The station first signed on the air on March 23, 1953 as KGUL-TV (either GULF of Mexico or seaGULL). It was founded by Paul Taft of the Taft Broadcasting Co. (no relation to the Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting Company). Originally licensed to Galveston, it was the second television station to debut in the Houston market (after KPRC-TV, channel 2), taking the secondary CBS affiliation from KPRC-TV as the network's new primary affiliate, and has stayed aligned with the network ever since. One of the original investors in the station was actor James Stewart, along with a small group of other Galveston investors. The studio was located at 2002 45th Street in Galveston.