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KMCI 38 is now on their NEW TOWER broadcasting 5 MILLION watts.

June 21, 2003

NBC in HDTV in KC, finally

If you're one of the chosen few who still get their TV signals over the air, good news: Those "Simpsons" reruns are probably coming in a lot clearer today.

The owner of KMCI, Channel 38, just flipped the switch on its new transmitter on 87th Street near the Benjamin Ranch. Now the little station that couldn't, because its tower was located way out near Lawrence, should have no trouble covering all of Kansas City.

That's also good news for you "Home Improvement" and "Charlie's Angels" fans in Sedalia, Warrensburg and other areas east of here. KMCI has notified cable companies there that they'll have to start carrying Channel 38 on their systems because the signal now reaches those towns.

In the next month, KMCI general manager Jim Swinehart -- who wears the same hat for NBC affiliate KSHB -- said engineering crews will install the new antenna for Channel 41 on the tower, plus the digital antennas for KMCI-DT and KSHB-DT, in the next month. That's right, NBC high definition programs are finally coming to town.

E.W. Scripps, which owns KSHB and KMCI, was forced to build a new tower because the old one, which belongs to Fox, couldn't support the additional weight of two digital antennas.

Speaking of hi-def, Comcast has begun supplying special cable boxes to its local customers who have HDTV sets. The box costs $5 a month and includes the hi-def versions of HBO, Showtime, KMVC and KCPT. Comcast also says it is offering the HDTV content of CBS affiliate KCTV, but that's a laugh -- KCTV is too cheap to buy the equipment to pass along hi-def programs from CBS, so it just passes along a standard-definition picture on that channel.

No word yet when NBC hi-def content will be available to Comcast or Time Warner cable customers.