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Gaylord – publisher of the morning Daily Oklahoman and evening Oklahoma Times newspapers – brought television to Oklahoma on an exhibitory basis in mid-November 1939, when his Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO) sponsored a six-day demonstration of telecasts and broadcast equipment at the Oklahoma City Municipal Auditorium (now the Civic Center Music Hall) in downtown Oklahoma City, which featured appearances by performers from NBC and Gaylord's radio station, WKY (930 AM).During November and early December 1944, OPUBCO conducted a similar, 19-city television exhibition tour across central and western Oklahoma (open to residents who had purchased war bonds) that included performances from WKY personalities and demonstrations by television technicians.
In April 1952, the FCC rescinded its request for WKY-TV to change frequencies, citing in part, feasible co-channel assignment separation from CBS affiliate KRLD-TV (now Fox owned-and-operated station KDFW) in Dallas, and the proposal's potential generation of signal interference issues in adjacent markets with other television stations transmitting on the same channel (the channel 7 allocation was reassigned to Lawton, where it would become occupied by present-day ABC affiliate KSWO-TV).
On July 1, 1952, WKY-TV became among the first six television stations in the country – along with fellow NBC stations WBAP-TV (now KXAS-TV) in Fort Worth, KPRC-TV in Houston, WOAI-TV in San Antonio and WDSU in New Orleans, and secondary NBC affiliate KOTV (now exclusively a CBS affiliate) in Tulsa – to begin transmitting network programming over a live coaxial feed.
Channel 4 has been an NBC television affiliate since its debut, inheriting it through WKY radio's longtime relationship with the NBC Red Network, the radio progenitor with which that station had been affiliated since December 1928 (WKY-TV did not air its first NBC program, Who Said That? It also maintained secondary affiliations with CBS, ABC and the Du Mont Television Network.
Originally broadcasting Sunday through Fridays from to p.m., the station expanded its broadcast hours markedly over the next two years: WKY-TV began broadcasting seven days a week on February 11, 1950, when it started offering programs on Saturday evenings, and by 1951, when it added a morning schedule of local and network programs, was airing 90 cumulative hours of programming per week.
on June 6, with an inguaural broadcast that included speeches from Gaylord, executive vice president/general manager P. It was the first television station to sign on in the state of Oklahoma (KOTV in Tulsa – which had its license approved the same day as the grant of the WKY-TV license to Gaylord – would not debut until October 22), and the 65th to sign on in the United States.
WKY-TV's original studio facilities were based at the Municipal Auditorium (near Colcord Drive and Walker Avenue, 0.5 miles (0.80 km) west of WKY radio's facilities at the Skirvin Tower Hotel on Park and Broadway Avenues), with production facilities in the Freede Little Theatre on the second floor.
The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of Tribune Media, as part of a duopoly with independent station KAUT-TV (channel 43).
The two stations share studio and transmitter facilities located on Britton Road (U. 77) in the Mc Courry Heights section of northeast Oklahoma City.
Closed-circuit transmissions began on May 27, with a wrestling match at the Oklahoma City Stockyards Coliseum.