KALB debuted on September 29, 1954, with NBC's coverage of the 1954 World Series. On VHF channel 5, it broadcast an analog signal. Since its inception, the station has been an NBC affiliate, while it has also broadcast programming from the traditional big four networks, until DuMont dissolved in 1955 and cable penetration in the early 1960s supplied multiple network affiliates from Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport. W. H. Allen and Shreveport businessman T. B. Lanford were the original owners. Lanford bought Allen's portion in the station as well as its radio partners in 1957, and he held it through his firm, Red River Valley Broadcasting, until 1964, when it was sold to fellow NBC affiliate KPLC in Lake Charles. From 1954 until the early 1980s, KALB carried ABC programming such as Happy Days on a supplementary basis, just before competitor station (and eventual ABC affiliate) KLAX-TV (channel 31) signed on. Furthermore, from December 1970 to December 1971, KALB carried Sesame Street; the show was withdrawn due to listener protest, although over-the-air viewers could watch the program via WBRZ and eventually KLTM prior to KLPA's sign on.