Originally signed on the air on September 30, 1953 as WMT-TV, Eastern Iowa's first television station and a primary CBS affiliate on VHF channel 2. It was first owned by a group consisting of American Broadcasting Stations, William B. Quarton and several others. WMT-TV was sister to WMT (600 AM) which had been broadcasting in the area since 1922. The callsign stood for the now-defunct Waterloo Morning Tribune which owned WMT radio from 1928 until 1934.
In 1968, the WMT stations (including WMT-FM (96.5, now KKSY-FM), which signed on in 1963) were sold to the Morton family of Louisville, Kentucky, whose holdings would later evolve into Orion Broadcasting.
"WMT 2 Newswatch" open (1976-late 1970s)
This Kabel "2" was also used by WMAR-TV from 1975-1981.
The WMT stations remained under Orion's ownership until 1981 when the company merged with Cosmos Broadcasting, a subsidiary of insurance and broadcasting conglomerate Liberty Corporation. However, the two companies owned more television stations than the FCC allowed at the time. As a condition of the sale, Cosmos had to sell WMT-TV and found a buyer in Guy Gannett Publishing of Portland, Maine. On October 29, 1981, the station changed its callsign to KGAN-TV (FCC rules at the time prohibited TV and radio stations in the same city, but with different owners from sharing the same call letters, hence the change; the "-TV" suffix would later be dropped on September 13, 1984).
The station's logo used during that time frame was a variation of the logo that was used by German television channel RTL2 from March 1993 to April 1996.
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.