About KSNTKTSB went on the air for the first time on December 28, 1967. Ralph C. Wilson Jr., the founder of the NFL football franchise Buffalo Bills, once owned it. It was the Topeka market's second commercial television station, and Kansas' first full-power UHF station. Since its inception, the station has been an NBC affiliate. Unlike most two-station areas at the time, KTSB did not have a formal secondary affiliation with ABC, but it did clear a few programming from that network. It didn't need to carry many ABC shows because the network's two nearest affiliates, KMBC-TV in Kansas City and KQTV in St. Joseph, both have over-the-air transmissions that reach Topeka adequately. Following 16 years of sharing ABC programming with CBS affiliate WIBW-TV (channel 13), both stations lost local rights to the network when KLDH (channel 49, now KTKA-TV) signed on in June 1983, becoming the market's first full-time ABC affiliate.
George Hatch, owner of the Kansas State Network, a chain of NBC-affiliated stations beginning at Wichita's KARD-TV (now KSNW), acquired the station from Wilson in 1982. Later that year, on August 16, the station's call letters were changed to KSNT in an effort to let viewers see the KSN stations as part of a larger network. Over the following few years, the station rebranded as "KSN," but only provided limited simulcasts with KSNW and its three full-time satellite stations in western Kansas (KSNG in Garden City, KSNC in Great Bend, and KSNK in McCook, Nebraska); as a result, KSNT served as a de facto semi-satellite of KSNW.
SJL Communications (controlled by George Lilly) bought the station, along with KSNW, from Hatch in 1988; Lilly later had a portion of the microwave equipment that connected the two stations removed in a cost-cutting measure. Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa, purchased the Kansas State Network group as well as KSNT in 1995. Lee Enterprises stated on March 9, 2000, that it will sell its 16 television station holdings in order to focus on its newspaper and web operations. On May 9, 2000, Lee sold KSNT to Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications as part of a $562.5 million group transaction that included included KSNW and its satellite stations, as well as CBS affiliate KMTV-TV in Omaha, Nebraska.
Emmis Communications stated on May 15, 2005, that it will sell its 16 television stations in order to focus on its radio station portfolio. Emmis sold KSNT, KSNW, and their satellites, as well as CBS station KOIN in Portland, Oregon, and Fox affiliate KHON-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii, to the Montecito Broadcast Group (previously SJL Broadcast Group) for $259 million on September 15, 2005; the transaction was completed on January 27, 2006.