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KNLC, virtual channel 24 (UHF digital channel 14), is a MeTV owned-and-operated television station licensed to St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by Weigel Broadcasting. KNLC's transmitter is located near Hillsboro-House Springs Road in House Springs, Missouri.

HistoryEdit

Founded by Rev. Larry Rice, founder of the New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC), the station first signed on the air on September 12, 1982, making it the first new television station in the St. Louis market since KDNL-TV (channel 30) signed-on in 1969. Originally, KNLC maintained a schedule consisting entirely of religious programming, which 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 September 1984, KNLC transitioned into a hybrid format similar to that offered by the independent stations owned at the time by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), incorporating a selection of secular classic television series featuring sitcoms and westerns from the 1950s and early 1960s, many of which had not been airing in many other U.S. markets.

Unlike most religious/secular independents that aired a single daily block of family-oriented secular programs within their schedules (for example, weekdays from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.), KNLC scheduled its secular shows in a hodgepodge manner in random short-form blocks. It initially carried secular programs from 7:00 to 7:30 and 9:00 to 10:30 a.m., 2:00 to 3:00, 5:00 to 6:00 and 9:00 to 9:30 p.m., with religious shows filling the remaining time slots during its broadcast day between 5:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. By the late 1980s, the station began mixing its religious and secular shows in a more consistent pattern, and expanded its syndicated offerings with the acquisition of several barter cartoons and (relatively more) recent sitcoms. The daytime schedule from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. featured a mixed format of secular and religious shows, though cartoons exclusively occupied the 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. time periods and classic sitcoms aired from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. In 1986, the New Life Evangelistic Center launched a second religious independent serving the Jefferson City market, KNLJ in New Bloomfield; the ministry would sell that station to the Christian Television Network in 2007.

KNLC was approached by the United Paramount Network (UPN) to become that network's St. Louis charter affiliate in the runup to its January 1995 debut; however, the station turned its offer down, a move that led to UPN being unavailable over-the-air in the market for its first seven months of operation then beginning a succession of secondary affiliations with other network affiliates in the market, when it affiliated with ABC station KDNL-TV (channel 30) in August 1995. That month, KNLC took over to the local programming rights to Fox Kids. Longtime ABC affiliate KTVI (channel 2)—which switched to Fox on August 7 through an affiliation agreement with New World Communications—opted not to carry Fox's children's program block to accommodate expanded newscasts on weekday and weekend mornings, and syndicated programming on weekday afternoons; outgoing Fox station KDNL could not retain the block due to the station's newfound programming commitments to ABC. KNLC carried Fox Kids on weekdays from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. as well as on Saturday mornings. The station also acquired more recent first-run and off-network syndicated programs around this time; however, its growth would not last.

By the spring of 1996, KNLC had refused to sell local advertising during the Fox Kids weekday and Saturday blocks amid internal objections to the content of the programs and the accompanying national advertising aired during its commercial breaks. Ad slots that would normally be allocated to local commercials were instead occupied by public service messages from Rev. Rice's ministry that discussed various controversial moral issues such as the death penalty, same-sex marriage and abortion, a move that was opposed by Fox network management, which felt that its children's programs were not the appropriate place for such subject matter to be discussed upon. The station also had an additional issue as its signal was virtually unviewable in some portions of the market, even on cable. Station management soon found itself overwhelmed with mail for the Fox Kids Club, which it inherited from KDNL. The St. Louis market boasted one of the largest Fox Kids Clubs in the country – second only to that operated by WBNX-TV in Cleveland, which aired Fox Kids programming despite being a WB affiliate (now an independent station, and also coincidentally owned by religious interests).

Fox network officials felt increasing chagrin with Fox Kids programs airing on a conservative religious station, and pulled Fox Kids from KNLC in September 1996. The weekday afternoon and Saturday morning editions of the Fox Kids block moved to KTVI that fall, becoming 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), where the block remained in its successor iterations until Fox ceased to offer children's programming in December 2008 (when KTVI was under the ownership of Local TV, following Fox Television Stations' 2007 sale of seven of its owned-and-operated stations).

As children's programming on broadcast television had begun to decline and the more popular classic television shows had migrated to cable television, KNLC began to reduce its programming budget for the acquisition of secular shows. Nonetheless, KNLC chose to take on a part-time affiliation with UPN in May 1999, after KDNL disaffiliated from the network to focus on its ABC program offerings; however, channel 24 refused to carry several of the network's programs because of views by management that felt the network's series and advertisements were offensive. UPN eventually chose to move its programming to The WB affiliate KPLR-TV (channel 11, now a CW affiliate) in September 2000, which carried its entire prime time schedule in late night (the network would not have full-time affiliate in St. Louis until April 2003, when WRBU (channel 46) became a UPN affiliate full-time eight months after it began maintaining a part-time affiliation with the network to carry Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: Enterprise).

KNLC also turned down an offer by Paxson Communications to affiliate KNLC with Pax TV (now Ion Television), after KUMO-LP (channel 51) and its full-power parent station in Mount Vernon, Illinois, WPXS (channel 13), disaffiliated from the network in 2004 (the network would return to KUMO and WPXS in 2005, however it would not be available over-the-air in the market from 2008 to 2013, when Ion affiliated with WRBU following that station's transfer into an Ion-controlled trust company.)

On September 7, 2017, it was announced that KNLC was being sold to Weigel Broadcasting for $3.75 million; Weigel would convert KNLC to a secular independent station. The sale was completed on December 14, 2017. New Life retains control of one subchannel to carry their programming, on KNLC-DT2, known as "NLEC TV."

On February 1, 2018, MeTV moved from KMOV 4.2 to KNLC 24.1. This provided an HD feed over the air and also brought MeTV to satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV for the first time in the St. Louis market.


TV stations in Missouri
Daystar: WPXS, Mount Vernon, IL/St. Louis, MO: KCDN-LD, Kansas City

CTN: KNLJ, Jefferson City
HSN: KPTN-LD, St. Louis: K45IO-D, Kansas City
TBN: KTAJ, St. Joseph: KCLJ-LP2, Joplin
Spanish-language stations: KRFT-LD, Springfield: KNPG-LD3, St. Joseph: KUKC-LD, Kansas City
Other stations: KDTL-LD, St. Louis: KNLC, St. Louis: KDKZ-LD, Farmington: K39CP, Poplar Bluff: KBNS-CD, Branson: KCLJ-LP, Joplin: KJPX-LP, Joplin

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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