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KMOV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 24), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by the Meredith Corporation. KMOV's studios are located at the Gateway Tower on Memorial Drive in Downtown St. Louis, near the Gateway Arch, and its transmitter is located in Lemay. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channels 4 (standard definition) and 704 (high definition), and on AT&T U-verse channels 4 (SD) and 1004 (HD).

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

The station first signed on the air on July 8, 1954 as KWK-TV. At its launch, channel 4 was owned by a consortium which included Robert T. Convey (28%) and the Newhouse Newspapers-published St. Louis Globe-Democrat (23%), who jointly operated KWK radio (1380 AM, now KXFN); Elzey M. Roberts Sr., former owner of KXOK radio (630 AM, frequency now occupied by KYFI), which had to be sold as a condition of the license grant (23%); and Missouri Valley Television Inc., made up of Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting (23%) and several St. Louis residents (combined 3%).

Each of the station's part-owners had competed individually for the channel 4 construction permit before agreeing to merge their interests only three months before the station went on the air. Upon signing-on KWK-TV took the CBS affiliation from Belleville, Illinois-licensed WTVI (channel 54, now KTVI channel 2). Until 1955, it also aired ABC programs that WTVI declined to broadcast. The station's original studios, built by KWK radio in anticipation of television, were located on Cole Street in Downtown West.

As a CBS owned-and-operated stationEdit

However, CBS was planning to operate its own television station in St. Louis alongside its powerhouse radio station, KMOX (1120 AM). The network originally won the permit to build a new station on channel 11 – the last remaining commercial VHF channel in St. Louis – in January 1957. But after being approached with an offer, CBS decided in August of that year to buy KWK-TV instead for $4 million. The agreement required CBS to give up its construction permit for channel 11, and the Federal Communications Commission transferred it to one of the failed applicants, a group led by St. Louis hotelier Harold Koplar, for no financial consideration. Almost immediately, the deal was held up after the St. Louis Amusement Company, another of the original applicants for channel 11, protested to the United States Court of Appeals in January 1958. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld the decision in November of that year. CBS had already taken control of channel 4's operations that March, and changed its call letters to KMOX-TV in reference to its new radio sister. The following April, channel 11 signed on as independent station KPLR-TV.

In July 1968, CBS opened a new studio and office facility in downtown St. Louis to house the KMOX stations, which until that point had been operating from separate locations (KMOX radio was headquartered near Forest Park). Channel 4 moved from Cole Street into the new facility, known as One Memorial Drive, and remains there to the present day; the Cole Street studio was soon acquired by KDNL-TV (channel 30), which has operated from there since it signed-on in June 1969.

KMOX-TV was the host station for the 1983 Miss Universe Pageant, which was held at the now-demolished Kiel Auditorium.

Viacom ownershipEdit

By late 1985, CBS was in rough financial straits, an after-effect of successfully fending off a hostile takeover attempt by Ted Turner the year before. CBS spent the latter portion of 1985 repurchasing a large portion of its stock to help block the Turner takeover. Once Turner sold his stock, CBS was saddled with significant debt and needed to raise money. Not long after Laurence Tisch became the company's chairman, CBS decided to sell KMOX-TV, at the time its smallest owned-and-operated television station by market size. On May 16, 1986, the original iteration of Viacom, the former CBS Inc. subsidiary and future parent company, completed its $122.5 million purchase of the station; KMOX-TV's callsign was slightly modified to the present KMOV almost a month later on June 18. Despite the sale, channel 4's operations continued to be based alongside KMOX radio at their downtown studios on Memorial Drive; KMOX would relocate from that building in 2012.

Viacom purchased Paramount Pictures in 1993, and merged its five-station group (KMOV; WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York; WNYT in Albany, New York; WVIT in New Britain, Connecticut; and KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana) into the Paramount Stations Group. However, in 1994, the company decided to divest itself of all of its major network affiliates to focus on stations that carried its then-upstart United Paramount Network (UPN).

Belo Corporation ownershipEdit

Dallas-based A. H. Belo Corporation acquired KMOV in a three-way deal also involving two stations in the Seattle-Tacoma market. As part of the transaction, A. H. Belo (which spun off its broadcast holdings into a separate, similarly named company in 2008) sold KIRO-TV (then a UPN affiliate, which was included in the deal because the company had recently acquired that market's NBC affiliate KING-TV) to Cox Enterprises, who concurrently sold its existing Seattle-Tacoma station, KSTW (a CBS affiliate then), to Viacom. The deal was consummated on June 1, 1997 (KIRO and KSTW swapped their affiliations on June 30, 1997).

The station aired St. Louis Blues NHL games for one season, during the 1996–97 season until their over-the-air telecasts moved back to KPLR-TV for the 1997–98 season (all Blues games are now broadcast exclusively on cable locally on Fox Sports Midwest).

In the spring of 2013, a permanent lighted sign with the KMOV logo was installed on the top of the south face of Gateway Tower, which not only gives the station visibility on the St. Louis skyline, but is also visible in center field of wide shots of Busch Stadium during St. Louis Cardinals games.

Changing handsEdit

On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company, owner of NBC affiliate KSDK (channel 5), announced that it would acquire Belo. As the deal would violate FCC regulations that disallow common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market (KMOV and KSDK have ranked as the top two stations in the St. Louis market in total-day ratings for several years), Gannett would retain KSDK, while it would spin off KMOV to Sander Media, LLC (owned by former Belo executive Jack Sander). Gannett intended to provide services to the station through a shared services agreement, KMOV's operations were to remain largely separate from KSDK, including separate and competing news and sales departments. However, on December 16, 2013, the United States Department of Justice threatened to block the merger unless Gannett, Belo and Sander completely divested KMOV to a government-approved third-party company that would be barred from entering into any agreements with Gannett. The DOJ claimed that Gannett and Sander would be so closely aligned that Gannett would have dominated spot advertising in St. Louis. On December 23, 2013, shortly after the Gannett/Belo deal was approved and completed, Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation – which already had a broadcasting presence in Missouri through its ownership of fellow CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City – announced that it would purchase KMOV, along with KTVK and KASW in Phoenix (the latter of which Meredith would later sell to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group) for $407.5 million. The sale of KMOV was completed on February 28, 2014.

More than a year later on September 8, 2015, Richmond, Virginia-based Media General announced that it would acquire Meredith for $2.4 billion. If it had been completed, it would have marked KMOV's third ownership shift since 2013. Media General would eventually shelve the Meredith deal in favor of a counter-offer by Nexstar.

On April 24, 2018, it was announced that Meredith would be acquiring CW affiliate KPLR-TV from Tribune Media as a result of station sales ordered by the FCC as a result of Tribune's proposed acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owners of ABC affiliate KDNL-TV. If Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune and related station sales were approved, it would have created a duopoly between KMOV and KPLR-TV. However, on August 9, 2018, Tribune announced it would terminate the Sinclair deal, intending to seek other M&A opportunities. This came three weeks after the FCC's July 18 vote to have the deal reviewed by an administrative law judge amid "serious concerns" about Sinclair's forthrightness in its applications to sell certain conflict properties. Tribune also filed a breach of contract lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court, alleging that Sinclair engaged in protracted negotiations with the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division over regulatory issues, refused to sell stations in markets where it already had properties, and proposed divestitures to parties with ties to Sinclair executive chair David D. Smith that were rejected or highly subject to rejection to maintain control over stations it was required to sell. The move jeopardized the possible duopoly between KPLR and KMOV.


TV stations in Missouri
KMOV, St. Louis

KCTV, Kansas City
KTVO-DT2, Kirksville
KHQA, Hannibal
KCJO-LD, St. Joseph
KRCG, Jefferson City
KOLR, Springfield

TV stations in Missouri
KMOV-DT3, St. Louis

KSMO, Kansas City
KMIZ-DT3, Columbia
KOZL, Springfield

TV stations in the Greater St. Louis and Metro East Illinois areas
KTVI 2 (Fox)
KMOV 4 (CBS)
KSDK 5 (NBC)
KPTN-LD 7 (HSN)
KETC 9 (PBS)
KPLR 11 (CW)
WPXS 13 (Daystar)
KDTL-LD 16 (RTV)
KEFN-CD 20 (EWTN)
KNLC 24 (MeTV)
K25NG-D 25 (3ABN)
W29CI-D 29 (3ABN)
KDNL 30 (ABC)
KBGU-LP 33 (Buzzr)
K38HD-D 38 (HSN)
WODK-LD 45 (Cozi TV)
WRBU 46 (Ion)
W50CH 50 (Ind)
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