KFYR-TV debuted on December 19, 1953, as North Dakota's third television station (after KCJB-TV, now KXMC-TV, in Minot and WDAY-TV in Fargo) and the first in Bismarck. Marietta Meyer Ekberg owned it, as did KFYR radio (550 AM). Phillip Meyer and Etta Hoskins Meyer, Marietta's parents, launched KFYR radio in 1925. It aired programs from all four networks at the time—NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont—but was always primarily an NBC affiliate due to KFYR radio's long association with NBC radio. Marietta Ekberg, along with Dorothy Bullitt of KING-TV in Seattle and Georgia Davidson of KIDO-TV (now KTVB) in Boise, Idaho, was one of three female station owners in the NBC network. When KBMB-TV (now KXMB-TV) debuted on in 1955, the station abandoned CBS, then DuMont when that network went down a few months later. It shared ABC with KXMB until it became full-time. KBMY, an ABC affiliate, joined in 1985, making KFYR-TV the only NBC station, a position it has kept ever since.