When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lifted the "Freeze of '48"—the nationwide halt to reorganize TV frequencies—on April 14, 1952 the VHF channel 3 was assigned to the Kirksville, Missouri market. This prime channel attracted the attention of North Missouri Broadcasting Partners, a group led by former U.S. Congressman Sam "Wat" Arnold and Sam Burk, owners of Kirksville radio station KIRX, who had already been discussing the feasibility of adding a television station to their operations. Hoping to defray the costs and risk of the new venture, in early 1953 the Kirksville group joined with another led by James J. Conroy, owner of KBIZ in Ottumwa, Iowa. In return for shares in KBIZ, the Kirksville group would allow construction of a tower and transmitter site whose signal would cover both Kirksville and Ottumwa. Following FCC approval, a 1,100-foot (340 m) tower was built near Downing, Missouri.