The owners of WHB and KMBC radio joined together to win the license to Kansas City’s Channel 9 in 1953. The two stations each alternated 90 minutes of airtime. They used separate studios, but the same transmitter.
Cook Paint & Varnish, owners of WHB, purchased KMBC’s holdings in 1954. KMBC-TV took over the station full time. Cook Paint & Varnish sold WHB to Storz Broadcasting. When KCMO-TV (today’s KCTV) took the CBS affiliation in 1955, KMBC became the ABC affiliate, as advertised in this ad.
Metropolitan Broadcasting (later called Metromedia) bought the station 1962. Bonneville purchased the KMBC radio stations in 1967.
KMBC made national headlines in the 1980s. In 1980s, the station hired Christine Craft to be a news anchor. Despite Channel 9’s ratings success, a focus group said Craft, 36, was “too old, too unattractive and not deferential to men.”
Craft rejected a demotion to a reporting assignment and resigned from KMBC nine months later. She later sued Metromedia, accusing KMBC management of sexual discrimination and fraud. Craft initially won the case, but lost on appeal. Today, Craft is an attorney and fill-in talk show host on KGO-AM, San Francisco.
KMBC’s newscasts were rated No. 1 in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but WDAF-TV, Channel 4, soared into first place in the late 1980s. When WDAF switched from NBC to Fox in 1994, KMBC returned to first place. Today, the Kansas City TV news battle is a close one between KMBC, KCTV, WDAF and NBC affiliate KSHB. Hearst owns the station today.
There are lots of good KMBC clips on YouTube. Here’s a 1975 KMBC-TV “Total News” newscast. It’s divided in four parts. Look for the successive parts in the list on the right side of the screen:
Here’s a 1978 KMBC-TV promo:
Source: Wikipedia (KMBC-TV)