KFVS-TV is the CBS-affiliated television station for Southeastern Missouri, the Purchase area of Western Kentucky, and Southern Illinois. Licensed to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter, northwest of Egypt Mills, in unincorporated Cape Girardeau County. Owned by Raycom Media, the station is a sister station to the low-powered CW/MeTV affiliates WQWQ-LP/WQTV-LP. The outlets share studios, in the Hirsch Tower, on Broadway Avenue in Downtown Cape Girardeau. Syndicated programming on KFVS includes The Middle, The Dr. Oz Show, and Live! with Kelly among others. KFVS had previously served the Jonesboro media market as the default CBS station on satellite providers. It is not known how much longer that arrangement will continue, after the sign-on of the Jonesboro area's first locally based CBS affiliate August 1, 2015 on a second digital subchannel of Fox affiliate KJNB-LD.
KFVS began broadcasting on October 3, 1954 and aired an analog signal on VHF channel 12. It was owned by broadcasting pioneer Oscar C. Hirsch who had signed-on the area's first radio station, KFVS radio (AM 960, now KZIM) in his radio shop in 1925. The KFVS call letters were randomly assigned by Herbert Hoover. At the start, channel 12 did not have any video cameras. Instead, its first broadcast showed slides of its new transmitter tower that was under construction at the time. Channel 12 was housed along with its radio sister until 1968 when it moved to its present location on Broadway Avenue. Hirsch sold the station to Aflac in 1979 earning a handsome return on his investment of 54 years earlier.
In 1997, Aflac sold its entire broadcasting division, including KFVS, to a group headed by Retirement Systems of Alabama. It, in turn, merged with Ellis Communications a few months later to form Raycom Media. KFVS offered The Tube Music Network (a 24-hour digital music video channel) on its third digital subchannel which ceased operations on October 1, 2007.
KFVS serves more than fifty counties in four states including all of Southeastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Western Tennessee. KFVS considers Clay County as the only Arkansas county in its viewing area as shown during its nightly weather segments which be seen in the local temperature graphic. Cable systems in Corning, Piggott, Rector, Marmaduke, Pollard, Greenway, St. Francis, and Lafe, Arkansas list KFVS on their local cable lineups. However, Jonesboro and Lake City  cable systems do not carry the station. According to DirectTV, KFVS is carried on its Jonesboro area lineup as a local channel.
While broadcasting an analog signal, a portion of its off-air signal reached into the Missouri Bootheel overlapping with sister stations WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee and KAIT-TV in Jonesboro. KFVS refers to its viewing area as "The Heartland", which is included in WQTV/WQWQ's on-air branding. During the analog era, KFVS' coverage area overlapped with KMOV in St. Louis. In fact, channel 12's over-the-air coverage extended as far north as the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois. Cable systems in several northern KFVS counties and southern KMOV counties carried both stations.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||1080i||16:9||KFVS-DT||Main KFVS-TV programming / CBS|
|12.2||720p||CW||WQTV/WQWQ simulcast (The CW/MeTV)|
Due to their low powered status, WQTV and WQWQ do not offer digital signals of their own and each of their analog signals only reach the immediate areas surrounding Murray and Paducah, Kentucky. Therefore, KFVS-DT2 serves as that purpose which extends their off-air reach.
KFVS-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 57, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition, to its analog-era VHF channel 12.
Compared with the other big three stations in the market, KFVS has traditionally covered Southeastern Missouri. The newscasts of ABC affiliate WSIL-TV focus exclusively on Southern Illinois, from studios in Carterville, and it does not even mention the market's other two primary cities (Cape Girardeau and Paducah) in its on-air legal identification. This is despite the fact that WSIL operates a full-time satellite, KPOB, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. KFVS offers secondary coverage of Southern Illinois from a newsroom on East Plaza Drive in Carterville near WSIL. NBC affiliate WPSD-TV, based in Paducah, focuses more on the Western Kentucky side although that station operates a bureau in Marion, Illinois.
At one point in time, KFVS produced a nightly prime time newscast on WQTV/WQWQ. Known as Heartland News at 9, the show could be seen for a half-hour and was targeted specifically at a Southeastern Missouri audience. It competed with another broadcast in the time slot on Fox affiliate KBSI which also aired every night for thirty minutes. However, that program was produced by WPSD so it featured more of a regional summary of headlines since it originated from the NBC outlet's facility in Kentucky. The WQTV/WQWQ newscast was dropped after the July 29, 2007 edition. WQTV/WQWQ currently replay three weekday newscasts from KFVS including the 6 a.m. hour of The Breakfast Show (at 7), Heartland News at Noon (at 1 p.m.), and Heartland News at 10 (at 11 p.m.). The Sunday edition of The Breakfast Show is also repeated on those stations.
On October 1, 2010, Heartland News at 9 was brought back after a news share agreement was established with KBSI (owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group). That channel now offers a nightly hour-long prime time newscast originating from the KFVS studios. With that addition, this station offers more than thirty hours of local news each week. Unlike other outsourced news arrangements at Sinclair-owned television stations, KBSI features the same graphics scheme and music package as seen on this CBS outlet. Also, there are no on-air duratrans separately identifying the Fox newscast. In instances of severe weather (most notably during a tornado warning in the viewing area), KBSI may simulcast live coverage from KFVS if an event occurs outside the prime time newscast. On October 3, 2010, WPSD brought back its own newscast at 9 to both of its digital subchannels which is seen every night, except Saturdays, for a half-hour.
In July 2011, KFVS became the second news operation in the market to upgrade local news production to high definition level. Included with the switch was the debut of a new studio and updated graphics (the KBSI newscast was included in the change). Longtime weatherman Bob Reeves retired from the station in February 2014 after 42 years. This is only the second time the station has had a change of Chief Meteorologists as his predecessor, Don McNeely, retired from the station in 1993 after 39 years and they had been seen on-air since KFVS' inception. McNeely died on November 11, 2015 at the age of 88
On January 15, 2009, Mike Shain, veteran news anchor, retired from the station after 36 years. A special video tribute reflecting on his 36 years was shown on the day of his retirement
During weather segments, the station uses live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites. This system is known on-air as "First Alert Network Doppler Radar". KFVS also operates its own Doppler weather radar, called "Live StormTeam Radar", that is located on top of the Hirsch building. It is a Collins radar sold by ADC in Bloomington, Indiana and is the only live radar source in the market since the National Weather Service data seen on rival stations is delayed.