Channel 8 first signed on the air at 8 p.m. on September 17, 1949, as KBTV, with a fifteen-minute ceremony inaugurating the launch of Channel 8 as its first broadcast; KBTV broadcast for one hour that evening, with the remainder of its initial schedule consisting of its first locally produced program, the variety series Dallas in Wonderland. Texas oil magnate Tom Potter founded and operated the station through the Lacy-Potter TV Broadcasting Company, which he partially controlled. It was the third television station to sign on in Texas, the second in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and the first to be licensed to the Dallas proper. It originally operated as a primary affiliate of the DuMont Television Network and a secondary affiliate of the short-lived Paramount Television Network; under the arrangement, through an agreement between Lacy-Potter and Paramount Pictures, the station agreed to air 4.75 hours of Paramount Television's programming each week during 1949.
In January 1950, Belo purchased KBTV from Lacy-Potter for $575,000; the sale received FCC approval on March 13, 1950, with Belo formally assuming control of Channel 8 on March 17. The station was the first television property to be owned by the Dallas-based company, and also served as the flagship station of its broadcasting division until Belo merged with the Gannett Company in 2013. Four days later on March 21, Belo changed the station's call letters to WFAA-TV to match those of its new radio partner WFAA (570 AM, now KLIF).
The KBTV call letters were later used from 1953 to 1984 by what is now sister station KUSA in Denver, and since 1999 are used by a Beaumont station. It is one of relatively limited number of television stations located west of the Mississippi whose call letters begin with a "W"; due partly that Dallas was originally located east of the original "K"/"W" border distinction defined by the FCC.
In 1950, WFAA switched its primary affiliation to NBC, and also affiliated with ABC on a secondary basis. DuMont shut down in 1955, amid various issues that arose from its relations with Paramount that hamstrung it from expansion.
This logo was briefly reintroduced during the transition from analog to digital in 2009.
The station's call sign is now in a "play button" shaped triangle. It is still being used in tandem with the next logo.
The logo is now rendered in flat coloring, which is also used as a monochrome version.