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KPXE-TV, virtual channel 50 (UHF digital channel 30), is an Ion Television owned-and-operated television station licensed to Kansas City, Missouri, United States and serving the Kansas City metropolitan area. The station is owned by Ion Media Networks. KPXE's offices are located on Oak Street and Cleaver Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri, and its transmitter is located in that city's Brown Estates section. On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 16, Comcast Xfinity channel 9, and Consolidated Communications channel 15, as well as AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber channel 50. There is a high definition feed provided on Spectrum digital channel 1218, Xfinity channel 809, Consolidated channel 705 and U-verse channel 1050.

HistoryEdit

The station first signed on the air on October 29, 1969 as KCIT-TV (probably standing for "Kansas City Independent Television"). Founded by Allied Broadcasting, it was the first independent station to sign on in the Kansas City market, and the first new commercial station to sign on in the area since the short-lived DuMont Television Network affiliate KCTY (on channel 25) debuted in 1954. KCIT filled its schedule mostly with programming that the network affiliates in the market – KCMO-TV (channel 5, now KCTV), KMBC-TV (channel 9) and WDAF-TV (channel 4) – had chosen to turn down. However, in some cases, the network affiliates turned down so many shows that even KCIT could not air them all. Among the notable pre-empted network shows that it carried included The Brady Bunch, Days of Our Lives, the ABC Evening News, Meet the Press, The Merv Griffin Show and American Bandstand. It also managed to produce a few local programs. One of them was Torey and Friends, hosted by popular children's host Torey Southwick. Landing Southwick was a major coup for the station, as he had been hosting local programs on KMBC-TV since 1960.

However, KCIT received competition in August 1970, when KBMA-TV (channel 41, now NBC affiliate KSHB-TV) began broadcasting. KBMA had wealthier owners and a stronger signal than channel 50; KCIT lost its early appeal as a result. Around this time, Allied Broadcasting had gotten into severe financial straits. By late June, the station had bumped its sign-on time to 2:30 p.m. By the end of the month, the station had finally decided to call it quits. During the last week in June and the first week of July, it was only on the air for two hours a day – the minimum required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cover the license. The first iteration of Channel 50 signed off for good on July 7, 1971. KBMA became the sole independent station in Kansas City for several years afterward until KEKR-TV (channel 62, now KSMO-TV) signed on in September 1983 (the KCIT call letters are now assigned to a Fox-affiliated station in Amarillo, Texas).

The channel 50 license remained dormant for seven years; at the time, the FCC was not willing to delete licenses for television stations with UHF allocations. The station returned to the air on December 17, 1978 as KYFC-TV, named after its owner, Kansas City Youth For Christ. Operating as a noncommercial independent station, its lineup largely consisted of religious programming through the 1980s, however a few "family-friendly" secular shows had been added to its schedule. The station ran newscasts from CNN Headline News at least once a day for several years, replacing the commercials during breaks within the simulcasts with other announcements.

Pledges to support the station declined during the 1990s. Station managers also grew concerned about the cost of converting to digital operations, something they were reluctant to pass on to their financial supporters. In 1997, the station was sold to Paxson Communications (the forerunner to Ion Media Networks), and began to air infomercials from the Infomail TV Network (inTV) and programming from The Worship Network shortly thereafter, along with some religious programs. On April 28 of that year, the station also changed its call letters to KINB. On January 13, 1998, the station changed its callsign again, this time to KPXE; then eight months later on August 31, the station became a charter owned-and-operated station of Pax TV when that network launched.

In 2001, KPXE entered into a joint sales agreement with NBC affiliate KSHB, as part of an agreement between Paxson Communications and three stations owned by the E. W. Scripps Company (which also involved KSHB sister stations WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida and KJRH in Tulsa, Oklahoma).


TV stations in Missouri
WRBU, East St. Louis/St. Louis

KPXE, Kansas City
KPOB-DT5, Poplar Bluff
KODE-DT4, Joplin
KRBK-DT4, Osage Beach

TV stations in Kansas City
WDAF 4 (Fox)
KCTV 5 (CBS)
KMBC 9 (ABC)
KCPT 19 (PBS)
KCWE 29 (CW)
KCDN-LD 35 (Daystar)
KMCI 38 (Ind.)
KSHB 41 (NBC)
KCMN-LD 42 (Decades)
K45IO-D 45 (HSN)
KUKC-LD 48 (UNI)
KPXE 50 (Ion)
KSMO 62 (MNTV)
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