The station began airing an analog signal on UHF channel 23 on September 19, 1982. It was owned by the newly created Meridian Communications based out of Pittsburgh, which won the license after the West Virginia Legislature forced West Virginia Public Broadcasting to withdraw its own application for the channel. It was the first independent station in West Virginia, as well as the first new commercial station in the market since what is now WOWK-TV (channel 13) signed-on in 1955, and the first commercial UHF station in the state since WKNA-TV in Charleston went off-the-air in 1955. Studios were located on Mount Vernon Road in Teays Valley, an unincorporated area halfway between Huntington and Charleston, though its mailing address said Hurricane (the two areas share a zip code). It became a charter Fox affiliate on October 6, 1986. Act III Broadcasting bought the station in 1987.