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In 1988, it also built a 343-metre (1,125 ft) high guyed mast broadcast tower in eastern Kansas City, located on a hill overlooking the Blue River.
Hearst sold the Lyric Theatre to the Lyric Opera in 1989, in order to allow repairs to the building that commenced after a piece of plaster fell onto the performance stage during a rehearsal session by the Kansas City Symphony to continue due to the expensive cost.
In April 1954, Cook Paint and Varnish purchased Midland Broadcasting's television and radio holdings – KMBC-TV, KMBC radio and sister radio station KFRM (550 AM) in Concordia, Kansas – in a deal that transferred the rights to Midland's lease to the Victoria Theatre, at the intersection of East 18th Street and Central Avenue in Downtown Kansas City, to Cook.
After Cook formally assumed ownership of the station on June 14 of that year, KMBC-TV began occupying channel 9 full-time, absorbing WHB-TV's share of the operation and the lease to the Victoria Theatre, wherein Midland had rented space in the lower floors beneath the building's performance stage since it purchased the facility in 1947 to house the operations of KMBC radio and later KMBC-TV.
After selling the building, in 1990, Hearst weighed plans to move KMBC-TV's operations to a new studio space elsewhere in the Kansas City metropolitan area; however, company management eventually decided to continue to operate the station out of the Lyric Theatre, with which the station entered into a leasing agreement after Hearst turned over ownership of the building.
Channel 9 would gain a sister television station in 1997, when Hearst Broadcasting – which was renamed Hearst-Argyle Television after Argyle Television Holdings II merged with Hearst's broadcasting unit (now named Hearst Television) that year – entered into a local marketing agreement to manage the operations of KCWB (channel 29, now CW affiliate KCWE), which signed on the air in September 1996 as the market's original affiliate of The WB (it would later assume the UPN affiliation from KSMO-TV (channel 62, now a My Network TV affiliate) in August 1998, as part of a swap that resulted from then-owner Sinclair Broadcast Group's multi-station affiliation agreement with The WB).
Eventually, the companies reached an agreement to combine their individual inquiries for the permit and jointly bid for the license.
Under the proposed deal, Cook Paint and Varnish and Midland Broadcasting agreed to an arrangement in which the two licensees would share the channel 9 allocation as well as a transmitter facility; although each company would structure their common television property as two separate stations, individually maintaining operational stewardship of their respective stations and operating from different studio facilities within the metropolitan area.
With the KMBC/WHB operation having been on the air for only eight months, one of the licensees had negotiated a deal that would result in it buying out its partner in channel 9 and dissolving the split-station arrangement.
Construction of the facility – which was designed in the mold of the Spanish-inspired architectural style of Country Club Plaza, and built by Oklahoma City-based architecture firm Rees and Associates, which also designed the studio facilities of sister stations WDSU in New Orleans and WESH in Orlando – began later that month, and was completed in early August 2007.
The modern purpose-built concrete and glass studio facility incorporates a master control facility with digital and high definition transmission processing equipment; a two-story 4,500-square-foot (420 m) newsroom; a satellite management center supporting downlink and uplink capabilities; a helistop for the station's "News Chopper 9" helicopter; and surface parking for station employees and guests.
The third and last VHF television allocation in the Kansas City market was hotly contested between two locally based companies which had each competed to become the granted holder of the construction permit to build the new station on VHF channel 9.
The prospective licensees in question were the Cook Paint and Varnish Company and the Midland Broadcasting Company, which had respectively owned two of the area's AM radio stations – Cook was the operator of WHB (then at 710 AM, now at 810 AM), while Midland owned KMBC (980 AM, now KMBZ).