About KCRG 9ABCThe Cedar Rapids Gazette, then-owners of KCRG-AM 1600, applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a television station license in the late 1940s. The FCC had a backlog of over 200 applications at the time and had chosen not to take action on any new applications until the backlog was cleared.
Many license applications were filed once the backlog was eliminated. The Gazette Company chose not to compete for a license and withdrew its first application. Instead, it merged with a group of other investors to form Cedar Rapids Television Company (CRTV), which was awarded a channel 9 license. On October 15, 1953, the station began transmitting.
The station was first called as KCRI because the other investors did not want the new television station to be so closely associated with the Gazette newspaper. Because one of the television station's managers indicated that every utterance of "KCRG" on the air was a promotion for the newspaper—one for which the Gazette would have to pay each time—the radio station adopted the KCRI call letters. The Gazette bought out its partners in CRTV after nearly a year of operation, and the station was renamed KCRG-TV in 1954.
From 1992 until 2011 (updated in 2002), the KCRG news logo was used; the "9" in the design has been in use since 1989.
From 1954 to 2015, the station was owned by Gazette Communications, which was rebranded SourceMedia Group in mid-2010. Following the sale of WHO-TV in Des Moines in 1996, KCRG-TV was the sole locally owned and operated television station in Iowa. In January 2003, KCRG began transmitting in high definition television. "NewsCopter 9," Iowa's first news helicopter, was also based at the station.
On June 12, 2009, KCRG's broadcasts become digital-only. The station, like with the majority of other Cedar Rapids stations, attempted to transition on February 17, 2009, however the FCC asked that they keep one analog commercial network signal for the market for the next four months. When KCRG-TV completed its digital transition in June 2009, the "KCRG-TV" callsign was legally moved from the now-defunct analog channel 9 to the new digital channel 9, and the "KCRG-DT" callsign was permanently cancelled.
Gray Television and Gazette Communications announced in September 2015 that they had reached a deal in which Gray Television will purchase KCRG-TV for $100 million, with the transfer taking effect on October 1. The transaction was finalized on November 1.
After Gray bought the NBC affiliate as a condition of Media General's merger with Nexstar Broadcasting Group (now Nexstar Media Group), parent of competitor WHBF-TV, KCRG became a sister station of KWQC-TV in neighboring Davenport. Gray finalized its merger with Raycom Media in 2019, acquiring the Fox/NBC-affiliated station entirely from American Spirit Media, bringing Ottumwa station KYOU-TV under common ownership with KCRG.