WDAF-TV was the first television station in Kansas City, and the second in Missouri. It launched on October 16, 1949 as an affiliate of all four major television networks operating at the time: NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont; the station was originally owned by the Kansas City Star newspaper, along with WDAF radio (at the time operating at 610 AM, now occupied by KCSP; now at 106.5 FM).
Programming from the CBS and DuMont networks moved to KMBC-TV (channel 9) when it signed on in August 1953. The ABC affiliation was split between WDAF and KMBC until September of that year, when KCMO-TV (channel 5, now KCTV) signed on as Kansas City's original ABC affiliate. Shortly after the DuMont network folded, both KMBC and KCMO swapped network affiliations in 1955. As a result, WDAF reamined the Kansas City area's sole NBC affiliate for the next four decades.
In 1958, WDAF-AM-TV was sold to National-Missouri Broadcasters. In 1960, National-Missouri merged with Transcontinent Broadcasting of Buffalo, New York.
WDAF's then-owners Transcontinent merged its stations with Taft Broadcasting on April 1, 1963.
WDAF incorporated NBC's current six-feathered peacock into its logo in 1986 (like most other NBC affiliates at the time). However, the "Proud N" logo was still present on their ID bug until summer 1987.
Taft Broadcasting (the then-owners of WDAF) was renamed Great American Broadcasting on October 12, 1987. By that year, WDAF had overtaken KMBC as the dominant station in Kansas City, as was the trend at many NBC affiliates. The title of WDAF's newscasts Action 4 News remained until the fall of 1990, when it became WDAF 4 News.
Variant from NBC's "Come Home" campaign (1986–1987)
WDAF Royals promo (1986–1987)
Station ID used in news open (1987–1989)
Action 4 News 10 p.m. open (1987–1989)
Variant from NBC's "Come Home to the Best" campaign (1988–1989)
On April 17, 1992, WDAF-TV rebranded itself as Newschannel 4 (both as the title of its newscasts and for general station promotion). The slogan was "Kansas City's 24-Hour Newschannel" during a period when WDAF and other television stations around the country ran news updates each hour. Then-owners Great American Broadcasting became Citicasters in 1993, which in turn sold WDAF to New World Communications in 1994. Once the Fox network won the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL, New World signed a long-term deal to convert most of its stations to Fox. So on September 12, 1994, WDAF switched its network affiliation from NBC to Fox, swapping affiliations with KSHB-TV. The Fox network's branding was not incorporated into the station's logo, due to WDAF's contractual obligations with New World to keep theNewschannel 4 name.
Station ID (1992–1994)
NewsChannel 4 morning open (1992–1994)
Station ID with time and temperature (Early 1990s)
In January 1997, then-owners New World Communications was acquired by News Corporation, effectively turning WDAF-TV into a Fox owned-and-operated station, until its sale to Local TV, LLC in 2008. Upon the buyout by News Corporation, all former New World stations that switched affiliation to Fox between 1994 and 1996 began incorporating "Fox" into their on-air branding with WDAF changing its branding from NewsChannel 4 to "Fox 4" for general entertainment purposes and Fox 4 News for newscasts. WDAF later adopted its current slogan "Working for You" in 1999.