consists of mostly locally produced and syndicated religious shows (such as Ed Hindson), along with a mix of public domain classic television shows and movies. Secular syndicated programs seen on KNLC include Route 66, The Beverly Hillbillies, Highway to Heaven, Lassie, Hometime and The Bill Cosby Show.