KATV first signed on the air on December 19, 1953, originally licensed to Pine Bluff as a CBS affiliate with a secondary ABC affiliation. KATV would later take the ABC affiliation fully in 1955 when KTHV signed on and took CBS. Channel 7 was founded by John Toole "J.T." Griffin and James C. "Jimmy" Leake (who also founded sister station KTUL in Tulsa and original sister station KWTV in Oklahoma City, the company founded by the former of the two founders would later become the present-day Griffin Communications).
KATV has used the Circle 7 logo since 1965, a logo that had traditionally been associated at the time with ABC owned-and-operated stations, and was one of the network's first affiliates to have used the logo (as designed by G. Dean Smith in 1962). KATV's use of the Circle 7 logo predates even the variant Circle 7 used by Allbritton flagship and now sister station WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.
On November 3, 1982, Leake Industries sold KATV and KTUL to Washington, D.C.-based Allbritton Communications in an all-cash transaction for $80 million; the sale received FCC approval on February 14, 1983.
1Owned by Tennessee Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under an outsourcing agreement. 2Nominally owned by Cunningham Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under an LMA. However, trusts belonging to members of Sinclair's founding Smith family control almost all of Cunningham's stock. 3Operated by Nexstar Media Group under an LMA. 4Owned by Second Generation of Iowa, Ltd. and operated by Sinclair under a LMA. 5Owned by Manhan Media and managed by Sinclair. 6Owned by Howard Stirk Holdings, operated by Sinclair under an LMA. 7Owned by Mercury Broadcasting Company and operated by Sinclair. 8Owned by Deerfield Media and operated by Sinclair under an LMA. 9Owned by Roberts Media, but operated by Sinclair. 10Owned by Mitts Telecasting and operated by Sinclair. 11Owned by GOCOM Media and operated by Sinclair. 12Owned by Waitt Broadcasting, but operated by Sinclair under an SSA. 13Owned by Granite Broadcasting Corporation and operated by Sinclair through a JSA and SSA. 14Owned by New Age Media and operated by Sinclair under an MSA. 15Owned by MPS Media, but operated by New Age Media under an LMA. 16Owned by Diamond Sports Group, a joint venture of Sinclair and Entertainment Studios. 17Co-owned with Yankee Global Enterprises, The Blackstone Group, Amazon, RedBird Capital and Mubadala Investment Company. 18Co-owned with Chicago Cubs. 19Owned by Sinclair and operated by Jukin Media. 20Owned by Palm Television, L.P. and operated by Cunningham Broadcasting under an LMA.