The station first signed on the air on November 29, 1953, as WSIX-TV, broadcasting on VHF channel 8; it was the second television station in Nashville. The station was originally licensed to WSIX, Inc., which was owned by Louis and Jack Draughon, along with WSIX radio (980 AM, now WYFN). The call letters came from the 638 Tire Company in nearby Springfield, where the Draughon brothers had started WSIX in 1930; neither the radio nor the television stations have ever had the number six in their frequencies, which would explain it otherwise. Originally a CBS affiliate that shared the ABC affiliation with WSM-TV (channel 4, now WSMV), it became a full-time ABC affiliate after only one year when WLAC-TV (channel 5, now WTVF) signed on and took the CBS affiliation due to WLAC radio's long history as a CBS radio affiliate. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.