KOLN-TV signed on for the first time on February 18, 1953, on channel 12 as Nebraska's third television station and the first outside Omaha. It was owned by Cornhusker Radio and Television Corporation along with KOLN radio (1400 AM; now KLIN). In August 1953, it was purchased by broadcasting pioneer John Fetzer. In February 1954, Fetzer purchased Lincoln's other TV station, KFOR-TV, channel 10, which had launched a few months after KOLN. To avoid running afoul of FCC ownership regulations (and to create a commercial broadcast monopoly for himself in the Lincoln market), Fetzer moved KOLN to channel 10 and donated the channel 12 facilities and the KFOR license to the University of Nebraska for its educational station, KUON-TV. At the same time, Fetzer obtained FCC permission to boost KOLN's visual effective radiated power to the then-maximum 316 kW, to be broadcast from a new 1,000-foot (300 m) tower 20 miles (32 km) west of Lincoln. (At sign-on, KOLN was broadcasting at 26.9 kW visual ERP from a 407-foot (124 m) tower next to its studio.