About KOLO8 ABCKOLO hit the airwaves September 23, 1953 as KZTV. It was the second station in Nevada, following KLAS-TV in Las Vegas (which went on air two months earlier) and the first in northern Nevada. It had hoped to be the first in Nevada, but a carpenters' strike delayed sign-on. It carried programming from all four networks, but was a primary CBS affiliate; despite this, none of the soap operas it cleared during the 1950s came from CBS.
Its founding owner, Donald W. Reynolds of the Donrey Media Group (now Stephens Media LLC) originally tapped it to be an affiliate of NBC. However, NBC balked; noting the fact that Reno had only 97 television sets at the time, network officials asked, "Who would be stupid enough to put a television station in Reno, Nevada?" CBS was far more responsive to Reynolds' offer. At the time channel 8 signed on, Reno was the smallest city in the country with a television station.