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The Kansas City standard (KCS), or Byte standard, is a digital data format for audio cassette drives. Byte magazine sponsored a symposium in November 1975 in Kansas City, Missouri to develop a standard for storage of digital microcomputer data on inexpensive consumer quality cassettes, at a time when floppy disk drives cost over $1000 USD each. In spite of the standard existing from the earliest days of the microcomputer revolution, very few systems actually used it as their standard.
Early microcomputers generally used 
Wayne Green, who had just started Byte magazine, wanted all the manufacturers to get together and produce a single cassette standard. The site picked was Kansas City, Missouri. The two-day meeting was attended by 18 people who settled on a system based on Percom) wrote the standard.
A cassette interface is similar to a modem connected to a serial port. The 1s and 0s from the serial port are converted to audio tones using audio frequency-shift keying (AFSK). A '0' bit is represented as four cycles of a 1200 Hz sine wave, and a '1' bit as eight cycles of 2400 Hz. This gives a data rate of 300 baud. Each frame starts with one start bit (a '0') followed by eight data bits (least significant bit first) followed by two stop bits ('1's). So each frame is 11 bits, for a data rate of 27 3⁄11 bytes per second.
The February 1976 issue of Byte had a report on the symposium and the March issue featured two hardware examples by Don Lancaster and Harold Mauch. The 300 baud rate was reliable but slow. (The typical 8-kilobyte BASIC program took five minutes to load.) Most audio cassette circuits would support higher speeds.
According to Solomon, the efforts were unsuccessful, "Unfortunately, it didn't last long; before the month ended, everyone went back to his own tape standard and the recording confusion got worse."
Processor Technology developed the popular CUTS (Computer Users' Tape Standard) which worked at either 300 or 1200 baud. They provided the S-100 bus CUTS Tape I/O interface board which offered both CUTS and Kansas City standard support to any S-100 system. Processor Technology also sold many programs on cassette tape. CUTS format on one side, and Kansas City standard on the other side.
In August 1976 at the Personal Computing show in Atlantic City, Bob Marsh of Processor Technology approached Bob Jones, the publisher of Interface Age magazine, about pressing software onto vinyl records. Processor Technology provided an 8080 program to be recorded. This test record did not work and they were unable to devote more time to the effort.
Daniel Meyer and Gary Kay of Southwest Technical Products arranged for Robert Uiterwyk to provide his 4K BASIC interpreter program for the 6800 microprocessor. The idea was to record the program on audio tape in the "Kansas City" standard format then make a master record from the tape. Eva-Tone made Soundsheets on thin vinyl that would hold one song. These were inexpensive and could be bound in a magazine.
Bill Turner and Bill Blomgren of MicroComputerSystems Inc. worked with EVA-TONE and developed a successful process. The intermediate stage of recording to tape produced dropouts so a SWTPC AC-30 cassette interface was connected directly to the record cutting equipment.
The May 1977 issue of Interface Age contained the first "Floppy ROM", a 331⁄3 RPM record with about 6 minutes of "Kansas City" standard audio.
The September 1978 Floppy ROM Number 5:. Side 1 Apple Basic "the automated dress pattern". Side 2 IAPS format "A program for writing letters".
The original standard recorded data as "marks" (one) and "spaces" (zero). A mark bit consisted of eight cycles at a frequency of 2400 Hz, while a space bit consisted of four cycles at a frequency of 1200 Hz. A word, usually one byte (8 bits) long, was recorded in little endian order, i.e. least significant bit first. 7-bit words were followed by a parity bit.
Acorn Computers Ltd implemented a 1200 baud variation of CUTS in their BBC Micro and Acorn Electron microcomputers, which reduced a '0' bit to one cycle of a 1200 Hz sine wave and a '1' bit to two cycles of a 2400 Hz wave. Standard encoding includes a '0' start bit and '1' stop bit around every 8 bit piece of information, giving an effective data rate of 960 bits per second.
Also, these machines recorded data in 256-byte blocks interspersed with gaps of carrier tone, each block carrying a sequence number, so that it was possible to rewind the tape and resume at the proper block when a read error occurred.
Kansas City standard Early microcomputers (several use S-100 bus)
Kansas City standard Home/personal computers
Kansas City standard Programmable calculators
Kansas City standard Other devices