Channel 30 first signed on the air on June 8, 1969 as the first UHF television station in the St. Louis market in more than twelve years. Though its construction permit was awarded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1966 to a group of local investors under the banner Greater Saint Louis Television Corporation, the station was signed-on under the ownership of Evans Broadcasting, a New York City-based company which acquired the permit in 1968. Initially KDNL-TV ran a format of business news, religious shows, rejected network programs from NBC affiliate KSD-TV (channel 5, now KSDK) and then-ABC outlet KTVI (channel 2), and classic movies. By 1976, the station's schedule became more of the then-standard for independent stations of the era, including cartoons, westerns, sitcoms, religious shows during the early mornings and movies in primetime and late nights. Also in 1976, KDNL began televising St. Louis Blues hockey games, which ran on the station for five seasons.