Kansas City NBC gets out of the ‘action’

Scripps’ Kansas City NBC affiliate KSHB has dropped the “Action News” branding it has used since 2003 and introduced an updated logo in July 2021.

The station will now brand on air as simply “41 News” and use the slogan “Stories for everyone” (in case you didn’t spot it: “Stories for everyone” is a bit of wordplay with the station’s virtual channel number).

The new logo design includes the station’s previous “41” design with the NBC peacock perched in the lower right corner. In many applications, it’s rendered in fresh blue, though it’s also frequently seen in off white in the station’s on air graphics, which have remained the same sans the logo updates.

The station also updated some other on air visuals, such as the signage behind the newsroom flashcam, with the new logo and branding. 

The station originally used the Action News brand starting in 2003 when it became known as “NBC Action News.”

With more viewers getting signals over cable systems with  channel assignments that often didn’t match, some stations drop any reference to channel numbers in their branding. 

During this time, the station used the words “Action” and “News” stacked on top of each other with a larger NBC peacock sitting proudly on top — and it also was meant to stand in for the word “NBC” when read out loud. 

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The station also used nbcactionnews.com as its website (it’s now just khsb.com).

KSHB reverse course and would later rebrand as 41 Action News, which included the “41” icon design set beside the NBC Action News logo design — though in this case, the peacock wasn’t meant to be “read” as “NBC” (since the station wasn’t known as 41 NBC Action News”) but rather simply an adornment nodding to its network affiliation. 

The ’41 Action News’ logo. Prior to switching from ‘NBC Action News’ the station used the portion of this lock to the right of the number by itself. 

Fellow Scripps station KJRH in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also switched out its logo, likely as part of rebranding efforts ahead of NBC’s coverage of the delayed 2020 Olympics.

The name “Action News” was first created in 1970 as a response to the popular “Eyewitness News” brand. 

At the time, the words were more then just a brand — they represented a philosophy of how to present TV news, with a focus on short stores and faster pacing — thus being able to, at least in theory, cover more news in less time.

The concept was meant to compete with the “Eyewitness News” brand and format that emphasized in the field reporting that was becoming easier to do at the time thanks to advancements in technology. Before, newscasts heavily relied on anchors sitting at a desk reading and describing news to viewers, rather than showing them.

Both “Action News” and “Eyewitness News” are registered trademarks and stations have to pay to license the right to use the names. However, stations do not necessarily have subscribe to the concept of the format of their chosen name.

The concept of short, fast paced newscasts with on the ground reporting have become ubiquitous on most stations anyway, so most local news stations tend to follow elements from one or both concepts without necessarily labeling them as such. 

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