"That's my business!" -- Arthur B. Church poses for a publicity postcard at KMBC Studios Photo Credit: L.C. "Andy" Anderson.

Arthur B. Church

A broadcasting pioneer, Arthur B. Church owned and operated KMBC radio and television stations in Kansas City, Missouri from the 1920s through the late 1950s.

Church began his involvement with radio in 1913 while attending commercial radio courses between college terms. In 1914 Church helped create 9WU, an experimental wireless "ham" station at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. While advertising radio parts on 9WU, Church became one of the first to use radio to advertise merchandise. Having enlisted in the U.S. Signal Corps in 1918, Church was stationed at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he taught telegraphy. Shortly after the war, Church organized the Central Radio Company and the Central Radio School. The Central Radio School began to operate station 9 AXJ, which in 1922 became WPE, the first broadcasting studio in the Midwest.

By 1926, he was a member of the National Association of Broadcasters. Working closely with the organization, he was able to do committee work with radio pioneer David Sarnoff, then general manager of RCA. In 1927 KLDS Broadcasting Company became the Midland Broadcasting Company and call letters KMBC were granted for commercial use.

KMBC Radio Station

KMBC joined CBS in 1928 as the network's 16th affiliated station. The station moved to the eleventh floor of the Pickwick Hotel in 1930. In 1941, the radio towers were destroyed by a 73-mile windstorm. KMBC became "team-mate" with Kansas City station KFRM in 1947. In 1951, the KMBC building opened at 11th and Central in Kansas City, Missouri. The building housed a 2600-seat TV playhouse where programs such as the Brush Creek Follies could be viewed by the public.