When I came on board as KYFC-TV’s first Chief Engineer no equipment had been purchased. KCYFC had purchased about forty acres of land earlier to the southeast of downtown Kansas City, Missouri for the tower site. The map below shows the location of the site which is close to the intersection of 56th Street and Bennington.

KYFC-TV Tower Land Acquisition


Joe Snelson

The map below shows in blue a plot of the parcel of land that was purchased for the TV transmission tower.

While the shape of the land may seem odd it actually worked well for a tall television tower. The tower to be erected was to be a guyed tower which consisted of a 6’ triangular steel column that is about 1000’ in height. There are cables (guy wires) attached to the steel that extend downward to a concrete anchor point on the ground. The illustration to the right shows what a guyed tower looks like. To keep steel costs down it is typical to place the anchors for the guy wires within 75% of the tower height. For a 1000’ tower this would require about 40 acres of land. The land that was purchased worked well by placing the far concrete anchors at the furthest north, southeast and southwest corners of the property and east of the railroad tracks. While the land purchase also included land to the west of the railroad tracks this parcel was landlocked and inaccessible without crossing the property of another owner. This small parcel was eventually sold to an individual that was willing to negotiate with neighbors, gain a road access easement and develop the property.

The article to the left published in February, 1977 announces a favorable Board of Zoning Adjustment decision regarding the construction of the tower. As you can see there can be community concerns regarding the construction of a tall tower. Fortunately, these were able to be resolved rather quickly. Some broadcasters have faced years of delays due to community concerns. In one case for a Denver broadcaster it required an Act of Congress, literally, to clear the way for the construction of a tower. For KYFC-TV, God paved the way!

I did my first visual inspection of the land within a few days of coming on board. Since fabrication and construction of the tower was the longest lead time item it was critical to get this portion of the project started as soon as possible. The land was undeveloped with a lot of brush and small trees grown up. My first task was to determine the location of the tower structure, guy wire anchor points and the building to house the transmitter.

Using a scaled plot map and an architect scale I marked the location of the tower structure and anchors. The plot I had also included 56th Street which provided a good reference to determine a starting point. KCYFC had an excellent pool of volunteers with some being Christ Unlimited Bible School (CUBI) students. On one fine day I took my plot map, a measuring tape and a tripod style sighting level along with a crew of about 6 guys to the tower site. Using 56th Street and the far northeast corner of the property boundary I sited the level in the direction of the northwest anchor point. From there I sited towards the tower center and the crew began clearing a swath into the property towards that center using saws, hatchets and machetes. I guided them using the sighting level. Using the measuring tape we measured 750’ from where the northwest anchor would be (near 56th Street). I drove a stake in the ground at that point which marked where the tower would be located. It was from that point that all remaining anchors and the building location would be determined. This was our benchmark.

The tower in the satellite image above is not of the original KYFC-TV tower. After KCYFC sold the station the new station owner sold the property and tower to a “vertical property” company. The company then leased back tower space for the broadcast antenna. A new tower was constructed within about 50’ of the original. The new anchors are located close to the original anchors. In case you are wondering why a new tower was constructed here is the reason. The original tower was designed to support only one TV antenna. The vertical property company wanted to lease out space to other TV and FM radio stations, therefore, a new tower was constructed to support multiple users.

The preparation work described above paved the way to begin the final layout of the tower, building and road access to the site. Many thanks are extended to the volunteer crew that gave of their time, and probably a little blood from minor injuries, to kick-off the construction of the tower site.

P.S. The original KYFC-TV tower was dismantled in 2003. Ironically, the original tower was constructed after I moved to Kansas City. It was being dismantled when I was in the process of moving out of Kansas City (No, I didn’t take it with me).

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© 2023 Joe Snelson

The crew then proceeded to clear a large area to the east of the stake for the transmitter building. Using a transit I determined the path of the other two concrete anchor locations. The crew then cleared that path out to where the anchor points would be.

I will add that another side benefit KCYFC enjoyed with having the tower site located in Kansas City, Missouri, was sales tax exemption since KCYFC was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Considering the tower, antenna and transmitter cost around a million dollars this resulted in considerable savings of money that could be used towards other necessary equipment purchases. I went to the city of KCMO and obtained an official address, 6309 E. 56th St., and erected a mailbox to establish an official KCMO presence where invoices would be sent.

Below is a recent satellite photo of the tower site with the original property boundary shown in yellow. As mentioned above, the property to the west of the railroad tracks was sold since it was landlocked at the time and wasn’t needed for the television station.