The station first signed on the air on June 1, 1949, operating from studios in the Union Pacific Building on Main Street. It was owned by the Deseret News, who also owned KSL radio (1160 AM and 100.3 FM, now KSFI). It originally operated as a CBS affiliate, owing to its sister radio station's longtime affiliation with the CBS Radio Network. In addition to its primary CBS affiliation, the station also shared ABC programming with NBC affiliate KDYL-TV (channel 4, now KTVX). The two stations continued to share ABC programming until KUTV (channel 2) signed on in September 1954 as the market's full-time ABC affiliate. The station also broadcast some programming from the DuMont Television Network, and during the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.