About WHNT-TVWHNT began operations on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1963 (the first new station to be launched after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated). It has been a CBS affiliate for its entire existence, and is the only Huntsville-area station to have never changed its affiliation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) originally licensed the frequency for WHNT to the city of Fort Payne some 40 miles (64 km) to the southeast. The station was founded by a former employee of Birmingham station WAPI (now WVTM), Charles Grisham, now deceased, who later added two other Southern stations, WSLA in Selma, Alabama and WYEA in Columbus, Georgia, to his portfolio.
WHNT-TV first used 16 mm film for most of its commercial and news gathering. In 1979, it switched to the ¾-inch video tape format. WHNT used this system until 1998 when new Panasonic DVC machines and cameras were purchased.