On September 27, 1953, KFEQ-TV went on the air for the first time. Local businessman Barton Pitts, owner of local radio station KFEQ 680 AM, launched it. KFEQ-TV began as a major CBS affiliate while also carrying programming from the DuMont Television Network. A 750-foot (229-meter) tall lattice steel tower was built that year to house the station's transmitter. The St. Joseph tower, which has become a landmark in the community, is sometimes likened to the 1,042-foot (318-meter) tower used by KCTV (channel 5) in Kansas City. Both stations, which went on the air on the same day, erected their towers at the same time. In preparation for the digital television changeover, the KQTV tower was partially shortened to 587 feet on January 19, 2009. (179 m).