About KMEG14 / FOX44The station signed on September 5, 1967, as the market's third television outlet. It has been affiliated with CBS since the beginning. Before its launch, the network had previously been carried on KVTV (channel 9, now KCAU-TV) from 1953 until 1967. That station switched its affiliation to ABC on September 2, 1967, and Siouxland was briefly without a CBS affiliate until KMEG signed on three days later. KMEG was started by a group of local investors led by Bob and Norma Donovan. Its call letters were selected in honor of their daughter Meg who would later pass away.
The station's original ownership group sold KMEG to John Fetzer in 1969. Fetzer sold off all of his broadcasting properties in the mid-1980s. KMEG was among the last to be divested, going to Gillett Holdings in 1985. The next year, Gillett sold the station to the Maine Radio and Television Company, the owner of WCSH-TV in Portland, Maine, and WLBZ-TV in Bangor, Maine. KMEG was one of only two CBS stations not to air the Late Show with David Letterman when it premiered. KXJB-TV in Fargo, North Dakota, also declined to alter its syndicated lineup in order to air the new program. (CBS programming is now seen in Fargo on KXJB-LD/KVLY-DT2.) This led Sioux City to become known as the Late Show's first home office. KMEG began airing the show in 1994.
Maine Radio and Television merged with Gannett in 1998. However, KMEG was not included in the deal; it was acquired by Waitt Broadcasting later in 1998. The new owners significantly upgraded KMEG's facilities, including an increase of its broadcast tower height to 2,000 feet (610 m) and effective radiated power to five million watts. This gave its analog signal on UHF channel 14 a signal comparable to those of KCAU and KTIV (channel 4), spanning 23 counties in northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska, and southeastern South Dakota. Previously, its over-the-air signal was effectively limited to Sioux City itself and the immediate metro area; most of the market had needed cable to get an acceptable signal.
Around the same time Waitt bought KMEG, the company also purchased Fox affiliates WFXL in Albany, Georgia, WPGX in Panama City, Florida, WDFX-TV in Dothan, Alabama, and KYOU-TV in Ottumwa, Iowa. In 2003, Waitt Broadcasting merged with Raycom Media (who concurrently transferred KYOU's license to a third party due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) duopoly regulations, as Raycom already owned Ottumwa's ABC affiliate KTVO at the time); however, KMEG was not included in the merger and was instead spun off to a new locally based owner that took the Waitt Broadcasting licensee name.