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KMCI-TV, virtual channel 38 (UHF digital channel 25), is an independent television station licensed to Lawrence, Kansas, United States and serving the Kansas City metropolitan area. The station is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, as part of a duopoly with Kansas City, Missouri-licensed NBC affiliate KSHB-TV (channel 41). The two stations share studios on Oak Street in Kansas City, Missouri, and transmitter facilities at the Blue River Greenway in the city's Hillcrest section. On cable, KMCI is available on Charter Spectrum and Consolidated Communications channel 8, Comcast Xfinity channel 2 in Kansas and channel 5 in Missouri, and AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber channel 38. There is a high definition feed provided on Spectrum digital channel 1230, Xfinity channel 807, Consolidated channel 632 and U-verse channel 1038.
|Lawrence, Kansas/Kansas City, Missouri|
|Branding||38 The Spot (general)|
41 Action News on 38 The Spot (newscast)
|Slogan||It's Where You Want to Be. (general)|
Kansas City's Breaking News Leader (news)
Kansas City's Weather Leader (weather)
|Channels||Digital: 25 (UHF)|
Virtual: 38 (PSIP)
|Owner||E. W. Scripps Company|
(Scripps Broadcasting Holdings LLC)
|Founded||May 16, 1985|
|First air date||February 13, 1988|
|Call letters' meaning||ICAO-assigned code for Kansas City International Airport and|
|Former callsigns||KMCI (1988–2010)|
|Former channel number(s)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||285.1 m (935 ft) (STA)|
306 m (1,004 ft) (CP)
|Public license information||Profile|
The station first signed on the air on February 13, 1988. Founded by Miller Television, it originally served as an affiliate of the Home Shopping Network. Beginning sometime in 1995, KMCI began carrying a minimal amount of syndicated sitcoms, cartoons and other programs, alongside HSN programming. When KSHB-TV (channel 41) lost the Fox affiliation to WDAF-TV (channel 4) and gained the NBC affiliation that was displaced by that station in September 1994, KSHB sold very little of its programming to KSMO-TV (channel 62) or WDAF. The station had a lot of acquired programming that it did not have room to run on its schedule due to NBC's heavy lineup of network programming as well as the station's new news programming commitments; most of these shows were acquired by KMCI. Early programs on KMCI included shows such as I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver, Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoon shorts, Happy Days and Taxi. In the summer of 1996, KSHB owner Scripps Howard Broadcasting began to manage KMCI under a local marketing agreement;
KMCI then rebranded as "38 Family Greats", with a family-oriented general entertainment format from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, with HSN programming being relegated to the overnight hours. More recent programs also airing regularly on KSHB were integrated onto KMCI's schedule. HSN programming was subsequently dropped from the station in 1999. That fall, KMCI began carrying weekday afternoon and Saturday morning programming from Fox Kids, after the block was dropped by UPN affiliate KCWE (channel 29, now a CW affiliate); WDAF chose to decline Fox's children's programming lineup after affiliating with the network. The weekday afternoon Fox Kids block was discontinued nationwide by Fox in January 2002, leaving only the Saturday morning block.
The station was acquired by the E. W. Scripps Company outright in 2002, forming a legal duopoly with KSHB. That same year, KMCI dropped the "Family Greats" branding and simply branded by its channel number. Then in July 2003, the station officially became known as "38 the Spot". The station continued to run children's programming from Fox after it was relaunched under the "Fox Box" banner in September 2002 and again under the "4Kids TV" banner from January 2005 until Fox discontinued its children's programming in December 2008, following a dispute with 4Kids Entertainment, which subsequently began programming The CW's Saturday morning children's programming that same year. Neither WDAF nor KMCI opted to air Weekend Marketplace, the infomercial block that replaced the 4Kids TV block, which ended up not airing at all in the Kansas City market.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|38.1||720p||16:9||KMCI-TV||Main KMCI-TV programming|
Live Well Network was originally intended to be carried on KSHB digital subchannel 41.3, but was added to KMCI 38.2 on September 1, 2011 instead to even out the bandwidth between both stations. KMCI replaced the Live Well Network with Bounce TV on digital subchannel 38.2 on October 21, 2013. KMCI also added Escape to 38.3 and Grit on 38.4 on April 15, 2015.
KMCI-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 38, 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 moved from its pre-transition UHF channel 36 to channel 41 (the former analog-era assignment and current virtual channel of sister station KSHB-TV) for post-transition operations. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 38. As part of the FCC's repack, KMCI-TV moved to channel 25 on February 11, 2019.
Syndicated programs broadcast on KMCI include The Simpsons, Last Man Standing, Family Guy, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Divorce Court and 2 Broke Girls. KMCI features hosts that promote the station's programming, as well as local events during commercial breaks. Taunia Hottman was the first spokesperson for KMCI as "38 the Spot". Meredith Hoenes (who became a traffic reporter for KSHB-TV around this time) replaced Hottman after she left in 2004 to join KUSA in Denver, Colorado. Holly Starr took over after Hoenes left in February 2008 to become a weekday anchor/reporter for WDAF-TV; Starr remained with KMCI as its program host until 2011, replaced by Crystle Lampitt in 2012.
On November 6, 2013, KSHB-TV/KMCI-TV announced a deal with Sporting Kansas City to broadcast up to 26 regular season games from the Major League Soccer club on KMCI, as well as several specials throughout the season (some of which will air on KSHB-TV) and pre-game and post-game shows beginning with the 2014 season.
In 2018, KMCI and the University of Kansas struck a deal where KMCI would broadcast several early season Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball games, Kansas women's basketball home games, and other select sporting events from the university.
In 2000, KSHB-TV began producing a half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast on KMCI to compete with the in-house newscast in that timeslot on WDAF-TV (which debuted in September 1994, when that station switched from NBC to Fox). The program was canceled in 2003, one week after KMCI's rebranding as "38 The Spot"; by this point, the newscast was called 38 News Now and had completely differentiated itself from KSHB's newscasts, using different graphics, a different – and drastically smaller – set, and a different all-percussion theme ("Third Coast" by Stephen Arnold, which KSHB used as its news theme from 1999 until it rebranded as NBC Action News in 2003, and was used on the KMCI newscast from its launch).
On August 1, 2011, KMCI began airing a rebroadcast of KSHB's 11:00 a.m. newscast at noon on weekdays. In addition to airing rebroadcasts of local news programming from KSHB-TV, KMCI will take on the responsibility of preempting regular programming and running NBC network shows in the event of extended breaking news or severe weather coverage on KSHB.
- Scripps to Run TV Station in Lawrence, Kan., The Cincinnati Post (via HighBeam Research), March 28, 1996.
- Scripps Plans to Buy KMCI-TV in Lawrence, Kansas[dead link], PR Newswire (via HighBeam Research), December 6, 1999.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KMCI
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- KC TV stations will delay digital-only switch, Kansas City Business Journal, February 6, 2009.
- "KMCI - TV Listings". Zap2It. Gracenote. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
-  Archived September 15, 2009, at Archive.today
- MorningSky, Autumn (November 6, 2013). "KSHB, KMCI will begin broadcasting Sporting KC games". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved August 15, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- 41 Action News Today is now on 38 The Spot! Find local news, weather and traffic at 7 a.m. - 41 Action News Archived January 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- 41 Action News Today on 38 The Spot - YouTube