The station first signed on the air on October 14, 1954; it was founded by the locally-based company Buford Television, which was owned by Lucille Buford. KLTV has been an ABC affiliate since its debut; however, it initially carried the network as a shared primary affiliation with CBS and NBC; the station also aired programming from the DuMont Television Network on a secondary basis until 1955. The station originally operated from studio facilities on Texas Loop 323 on the east side of Tyler. In 1964, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collapsed Lufkin and Nacogdoches into the Tyler market. Soon afterward, the Buford family bought KTRE and converted it into a semi-satellite of KLTV.