KALB began broadcasting on September 29, 1954 with NBC's airing of the 1954 World Series. It aired an analog signal on VHF channel 5. The station has been an NBC affiliate from day one, although it also carried programs from the classic big four networks, until DuMont folded in 1955 and cable penetration in the early 1960s provided various network affiliates from Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport. The original owners were W. H. Allen and Shreveport businessman T. B. Lanford. In 1957, Lanford purchased Allen's stake in the station as well as its radio partners, and he owned it via his company, Red River Valley Broadcasting, making KALB a sister station to fellow NBC affiliate KPLC in Lake Charles until that station was sold in 1964. KALB also aired programming from ABC, such as Happy Days, on a secondary basis from 1954 until the early 1980s, shortly before rival station (and future ABC affiliate) KLAX-TV (channel 31) signed on. Furthermore, KALB also aired Sesame Street for a brief period of time from December 1970 until December 1971; the show was removed to much viewer backlash, but over-the-air viewers could receive the program via WBRZ and later KLTM prior to KLPA's sign on.