KFSM is one of the oldest television stations in Arkansas. It signed on for the first time on July 9, 1953 as KFSA-TV on channel 22. It was owned by American Television Company, Inc., which was run by Donald W. Reynolds, who also owned Fort Smith's two major newspapers — the Southwest American and Times Record (later merged as the Southwest Times Record) — and KFSA-AM 950. KFSA radio personality Pat Porta hosted the first broadcast. The station's studios and transmitter were located in the Times Record/Southwest American building at 920 Rogers Avenue in downtown Fort Smith. It carried programming from all four networks of the time — NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont — but it was a primary NBC affiliate.