Wichita’s NBC affiliate, KARD, signed on the air September 1, 1955, among the early television stations in Kansas. The station, located at 833 North Main Street, broadcast on VHF frequency 3. Wichita was one of the smallest cities with three network affiliates at the time. Central and western Kansas were part of the Wichita market.
KARD had one RCA TK-41 camera, the first color studio camera. RCA’s long-running TK series of cameras gained the nickname “tin-can.” The TK-41 featured a zoom control when most cameras of the day had rotating turret lenses. KARD’s other two studio cameras were black and white TK-11s, located on a separate studio set.
Major Astro was one of KARD’s popular children’s programs. Premiering in September 1962, the program starred Tom Leahy as an astronaut in a spacesuit. His tagline was, “Join me next time when everything will be a-okay, and all systems will be go. Happy orbits, boys and girls. I'll see you tomorrow.” Major Astro introduced science fiction cartoons and programs. The show ran on KARD until August 31, 1973.
In 1962 KARD joined with KCKT, Great Bend, KGLD, Garden City, and KOMC, Oberlin, to form the Tri-Circle Network. The group grew and became the Kansas State Network, and the stations were renamed in 1982 to KSNC, Great Bend; KSNF, Joplin, Missouri; KSNG, Garden City; KSNT, Topeka; KSNW, Wichita.
In 2009 the station discontinued broadcasting on VHF 3 and began broadcasting solely on its digital channel 45 in 1080i HDTV.
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: August 2013
Date Modified: January 2016
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