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St. Louis Missouri Television Stations
  KSD-TV, Channel 5, St Louis, MO (KSDK)
  WTVI, Channel 54, Bellville, IL (KTVI, Channel 2)
  KWK, Channel 4, St. Louis, MO (KMOX, KMOV)
  KPRL, Channel 11, St. Louis, MO
  KDNL, Channel 30, St. Louis, MO
  St. Louis Ghost Television Stations


This Ad could be yours....e-mail for information

                                                                        
St. Louis TV Ghosts-The "Lost" TV Stations of the 1950's

KSTM, Channel 36, St. Louis, Missouri



“The Big Mo”

The roots of the TV station which would ultimately broadcast on channel 36 and qualify as St. Louis' first UHF station, originated with KSTL Radio.   Broadcast House, Inc. was at least partially owned by KSTL Radio and would be the company who would apply for, be granted, own, operate and eventually shut down the television station.

Broadcast House wasn't the only company applying for the channel 36 allocation.  The other applicant was Cecil W. Roberts, who would eventually win the allocation for WBLN, channel 15 in Bloomington, Illinois.  Roberts filed his application in August of 1952 and proposed a facility with a construction cost of a mere $133,878.   His proposal also placed the stations studio at the Melbourne Hotel at 3601 Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis.  It is assumed the roof of the hotel would be home for the stations proposed DuMont transmitter and RCA antenna. 




The Broadcast House application would include a construction cost of $350,000 with operating costs of $260,000 the first year of operation.  The application also stated the station would take a loss the first year in that revenue was only projected at $240,000.   The studio location was originally to be at 999 South 6th Street in St. Louis with the transmitter/tower located near the intersection of Northrup Avenue and Kingshighway.  Both transmitter and antenna would be manufactured by General Electric.


Broadcast House's Board of Directors included William Ware, president; O.D. Gulth, vice-president; Edward E. Haverstick Jr., treasure and William H. Biggs, the chairman of the board. 

The president of KSTL Radio, William Ware held 25-percent of the radio station but only 10-percent of the TV station.  Ware was also an owner of WPEO Radio in Peoria.   Ware was appointed the president and general manager of the future TV station KSTM-TV....a position which would contribute to his premature death at the age of 44.


"The Big Mo" Begins Construction


The original studio/transmitter location of KSTM would change even before the first shovel was turned.  On May 25, 1953 Broadcast House would request a change in the studio/transmitter location to 5915 Berthold Avenue in St. Louis.  The projected cost of the building was stated by William Ware at $750,000.  This went far beyond the original proposed cost of construction of $350,000, a gigantic increase in 1953 dollars!

Then problems began to occur during the early construction which would delay the premier of the new station.  As excavation began in early June 1953, construction was halted as a strike by union construction workers and union iron workers began.   It would take until early August to see an agreement between the union and contractors.  The original completion date was to be September 1st before the strike.  Now, it was changed to September 27th, but even with that delay the completion of KSTM would have to take on a break neck schedule if it was to be completed on time.




The KSTM fight begins


The competition between the future KSTM and WTVI in Belleville would heat up even before KSTM went on the air.  William Ware was set to do battle with WTVI, channel 54 in Belleville.  Ware filed against WTVI with the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC charging a violation of an FTC Act, which prohibits "unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce."



(from St. Louis Media History)

It seems that WTVI was advertising that it was "now on the air" and was a St. Louis TV station.  Ware contends that it is neither on the air, or a St. Louis TV station.  It seems the promotional material was a little premature.  WTVI did go on the air, August 10th, 1953.  The KSTM general manager offered to withdraw the complaints if WTVI would admit to being a Belleville, Illinois station and offer a significant amount of local coverage for the community on the east side of the Mississippi.  The action by Ware would simply be a nuisance to WTVI  and appeared to go nowhere legally.

Staffing KSTM

The delay in construction allowed Ware to assemble his staff.  Edward F. Murphy was added as the station program director.   Others in the team included Alvin M. King who was the vice president of sales and E. L. "Ted" Favors as vice president of engineering.  It was a short time after the announcements of the three managers that they would be called on to head the proposed television station.

It's impossible now to know how many people were employed at KSTM , or to mention their names.  That list has been lost to history.  There were some names which did come up in the industry publications as leaving KSTM for other stations or facilities.  Those include:  Seral A. Smith who was an accountant at KSTM who moved to WTVI; and John Kurtz, assistant program director moved to WTVD, Durham, North Carolina.   

A few other names which have been included in some of the listings of KSTM from a 1954 Telecasting yearbook include:  Edward B. Bench, Jr. as chief engineer, William A. Knight as commercial manager, Edward Brown as program director, Tom Taylor as film buyer and Charley Packard as sports director.  Dick J. Kasten was general manager later(more on Kasten below).  Its believed that most of these employees were probably some of the stations last.

If you know of anyone, perhaps someone in your family who was employed by KSTM, please contact me by e-mail with the information.  You will be listed as a contributor. 

The Death of the General Manger




On August 20th, 1953, even before KSTM would hit the air,  the pressures of building the television station would claim the life of 44 year old William E. Ware.  His cause of death would be listed as hypertension and uremia.  Even  an obituary described the situation leading up to his death as the stresses of building a broadcast facility and a new television station took its toll on the relatively young broadcaster, as he was "driving himself" in the efforts to get the station on the air.

William Ware was an active broadcaster whose activities included a spot on the NARTB Sports Committee, a former general manager at KFMX-FM and KSWI Radio in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Ware was a strong proponet of FM broadcasting and was president of the FM Association.  He was also a former sales manager of North Central Broadcasting System and its Mississippi Valley Network.  He was appointed president and general manager of KSTL Radio in March of 1950.

He was survived by his wife Louise Davies Ware and two children Barbara and William E. Ware III.

New Management

William H. Biggs, chairman of the board of Broadcast House, Inc. appointed the three recently hired vice presidents as a management team effective immediately after the death of William Ware.  Edward F. Murphy, program director; Alvin M King, commercial manager; and E. L. "Ted" Favors, chief engineer were now responsible for achieving a sign-on date of September 27th, 1953.



Broadcast House Replaces the KSTM Management Team


After the death of William Ware, the appointment of a management team seemed to be a permanent solution to the project of getting KSTM on the air.  However, it was just a short tenture for the young inexperienced managers.   Their appointment in August would only last until the appointment of Marshall H. Pengra which was announced on September 15th.  It would be up to Pengra "to right the ship and take it home."   It seemed to be rather obvious to Pengra and perhaps to Broadcast House that the only way that KSTM-TV would survive as a television station, is that it would have to change it's dial position from UHF to VHF.   The FCC had not assigned either channel 4 or channel 11 yet, and there were many other applicants for each allocation.  

Pengra and Broadcast House decided to petition the FCC to eliminate the VHF channels available and add allocations at channel 64, 70, 76 and 82 to the already allowed list of UHF channels already assigned or applied for.  Those included channel 14(KACY, Festus, Missouri), 30(applicants pending), 36(KSTM, St. Louis), 42(applicants pending), 54(WTVI, Belleville, Illinois).   Their argument stated that the assignment of channel 4 and 11 would complete the network affiliations with CBS and ABC along with DuMont(as a secondary affiliate).  This would leave the remaining UHF stations without network service and doom them to failure.

Viewers being well served by three VHF stations would be less likely to invest in the additional hardware to receive the UHF stations.


(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


Aggressive Promotion


Even with construction delays, equipment delays, hiring staff, fighting with competitors there was still aggressive promotional activities toward advertiers nationally, regionally and more than likely local.   Some of the ads placed in Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine are below.




KSTM-TV was represented by H-R Television, Inc. 
The station's national rep firm would be the sales representative
for KSTM-TV in working with national and regional advertisers.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


KSD-TV was no longer the only TV station in St. Louis.
Even though, WTVI was on the air earlier broadcasting
from the east side of the Mississippi and licensed to Belleville, Illinois
KSTM was technically the first UHF station in St. Louis.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


KSTM placed many sales generating ads in the broadcast
trade magazines trying to gain the attention of national
ad buyers with the advertising agencies.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


Another basic promotional ad for KSTM.  Many TV stations in that
era would promote the the fact they had the tallest tower, most power
or finest facilities and KSTM was no exception.  Here is an artists
rendering of the KSTM studios at 6000 Berthold Avenue in
St. Louis. 

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


KSTM "The Big Mo" after many delays
finally went on the air!  The date

was October 26th, 1953.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


"The Big Mo" changes the St. Louis TV picture
as it becomes the third St.Louis market station and
the second St. Louis station.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


Top shows from ABC and CBS on one station!   Add the
local productions being planned and KSTM was
anticipating larger audiences everyday!  What a bargain
for advertisers...making impressions with viewers of
St. Louis television.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)



"The TV Teen Club" from ABC would air on Saturday evenings
and would be hosted by Paul Whiteman.  The hour
long show designed for teens would be a pre-curser
to "American Bandstand."  This would air even before
the advent of rock and roll.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

Broadcast House applys for Channel 11

KSTM wasn't on the air but a week or so, when Broadcast House, led by Marshall Pengra, applied for the allocaiton of channel 11.   That  allocation was already being sought by 220 North Kingshighway, Inc; St. Louis Amusement, Co.; and St. Louis Television, Inc (WEW Radio).   After the awarding of channel 4 to KWK Radio CBS reapplied for channel 11 before the final approval for channel 11 was assigned.  More on that later.

Broadcast House and KSTM met much resistance not only from the FCC but from the other television station owners as well.  The biggest issue was the fact that Broadcast House had been awarded channel 36 already and it was against the rules to apply for a station when you already had one in the same market.   The fight continued with much manuvering by KSTM which included even applying for channel 11 as if it was assigned to East St. Louis.   More on that action below.

One Set Back After Another

For those early television broadcasters, sports could have been a major insurance policy against going out of business.  For St. Louis televison properties, the St. Louis Cardinals could have been a major boost to ones success.  KSTM made a bid for the broadcast rights of the Cardinals for the 1954 season.  The radio rights were granted to KXOK, over the bids of KMOX and WIL.  WIL had already hosted the Cardinals for the 1953 season.

The TV rights were sought by KSD-TV, WTVI and KSTM.  The winner, by late 1953 was Belleville's WTVI, Channel 54, the DuMont affiliate.  This would be the first of many nails in the coffin of KSTM, but would help assure that WTVI would experience a longer future as a St. Louis TV station.



Obviously, KACY was "kidding you" according to KSTM

and this ad from Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine.  This
counters some of the KACY claims made as to its strength
in St. Louis market. 

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


With a sponsorship lineup like this how could you lose money?
It's unknown how effective the sales department was
as far as reaching local advertisers.  It's been reported that once
the "bloom fell of the rose" advertising demand for these early
TV pioneering stations fell dramatically.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

The Competition is Fierce

The St. Louis market was being addressed by WTVI licensed to Belleville, Illinois and also by KACY, Channel 14 which was broadcasting from a distance of 20 miles southwest of St. Louis from Festus, Misssouri.  The station was using an unusual General Electric directional antenna which projected its signal northward into St. Louis.  That would maximize the coverage over the large population center needed to direct its attention to the St. Louis market.  KACY employed a strategy which was very costly, but perhaps was successful in putting a dent in the sales efforts of KSTM.  Above left is one ad directed towards national and regional advertisers that combats claims of KACY against KSTM.

KACY sponsored a trip by a number of media buyers for advertising agencies around the country to visit their studios.  This obviously expensive promotional event probably resulted in at least some success, all to the detriment of the other stations in the market.  More on this event coming soon within the KACY section. 


KSTM, Channel 36, "The Big Mo"


Address:  5915 Berthold Ave.
Phone: Sterling 1-3636

Channel 36  Effective Radiated Power:  215kw visual, 110kw aural
Transmitter:  GE Model GE TT 25-A
Antenna: GE Type GE TY 25-D
Height above average terrain: 590 feet/592 above ground

Washington Attorney: Franklin C. Salisbury(also a stockholder)

Facility:  3 studios 45' by 25' each, two GE camera chains, two GE film cameras, two Eastman film projectors, two selecto-slide slide projectors, one Gray Telop opaque projector, AP news service

rate info: Class A one hour live $450, minute spot live $90, frequency discounts

Programming KSTM


KSTM, like other television stations across the country only broadcast a limited schedule.  Most stations would only broadcast from the mid or late afternoon through midnight each day.  The lack of programming material, the cost of purchasing programming and the lack of real advertising to support additional programming was limited.  The schedule of a broadcast day was an entire production in itself with many live commercials along with at least some live programs, airing of filmed programs and being able to meet a network broadcast on time were major challenges of the staff and equipment.  Productions which coordinated these many sources of video material were often times very sloppy.  Live commercials would be longer or shorter than the 60-seconds alloted to them.  Live programs with outside talent had to be on time and perform their bits within the scheduled time.  If a film broke, and it did quite often, the operator would have to splice and re-thread the projector and continue within the time schedule.  Many times, a slide would be aired reading, "We're experiencing technical difficulties....please stand by!"

The program schedule of KSTM was a short one.  What follows are samples of schedules taken from various dates...

Schedule of Programming on KSTM-TV, Channel 36 for the week of November 15, 1953
 
5:30pm
6:00pm

6:30pm
6:45pm

8:00pm
8:15pm
8:30pm
9:30pm





Sunday, November 15, 1953
George Jessel Show
(ABC)
The Big Picture, "Chinese Reds Enter the Korean War"(ABC)
Frank Leahy Show(ABC)
Film of yesterday's Notre Dame vs.
North Carolina Football game
Walter Winchell(ABC)
Orchid Award: Donald Cook(ABC)
Peter Potter Show(ABC)
Fred Waring Show(CBS)

see program information below....




 
4:00pm
4:40pm
5:00pm
6:00pm
6:15pm
6:30pm
7:00pm
7:30pm
8:00pm
8:30pm
9:00pm




Weds, November 18, 1953
Penny Wise Show

Party Line
Westward Ho
News: Sports: Weather
John Daley(ABC News)
Facts on Parade
Mr. Tinker
America in View
Jean Carroll Show(ABC)
Dr. I. Q.(ABC)
Wrestling in Rainbo

see program information below...



 
4:00pm
4:40pm
5:00pm
6:00pm
6:30pm


8:00pm

8:30pm


10:00pm
Friday, November 20, 1953
Penny Wise Show

Party Line
Westward Ho
News: Sports: Weather
Mystery Playhouse: "Suspected Person" starring Derek Farr and Patricia Roc
Pride of the Family: Paul Hartman(ABC)
Second Row Center: "History is Made at Night starring Charles Boyer and Jean Arthur
KSTM-TV Theater: "Slightly Honorable" starring Broderick Crawford, Pat O"Brien and Edward Arnold
 
3:00pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:30pm
4:45pm
5:15pm
5:45pm
6:00pm
6:15pm
6:30pm
7:00pm

7:30pm
8:00pm
8:15pm
8:30pm
9:00pm
Monday, March 15, 1954
Ed Brown

Let's Visit Kay Morton
Penny Wise
Once Upon a Time
Westward Ho
Sandy George's Sundown Ranch
Sports Review
News: Weather
News: John Daley(ABC News)
Reflections
March of Time: "Art in America"(ABC-kinescope)
Anywhere USA(ABC-kinescope)
President Dwight D. Eisenhower(live)
Focus
Red Buttons(CBS-live)
Second Row, Center(movie)
"Inside the Law" starring Wallace Ford


 
3:15pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:30pm
5:00pm
5:45pm
6:00pm
6:15pm
6:30pm
7:00pm
7:30pm
8:00pm
8:30pm
9:30pm

9:45pm
11:00pm
Tuesday, June 15, 1954
News: Music

Matinee Menu
Kiddie Korner
TV Auction
Sundown Ranch
Sports Review
News: Weather
News: John Daley(ABC News)
Les Barry
Film
Modern Minute Men
Film
Center Stage(movie)
"Grandfather Takes Off" starring Robert Barrat, Bert Freed
News: Sports: Weather
Second Row, Center(movie)
"Poison Pen" starring
Ann Todd

 
3:15pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:30pm
5:00pm
5:45pm
6:00pm
6:15pm
6:30pm
7:00pm
8:30pm



9:30pm
9:45pm

11:00pm
Thurs, July 15, 1954
News: Music

Matinee Menu
Kiddie Korrner
Animal Story
Sundown Ranch
Sports Review
News: Weather
News: John Daley(ABC News)
Les Barry
Melody Tour(ABC)
Television Theater(movie)
"Petticoat Fever" starring Douglas Watson, Anthony Kimble Cooper, Francis Robinson
News: Sports: Weather
Second Row, Center(movie)
(unstated title) starring Joe E. Brown
News


Program Information


Frank Leahy Show- on ABC, 15 minute sports program from ABC
Football Highlights-probably from ABC, since it was from yesterday's game and next day distribution of a sporting event from the day before would be impossible any other way in 1953-54.
Orchid Award-(1953-54) on ABC, celebrity guests were honored in this 15 minute live show
Fred Waring Show-(1949-54) on CBS, musical variety
Jean Carroll Show-(1953-54) from ABC, sit-com starring Jean Carroll as a New York housewife.  Also starring Lynn Loring as her daughter, Alan Carney as her husband and Alice Pearch as their neighbor.  It was also known as Take It from Me.
Pride of the Family-(1953-54) on ABC, sit com, starring Paul Hartman, Fay Wray, Natalie Wood and Bobby Hyatt
Red Buttons Show-(1952-53) on CBS, live variety-comedy, live
Melody Tour-(1954) on ABC, summertime musical review set in a different locale each week.  Starred pianist Stan Freeman, singers Nancy Kenyon, Norman Scott and Robert Rounseville as well as a number of dancers and comedians.

Les Barry-local production with local disc jockey Les Barry from WTMV Radio, St. Louis.  What the show consisted of is unknown....
This program information listed here includes the ones which can be identified and confirmed as to each ones cast members and sources.  

No information could be gathered from the other programs listed above.  They may have been local productions hosted by local celebrities or hosted shows around a film series purchased by the station.  For example:  Sundown Ranch could have been a show for kids with a local host which featured a western movie serial....or western themed program for kids with cartoons and a kids audience panel.  If anyone has any information about any of the programs airing on KSTM-TV, please send me an e-mail.  You will be listed a contributor.


ABC Shows on KSTM-TV from 1953-54

"George Jessel Show"
"The Big Picture" "Jukebox Jury with Peter Palmer"
"Walter Winchell" "Dr. I.Q."

"John Daley ABC News"
"Pride of the Family"









(TV listings from the pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Wayne Brasler Collection)


KSTM Roles the Dice

KSTM in its continuing effort to acquire the allocation for channel 11 assigned to East St. Louis made an amended application for the VHF channel and responded to an FCC request concerning its financial standings.  The major change was the addition of the new investor shareholder of Broadcast House.  The East St Louis Jornal(the same newspaper owner which includes F. M. Lindsay and F. W. Schaub, already were owners of WSOY AM/FM in Decatur, Illinois and owned 20% of WCIA, Channel 3 in Champaign) would be added as a principal owner of KSTM.

Other financial information showed a very dismal financial picture of Broadcast House.  The balance sheet indicated assets of $94,948,  liabilities of $174,766 and long term liabilities of $667,266.  During the last three months of actual broadcasting, KSTM lost $193,690.  It was also indicated that Broadcast House would dispose of its current channel 36 equipment worth about $172,400 which would not be usable if the station would win the grant for channel 11.  The value of the transmitter was set at $137,483.


Market Changes

It became obvious that St. Louis was soon to become a three VHF television station market.  Channel 5(KSD-TV) was already NBC, Channel 4(KWK-TV) was soon to go on the air as a CBS affiliate, and that left ABC and DuMont for what was to be channel 11.  Keep in mind that neither ABC or DuMont were "full time" television networks in 1954.  It would be a safe assumption that whatever owner which would be granted channel 11 would probably be courted by those two remaining networks.  ABC was at that time the young upstart network which was battling for VHF affiliates in other markets across the country.

With that eventuality, and the apparent losses at KACY, the Festus, Missouri television station ceased operation on April 2nd, 1954.  There will be more coming soon about the situation which prompted that action in the section dedicated to the history of KACY. 

Then on April 26th, 1954 a second VHF television station was approved for St. Louis on channel 4.  In May, KSTM was still struggling for its life as a new president and general manager of the East St. Louis Journal was elected president of Broadcast House, Inc..  The new president stated, "We are excited and gratified at the tremendous strides Channel 36 is making in the television picture in our area and with our greatly increased listener-ship (viewership) and the resultant increase in sales, we are more and more in a position to improve our programming in accordance with the original plans" of the station.

A Bombshell Announcement from KSTM

KSTM was still very active in the lobbying efforts of the UHFTA and sent Broadcast House counsel and stockholder Franklin C. Salisbury to testify in mid June of 1954 before senate subcommittee hearings on the problems being faced by UHF broadcasters around the country.  He testified with Harry Tennenbaum of St. Louis competitor WTVI.   He brought up a couple of suggestions to help make UHF become more viable in many markets throughout the country. It was at this hearing and appeal to congress he announced the bombshell announcement.  He testified that KSTM had received a telegram from the American Broadcasting Company saying the network would cancel their affiliation agreement with KSTM in six months.

ABC was placing bets that the eventual FCC assignment of channel 11 would be favorable for the network to pick up a VHF affiliate in the ST. Louis market. 



More Changes in the Market and at KSTM


On July 8th, 1954, KWK-TV, Channel 4 went on the air, a short 11 weeks after receiving its grant for the St. Louis VHF channel.  About the same time, it appears, KSTM was to loose another general manager Marshall H. Pengra, and pick up a replacement.  Dick J. Kasten was announced as general manager and elected to the board of directors of Broadcast House, Inc..  Another change in management was made at the same time with the announcement of a new chief engineer, Edward B. Bench Jr..   In a matter of a few weeks, both new appointees would no longer be a part of a television operation.

The Hail Mary of KSTM

A letter was sent to the FCC in late July from KSTM and Broadcast House, Inc..  The letter stated, the company "plans to surrender its construction permit for UHF channel 36 and to concentrate its energies and resources on its application for VHF channel 11....being allocated to East St. Louis, Illinois."  It went on to say, "Broadcast House, Inc. has been reluctant to give up the opportunity of serving the people of ST. Louis with UHF service, but has been forced to do so by the fact that a UHF station cannot operate in the public interest in competition with established VHF service in the same area."

The final sign-off of KSTM left St. Louis with one UHF station left....out of three.  WTVI, Channel 54 was the last remaining UHF fighter  among what would be two VHF stations soon....and another one eventually.  WTVI executive vice-president and general manager of WTVI reacted at the news of KSTM, "WTVI regrets that KSTM-TV found it necessary to suspend operations."  He, in trying to put up an argument for the sustainability of its own UHF position continued, "At the same time we want the public to know that WTVI looks to the future with confidence....We believe that St. Louis can and will continue to support UHF."

On September 15th, 1954 Broadcast House saw the great challenge it was facing in being granted the channel 11 allocation and ended its expensive quest.  The FCC granted the Broadcast House, Inc. request for the cancellation of the construction permit it had for channel 36 and filed for the deletion of its call letters.  The FCC quickly granted the request, thus ending the 9 month history of KSTM.


Here is the tower at the KSTM, later the KTVI site at Berthold Avenue.  The tower here is pictured in 1957, soon it would be destroyed by the tornado.
(picture courtesy of St. Louis Media History and submitted by Joe Sonderman)

The big beautiful facility with its tile mosaic of the USS Missouri battle ship in the lobby at 5915 Berthold Avenue would not go vacant for long.  In February of 1955, WTVI, Channel 54 would file an application to move into the former KSTM studio and utilize the channel 36 transmitter/antenna.  Upon being approved, WTVI would be on the air one week later and would increase its power output to 500kw and change its call letters to KTVI.  More on that move in the History of WTVI.

What went wrong?

Keep in mind from the description of the facility, a great deal of capitol was needed to build what seems to have been quite a showplace for early television broadcasting. Perhaps it was the massive capitol expense used to build the studio which brought about a reduction of needed operating capitol. Knowing now what we do know about early TV, the advertisers weren't exactly clambering to buy advertising time on early TV. Less than a third of the households probably had TV, even less had UHF capabilities. Even though the market was large, potential audiences were small, plus it took a major expense taken on by viewers to convert those VHF TV receivers to receive the upstart UHF stations which were coming on the air at that time. After all, who needs more than one TV station? KSD-TV was a fine station with a history of many local originating programs along with the programming of NBC and CBS.

Perhaps it was the added cost of battling other applicants for the license for channel 11 which helped to sink KSTM, perhaps it was cost over-runs on the building, perhaps it was the cost over-runs on equipment which owners felt was needed to operate a first class facility.  Maybe it was just bad ownership and management. The exact reasons for the short life of KSTM may never be known.

NOTE:  As far as can be determined there are no recordings or pictures of station ID's, local programming or commercials from KSTM-TV.  I would assume with the equipment inventory described above including two film cameras, its possible that kinescopes could still exist of various productions in the form of 16mm films.  If you know of any...please contact me via e-mail.

thanks to:
Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine
Television Magazine
Danville Public Library
Southern Illinois University Library-Edwardsville
Screen captures from Bob Lee
TV listings from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Wayne Brasler
St. Louis Media History
Joe Sonderman

The narrative above is a brief description of the history of KSTM-TV.  A much more detailed description will be eventually included in a future work.....



This could be your ad.....e-mail for more information!


KACY, Channel 14, Festus-St. Louis, Missouri




Applicants for Channel 14

Even before the lifting of the “freeze” applications for new television stations were being filed by the dozens. The first application for the allocation of channel 14 in Festus, Missouri came from Ozark Television Corp. Ozark in its early November 1952 application proposed a television station with an effective radiated power of 170kw and would broadcast from a 644 foot tower to be construction on a hill which would take the height to 875 feet over average terrain. The estimated construction cost of the station would be $279,694 with a first year operating cost of $206,316. The expected revenue was set at $218,400.

The principal owners of Ozark Television Corp included its president John T. McKenna at 36% ownership. McKenna was a tax consultant and CPA whose business was located in Clayton, Missouri. The vice president and secretary was Carl G. McIntire who would own 46% of Ozark Television. McIntire was a television film producer and was part owner of GMB Productions of St. Louis. George Menos would own 9% and his interests were listed as a sole proprietor from 1945 to 1952 of the Mississippi Valley School of Aeronautics of St. Louis. Another 9% would be owned by Raymond W. Karst, who was general counsel for Economic Stabilization Agency in Washington, D.C..



The studios/transmitter site for KACY-TV was listed at 3 1/2 miles west of
Kimmswick, Missouri.  I was told the structure is still there, but after surveying
satellite maps I still haven't been able to locate it.  If anyone knows where it is, please drop me an e-mail!




 
Not quite looking like the archetectural drawing in the
ad from LaDue Supply, Incorporated, here are the studios
of KACY.  The base of the tower was at the rear of the building.

(picture courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)


Pictured here is Jack Garrison, who would end up owning 15%
of KACY(TV) and Carl McIntire, one of the original owners
of Ozark Television Corporation.

(picture courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)





Just a couple of weeks later the second application was filed by Donze Broadcasting Co.. This application was filed in early December of 1952. In seeking channel 14, the company was already an owner of KJCF Radio in Festus, and proposed that their facility would broadcast at an effective radiated power of 3.28kw from a 221-foot tower from a studio location one mile north of Festus on a county road at the site of KJCF Radio. The station would a purchase General Electric transmitter and antenna.

The construction costs were stated at $79,440, a small sum even for those days. Its assumed the TV station would be part of the existing radio station that would include a minimum of changes to the building housing the radio station. The operating costs were set at $72,000 with an expected revenue of $84,000. The company was comprised of Donald M. Donze, the owner and general manager of KJCF, who would own 50% of the proposed television station. The other owner was Elmer L. Donze who would own the other 50% of the television station.



Elmer Donze was listed as commercial manager, president and treasurer of KSGM Radio located in St. Genevieve, Missouri. It's not known the relationship between the two, whether they were father-son, brothers or even cousins. Both Donzes together did have other interests including a third interest in the Hilltop Club(night club) located in Perryville Missouri and held a third ownership in the Hilltop Drug Sundries store also located in Perryville, Missouri.


According to contributor Don Francois, the former KACY studio
maintenance supervisor this is the former studio of Channel 14.
Early descriptions described the location of the studio/transmitter/tower as being
on "Rock Road."  It seems the name of the road has changed somewhat
as it's now called East Rock Road and actually faces another named lane.

(thanks to Don and Ron Francois and Bing for the image)


Stages of Construction of KACY-TV in COLOR!






Ladue Construction of St. Louis building the future studio of KACY-TV. 


The arrival of the tower on a flat bed trailer showing the sections of the uniquely styled tower.  It's unknown where the tower was manufactured....or where it ended up after the station was liquidated.
Does anyone know?


The first few sections of the tower were lifted in place and guyed for support.






This shows the arrival of the General Electric antenna Type TV-14-A, four section helical directional antenna which would focus a larger lobe of signal over St. Louis from its location south of St. Louis.


The KACY-TV diplexor installed as part of transmission system of KACY-TV.

From the control room of KACY-TV showing the front of the General Electric TT-25-A transmitter at right.





The KACY-TV control room used in local television productions.  Each monitor would show the output of each camera while others would show "prevue" and "program" channels.


The transmission line coming from the top of the transmitter out to the tower and antenna.

Our contributors of these incredible pictures taken during the construction and operation of the short life of KACY-TV.   At left: Don Francois and to the right Leo Telvin whose color pictures are shown here in this section.



Elmer Donze and his Donze Enterprises Inc. who owned and operated KSGM Radio in St. Genevieve, Missouri would apply for channel 59 for Centralia, Illinois in early February 1953. He was similarly frugal in his assessment of the building of his television station as well. His filing for channel 59 set his construction costs at $84,565, with first year operating costs of $108,000 and first year revenue of $120,000.

...and the Winner of Channel 14 is....

Ozark Television Corporation was granted a permit to operate a television station on channel 14 using the call letters KACY from Festus, Missouri in early January of 1953. In granting the permit, a few other details were announced in regards to the future station. The main mailing address of the company was listed as 702 Louderman Building in St. Louis located at 317 North Eleventh Street. The studio and transmitter would be located about 3.5 mile west of Kimmswick, Missouri about 20 miles south-west of St. Louis. Both transmitter and antenna would be manufactured by General Electric.


The granting of channel 14 on December 31, 1953, to Ozark was the second granting of a UHF station for the St Louis market. Signal Hill WTVI, Channel 54 was granted November 20, 1952. Broadcast House, Inc. was granted channel 36 on January 15, 1953; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod(KFUO) was granted channel 30 on February 5, 1953; and WIL Radio was granted channel 42 on February 12, 1953.

Here is Leo Tevlin in his office.  He is the contributor of these incredible color pictures taken of the very early days of KACY-TV.

(all color pictures from Leo Tevlin and Don Francois)

KACY Target Date

There didn't seem to be much news from the KACY camp during the construction phase after the permit was granted on December 31, 1952. In mid July Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine included an article stating that the on-air date was sometime during the summer of 1953. In September the date of KACY's expected sign-on was October 20, 1953. Viewers would have to wait even a little longer.

Ownership Changes for KACY

On September 23, 1953 the ownership of the television station KACY and its owner Ozark TV Corporation changed. The FCC granted a transfer of control from Carl G. McIntire to himself and 12 local professional and business men. The names of the 12 owners included Jack G. Garrison(15%), Philip L Sincoff(17.5%), Robert S. Kilker(2.8%), William E. Gallagher(2.8%), John E. Simon(7%) and Julian J. Sincoff(7%).

The restructuring of the Ozark TV brought McIntire's share of the company down to 15% from 46%. It is unknown what had occurred to bring the other prospective owners listed above to sell their shares, or for McIntire to reduce his share. Based on what KACY-TV would ultimately achieve, it is possible that among the 12 local professional and business men, the original owners were still involved and additional investors were brought in to help with construction costs.

Jack Garrison was appointed the companies president and KACY general manager. He was a twenty year broadcasting veteran with experience at WJR Radio-Detroit, KMOX Radio-St. Louis, KWKH-Radio Shreveport, Lousiana and KSD-TV-Channel 5, St. Louis. Carl McIntire was the vice president of Ozark Television and was sales manager with over 15 years of experience with radio stations in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri and was employed at KSD-TV for seven years.








It appears that a marketing plan for KACY included a cartoon
mascot called "Kacy," who was a young boy.  An ad slick prepared for the
station to use in print marketing and advertising included the pictures of "Kacy."
  Pictured here are a few of the poses of Kacy. 

(KACY ad slick from the Les Hoffmann Collection)

KACY Gaining Prominence

By early October of 1953, General Electric would ship a 12kw transmitter for Channel 14, KACY. The special six bay antenna would be shipped later in October. The special GE antenna would be a directional antenna which would send a much stronger lobe of signal northward toward St. Louis. At that time, Channel 14 would be only one of three such “directional” TV stations in the U.S(the others with GE antennas were KTVU-36, Stockton, CA and KCOK-TV,-27, Tulare, CA).. KACY was also making its presence known as it was represented with the UHFTA(UHF Television Association) by Jack G. Garrison. Garrison was appointed a director of the organization along with Marshall H. Pengra of KSTM and Henry Tennenbaum of WTVI who was elected treasurer of the organization.

The staff was beginning to grow for Channel 14. The liaison between the stations national representative, Paul H. Raymer and the local station. Richard C. Dawson was now the national sales manager.

Also in October of 1953, with the installation of the new GE transmitter and antenna, KACY went on the air broadcasting a test pattern for at least several weeks projecting their programming sign-on date as November. As it was, the sign-on ended up being on November 26, 1953 operating with 234 kw effective radiated power. (Press releases stated that KACY was broadcasting with 500kw of power probably due to the assumed gain of the directional antenna). With the press release of the sign-on it was announced by vice-president Carl McIntire that KACY would feature some CBS programs, but would not be an official network affiliate of any of the major networks.

Schedule of Programming on KACY-TV,
Channel 14, for December 15, 1953
Schedule of Programming on
KACY-TV,
Channel 15, for March 15, 1954
Program Descriptions


3:00pm
3:45pm
4:30pm
4:50pm
5:00pm
5:15pm
5:30pm
5:45pm
6:00pm
6:15pm
6:30pm
6:45pm
7:00pm
9:00pm
10:00pm
10:15pm
10:30pm
11:00pm
Tuesday, December 15, 1953

At Home: Larry Torno
Club 14: Carl McIntire
Gramps & Andy
Cartoon
Reporter
Cricket & Millie
Sheriff Bob
Music
Sports
Weather and newsreel
News
Music
First Run Theater
Wrestling
Sports and Weather
News
Film Album
Bill Fields Show




3:00 pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:15pm
5:15pm
5:30pm
5:45pm
6:00pm
6:15pm
6:30pm
6:45pm
7:00pm
7:30pm

8:00pm
9:00pm
9:30pm
9:45pm
10:00pm
Monday, March 15, 1954

Family Album
In Torno's Kitchen
Tom's Green Thumb
Gramps & Andy
Cricket and Millie
Sheriff Bob
Music
News
Weather and Newsreel
Sports
Music
How Does Your Garden Grow
Hollywood Half Hour: "Make Your Bed"
First Run Theater: "Grief Street"
Ozark Varieties
Sportsman's Club
Weather, News
Bill Fields Show

At Home: Larry Torno and In Torno's Kitchen was local programming from the kitchen set at KACY studios
Club 14: Carl McIntire-hosted by the vice-president of Ozark Television and general manager of KACY, content unknown
Children's Programming: Gramps & Andy, Cricket & Millie, Sheriff Bob was all children's programming with puppets, costumed hosts, etc.
First Run Theater, Film Album, Hollywood Half Hour, First Run Theater were probably all film programming from Unity Television-Star 80 package of features
Ozark Varieties could have been a locally produced talent show, or a musical variety ensemble country music group of performers, but once again its unknown
Bill Fields Show-unknown host, unknown format, unknown source
KACY had no network affiliation



Cricket and Millie was a puppet show
produced on KACY-TV at 5:15pm weekday
afternoons.  It was sponsored by the St. Louis 7-UP Bottling Company. 

As with most shows it probably included a number of local children who were participants in the show and led into "Sheriff Bob" a similar show with a cowboy theme.

This sign was spotted and photographed in an antique mall in Indiana.

(picture contribution from Jeff Cummings-Bloomington, Indiana)





Pictured above is the KACY Transmitter.  It was manufactured
by General Electric and was virtually identical to the other
GE transmitters used by WTVI and KSTM.
Transmitter GE Model TT25A, Antenna GE Type TY-14A 4-section helical
The antenna was atop a 742 foot tower which because of
its location on a hill gave the stations antenna a
height above average terrain of over 930 feet.

(picture courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)


KACY was the proud owner of two GE studio cameras.
Here they are pictured on two roll-a-bout tripods
 
(picture courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)





Here is the studio production control room of KACY.
Each monitor would show a different video source.  The third
and fourth monitor were used to indicate the views of the two
studio cameras.  The two at the left were probably used to
show program and preview, while the far right was probably
used to show the output of the film chain or telecine unit.
Notice the lack of comfortable studio furniture.
The audio control board is at the far left.

(photo courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)


Here is the "film chain" or telecine used at KACY.  It was used to
project filmed or commerical programming, or slides into
a camera for broadcast.  It was manuafactured by GE as most of the
equipment at KACY was.  It was part of a television package of electronics
purchased at one time through General Electric.
 
(photo courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)






Attracting National and Regional Advertisers

In early January a plan was put into action which would hopefully put KACY ahead of the other St. Louis UHF television stations. KACY would host a number of New York City time buyers employed with the major advertising agencies. Those agencies included: J. Walter Thompson; N.W. Ayer and So; McCann-Erickson; Young and Rubica; Russel Seeds-Chicago; Leo Burnett; Earle Ludgin and Company; and Foote Cone and Belding.

Ozark Television and the sales department at Paul H. Raymer hosted the buyers at the KACY studios and offices.


The sales efforts seemed to be already successful even before the promotional event in mid January. The station listed a number of large national accounts already signed by Channel 14. The advertisers included: Frigidaire, Republic Steel, Ford, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Falstaff Beer, Griesedick Beer, Groves Labs, Philco Television, Shaler Corporation, Corneli Seed Company and Monsanto.



KACY managers at the promotional
event which hosted ad buyers from around
the company at their studios.
Pictured here is: Philip Sincoff, Jack Garrison
and Carl McIntire.  It's also noted as to
the ages of the three....average age 34.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


KACY-TV features include "The most powerful new
station in the country," "largest studios", "pre-set lighting,"
"rear projection," "kitchen," "drive-in studios," "scenic shop"
and "staffed by thoroughly experienced TV specialists."

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


This cost of this congratulatory ad for KACY-TV was
probably at least shared with the Johnny Andrews Tower Company
which installed the broadcast tower.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)



Unity Television Corporation was the syndicator which supplied

KACY with near network quality filmed programming. 
The quality was probably better than kinescopes, but
still delivered on 16mm film.

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)


Ladue Supply, Inc. built the KACY studios from
a pre-fab kit offered to other TV stations.  The construction
of the studios took a relatively short time, just two
months before KACY was to sign-on for the first time!

(from Broadcasting-Telecasting)

Programming KACY without a network

It seemed to be evident that KACY was hoping for CBS to clear a number of network programs on its prime time schedule. Its possible the KACY management was counting on the station eventually becoming a full time CBS affiliate in St. Louis. Its also possible that the station would just utilize the additional network compensation before CBS would establish another VHF station as an affiliate. That revenue would keep the station afloat until such time that the local/national ad revenue would put the station in the black.

I would assume that the seemingly well experienced Jack Garrison would be aware of the fact that the market would be eventually getting two more VHF stations. Each one would be assumed as future affiliates for CBS and ABC and/or DuMont.

Ozark Television also became the St. Louis outlet for the Unity Television Corporation of New York. The film company offered a film package of over 80 titles to KACY. Among the film features were 20 Charlie Chan Mysteries, 20 all star adventure movies, 20 foreign titles and 20 Hollywood major feature films. Unity also owned the rights to 300 movies, 52 Laurel and Hardy comedies, 39 half hour anthology programs, 125 cartoons, 40 western movies and 22 serials.


KACY, Channel 14, Festus, Missouri

Initial Executive and Sales Offices: 4010 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis 8, Missouri
Phone: Murray Hill 8-1088

Later Executive Offices: 702 Louderman Building, 317 N. 11th Street, St. Louis, Missouri
Phone: Chestnut 4262

Washington Counsel: George M. Moore
Consulting Engineer: Commercial Radio Equipment Company
National Sales Representative: Paul H. Raymer

Facility: The building was built by Cemsteel and its “panelized construction.” It was designed and constructed
for television stations in a pre-designed and constructed package by Ladue Supply, 8870 Ladue Road, Clayton (St. Louis) 24, Missouri. The building contract was signed on September 8th, 1953 just a couple of months ahead of sign-on.

Location of studio/transmitter: 3.5 miles west of Kimmswick, Missouri
(disputed information....the exact location has not been confirmed, and there are conflicting locations listed)

Building: 60-feet(wide) by 96-feet(long) by 20-feet(tall)
The office section of the building had two stories

The building contained:
lobby 10x25                                    office #1 10x15
office #2 15x15                               office #3 12x15
mens toilet 5x6                               womens toilet 5x6
announcers booth 6x6                  studio 40x60
projection room 16x15                   control room 15x20
transmitter room 17x26                  editing and shipping 13x14
recreation room 10x15                    mens dressing room 10x15
ladies dressing room 10x15           newsroom 15x25
general ofice 13x43                         audience balcony 12x30
carpenter shop and storage 30x60    utility room 16x20

Equipment: Transmitter GE Model TT25A, Antenna GE Type TY-14A 4-section helical

Tower: Manufactured by Andrews and constructed by the Johnny Andrews Tower Company of Ft. Worth, Texas

930 feet HAAT, 742 feet above ground

Studio: two GE camera chains, GE Film camera, two GE projectors


KACY Failures Begin

By March of 1954, KACY was not seeing the CBS network compensation which was anticipated by the management and ownership. The loss of network compensation was bringing about shortcomings in revenue not anticipated by the station.

With the loss of the CBS revenue stream, Ozark Television took action and filed a law suit against WTVI and CBS asking $844,282 in actual damages and $2,532,848 treble damages under Federal anti trust laws. The action was filed on March 6, 1954 in St. Louis Federal Court. KACY charged that CBS and WTVI was involved in a conspiracy to prevent KACY from receiving CBS programs not cleared by KSD-TV.

Ozark Television was anticipating $100,000 profit since going on the air in November but instead in the first few months had lost $244,282. The company claimed as a result of the loss of CBS revenue the worth of KACY fell dramatically. The suit stated that the facility was originally worth $650,000 is now only worth $150,000 as a result of the conspiracy and business losses.

Ozark Television and KACY was in a much better position to pick up cleared CBS programming, because the station was not a network affiliate and was contractually free from other network commitments and could guarantee time slots for CBS programs not carried by KSD-TV.

In late March 1954 a merger took place among applicants for channel 4 in St. Louis. KXOK and Missouri Valley TV Company.  Both competing companies would withdraw their applications leaving KWK as the surviving applicant. KWK included options for the other two applicants to become stock holders in the newly merged company. If those options were assumed KWK would be owned by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat(23%), Robert T. Convey and Associates(23%), KXOK Inc.(23%), KSTP Inc.(23%) and 3% by various St. Louis who with KSTP make up Missouri Valley TV.

At the same time, Elzey M. Roberts Jr. who was the president and minority stockholder of KXOK Inc. would divest himself of his holdings with that company which would become part owner of KWK.  After he sold his holdings in KWK, he purchased KXOK Radio with C. L. Thomas the present general manager of KXOK Radio(5k, 630kc).

The timing of this action of KWK and the obvious granting of channel 4 to KWK was quite possibly the last straw. St. Louis would gain its second VHF station and would never see one dime from CBS now or in the future. KWK would become a CBS affiliate at least for awhile. CBS was still trying to win the grant for channel 11. If CBS was to get channel 11 then it would automatically become the CBS affiliate. Either way KACY was the loser.




Supplemental Information: from Don and Ron Francois. 
Don is Ron's father and initially contacted me about my site with additional information.  He has continued to contribute details about local programming produced at KACY as well as an incredible collection of photos taken at KACY(TV) during it's short history.  This contribution is just an example of what could be available from the history of other stations.

He wrote, "My son, Ron, forwarded you some of my old pictures from KACY.  I was employed there as "Studio Maintenance Supervisor" when the station was being built and remained in the postition until the station went dark."

"...I noticed in your website I noticed in your on air schedule for KACY, you listed "Cricket and Millie" as a possible puppet show.  It was a puppet show done live in the studio every day.  Millie was about the cutest lady I had ever seen.  The guys all just went ga ga over her."  Their names, according to Don, were Mildred Savage and Eleanor Donahue.  Eleanor was later married to Andy Werner, a photog at KACY.  Eleanor went on to Channel 4(KWK-TV, KMOX-TV) as a producer."

He also mentioned "Bill Fields" of the "Bill Fields Show" listed on KACY.  He described the show as a talk show with interviews. 

I look forward to more contributions from the Francois' as they find it.

Thanks so much to Don and Ron for their help!  What an honor to hear from one of the heritage broadcasters of St. Louis!!


Pictured here is Don Francois as he was

employed at KACY as a studio maintenance
supervisor in 1953-54.

(picture courtesy of Don and Ron Francois)


KACY goes dark

On Friday afternoon, April 2, 1954, KACY, Channel 14 ceased operation. The company filed a letter written by Robert S. Kilker, secretary of Ozark Television, to the FCC asking to remain dark pending “corporate reorganization.” The letter included the fact that the station had lost, “in excess of $250,000 in five months of operation.” The reason for suspension was listed as, “a lack of affiliation with CBS-TV.” The company would hold on to the construction permit for Channel 14 for 120 days before turning back into the FCC.

KACY went on the air with programming November 28, 1953 and ended broadcasting on April 2, 1954, a life of just five months.  The allocation for channel 14 would be moved to Jacksonville, Illinois in the late 1960's.

thanks to:

Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine
Television Magazine
Ron and Don Francois
Leo Tevlin
Southern Illinois University Library-Edwardsville
Screen captures from Bob Lee
TV listings from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Wayne Brasler

Les Hoffmann for the Kacy ad slick graphics
Bing

NOTE:  As far as can be determined there are no recordings or pictures of station ID's, local programming or commercials from KACY-TV.    It's suspected that relatives of former staff members, owners could have such material.  If you know of any...please contact me via e-mail.

The narrative above is a brief description of the history of KACY-TV.  A much more detailed description will be eventually included in a future work.....



St. Louis Missouri Television Stations
  KSD-TV, Channel 5, St Louis, MO (KSDK)
  WTVI, Channel 54, Bellville, IL (KTVI, Channel 2)
  KWK, Channel 4, St. Louis, MO (KMOX, KMOV)
  KPRL, Channel 11, St. Louis, MO
  KDNL, Channel 30, St. Louis, MO
  St. Louis Ghost Television Stations


This Ad could be yours....e-mail for information


updated 1/1/2017
web master:  Doug Quick
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