KSHB-TV, virtual channel 41 (UHF digital channel 42), is an NBC-affiliated television station serving Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, United States. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, as part of a duopoly with independent station KMCI-TV (channel 38). The two stations share studio facilities located on Oak Street in southern Kansas City, Missouri; KSHB maintains transmitter facilities located at the Blue River Greenway in the city's Hillcrest section. On cable, KSHB is available on Comcast channel 8, Time Warner Cable and SureWest channel 13, and AT&T U-verse channel 41.
The station also serves as the default NBC affiliate for the northerly adjacent St. Joseph market, which does not have an NBC affiliate of its own. KSHB's broadcast transmitter provides a city-grade signal that reaches St. Joseph proper, and it is available on cable and satellite providers in the market.
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. 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. 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 becoming 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, and remained the area's leading independent station, even as it gained competition 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 for 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; Fox would not carry seven nights a week of network programming until September 1993. Until Fox began airing programming on a nightly basis, KSHB-TV aired a movie at 7:00 p.m. on nights when network programs did not air. The station began identifying itself as "KSHB-TV 41" around that time. 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 in New World. As part of its partial equity acquisition of New World, Fox also reached a multi-year agreement with New World, under which it would affiliate most of the twelve television stations – specifically those affiliated with one of the "Big Three" networks – that the company had either owned outright or was in the process of acquiring with the 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 (channel 4), 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 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 approached the Meredith Corporation for a proposal to keep KCTV a CBS affiliate; it persuaded Meredith to switch two of the company's stations – NBC affiliate WNEM-TV in Bay City, Michigan and independent station KPHO 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 not included in 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).
The assumption of the NBC affiliation resulted in KSHB-TV effectively becoming the unofficial "home" station of the Kansas City Chiefs, whose regular season and playoff games aired on the station as part of NBC's broadcasting contract with the American Football Conference (AFC). WDAF-TV had previously aired most of the Chiefs' games beginning in 1965, when NBC assumed rights to the American Football League (AFL), which became the American Football Conference upon the merger of the AFL and the NFL in 1970 (in New World markets outside of Kansas City and Cleveland, mainly those where it bought or already owned a CBS-affiliated station, 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 the rights to the AFC package migrated to CBS. 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.
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 in 2001, 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).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|41.1||1080i||16:9||KSHB-DT||Main KSHB-TV programming / NBC|
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 remained 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.
Syndicated programming broadcast on KSHB-TV (as of September 2015) includes The Wendy Williams Show, Access Hollywood, The List (which is produced by Scripps' programming division), Whacked Out Sports, Just for Laughs Gags 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).
KSHB-TV currently broadcasts the entire NBC schedule, with the only programming pre-emptions 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 two blocks from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (with the fourth hour airing on tape delay due to the station's carriage of Kansas City Live in its recommended 10:00 a.m. slot). KSHB also airs the NBC Kids block on a one-hour delay due to its Saturday morning newscast.
As a Fox affiliate, KSHB carried the network's programming in pattern; however during its early years as an NBC affiliate, it pre-empted or delayed a limited number of programs. From September 1994 until the program's cancellation in August 1999, 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 Saturdays 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 most NBC stations in the Central Time Zone) from September 2013 to September 2015, in line with the Eastern Time scheduling of the program.
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 11:00 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 Saturday evenings following Saturday Night Live.
KSHB-TV presently broadcasts 36½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays). 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.
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 leading into select daytime and evening programs on the station, with footage and an announcer voiceover reading reports supplied by 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 aired a 15-minute local newscast titled 41 Express that originally aired at 10:00 p.m. weeknights upon its debut in September 1984; the program moved to 11:00 p.m. after it was displaced by The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers when it became a Fox charter affiliate on October 3, 1986, where it remained until the newscast was canceled the following year. For the next four years, the only news programming on KSHB-TV consisted solely of the aforementioned news updates, which by then had aired mainly during commercial breaks within the station's prime time programs before they were discontinued in January 1991.
The station would venture back into news programming two years later, following the establishment of a full-scale news department for KSHB by Scripps. 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; originally anchored by Jim Condelles and Pam Davis, 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 utilization of horizontally tilted and close-up camera angles during field reports. Upon becoming an NBC affiliate on September 12, 1994, KSHB added newscasts at 5:00 p.m. seven nights a week and at 6:00 p.m. weeknights; the existing late-evening newscast was also moved one hour later to 10:00 p.m. and was expanded to include editions on Saturday and Sunday evenings (with Amy Marcinkiewicz and Linda Hamblin serving as weekend co-anchors). In turn, by February 1995, the style of its newscasts began veering toward a more traditional format. Initially, the station only aired news outside of its newly established evening time slots 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 held over from its former affiliation with Fox as well as the early-morning network newscast NBC News at Sunrise between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.); it would eventually begin expanding news programming with the debut of an hour-long weekday morning newscast at 6:00 a.m. in September 1996.
In September 1997, the station canceled its 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. A year-and-a-half later in March 1999, the 6:30 broadcast was removed due to low viewership, with newscasts being reinstated at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. In September 2000, KSHB began producing a half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast for KMCI; 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 those used for KSHB's newscasts.
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. While its ratings are generally 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 viewership growth since the late 2000s. In fact, KSHB is now solidly places second at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., and has risen to third place in the 6:00 a.m. timeslot. Given NBC's often mediocre to poor performance in prime time in recent years, its late evening newscast at 10:00 p.m. continues to struggle, consistently ranking in fourth place, and at times a close third at a small enough margin to where KSHB competes to an extent with WDAF (which itself competes with KCTV for second place) 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 eaked its first 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 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 sister stations WFTS-TV in Tampa and WXYZ-TV in Detroit (both of which are ABC affiliates). In the case of the Kansas City market, KSHB is the second station to use the branding – dating from when WDAF used it for its newscasts from 1974 to 1990 as an NBC affiliate. The Action News branding on KSHB originated as 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 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 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 graphics hub based out 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 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); its hour-long Saturday morning newscast was extended to two hours from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. and an hour-long 6:00 p.m. newscast on Saturdays was added on September 4. Earlier on August 19, KSHB announced that former WDAF-TV sports director Frank Boal (who had announced in 2009 that he was retiring from the television industry) would be joining the station as a contributor for its NFL and college football coverage. On August 29, 2011, KSHB debuted a half-hour 4:30 p.m. newscast, which utilizes social media platforms to allow viewers to interact with the program. 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 April 8, 2013, the station added an hour-long 4:00 p.m. newscast on weekdays. On July 14, 2014, KSHB-TV and Denver sister station KMGH-TV (which produces the program) debuted a Scripps-produced hour-long news program titled The NOW (which replaced the 4:00 p.m. newscast); the program, of which Scripps began to syndicate its format to its other stations through January 2015, heavily incorporates social media and features a mix of national segments featuring stories that are trending online and local news inserts.