On January 30, 1948, The Kansas City Star Co. – the locally based parent company of the Kansas City Star, which operated as an employee-owned entity at the time – submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a construction permit to build and license to operate a television station that would transmit on VHF channel 4. The FCC granted the license for the proposed television station to the Star Co. on the same day; the company subsequently requested to use WDAF-TV (standing for "Why Dial Any Further?) as its call letters, applying the base call sign originally assigned to its radio station on 610 AM (now KCSP; on radio, the WDAF calls now reside on 106.5 FM through a September 2003 format change that also saw the former's country music format move from the AM station, which adopted a sports talk format). (Channel 4 is among a handful of U.S. broadcast stations that is an exception to an FCC rule that assigns call signs prefixed with a "K" to television and radio stations with cities of license located west of the Mississippi River and call signs prefixed with a "W" to stations located east of the river. The anomaly in the case of the WDAF television and radio stations is due to the fact that Kansas City was originally located east of the original "K"/"W" border distinction defined by the FCC at the time that the WDAF call letters were assigned to both stations.)

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