Originally signed on the air as a primary ABC and secondary DuMont affiliate on October 1953 as WIFE, the station was originally owned by the Skyland Broadcasting Corporation. However, the station went dark on March 20, 1954. In 1961, Skyland sold WIFE to Brush-Moore Newspapers. Brush-Moore would sell the station again in 1963 to the Springfield Television Corporation, owner of WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In 1964, the station was renamed as WONE-TV and was still on the same frequency as the original channel 22 but it was still silent.
In 1965, channel 22 relaunched as WKEF-TV and became a sole ABC affiliate.
This logo was similar to what WVNY used at one point; the difference, however, is that the 22 has "Dayton" over the channel number both in a circle, thus identifying WKEF as "Dayton 22" at that time.
WKEF used the logo template used on other Springfield Television stations (see WJZB-TV's logo from this time). On New Year's Day 1980, WKEF and WDTN swapped affiliations, making WKEF the NBC affiliate; WDTN wound up taking the ABC affiliation. In 1984, Springfield Television was sold to Adams Communications.
BETTER LOGO NEEDED
During the late 1980s, Adams Communications broke up and WKEF was sold to KT Communications in 1989.
In 1995, Max Television purchased WKEF from KT.
After a major improvement during the ownership, Max Television sold WKEF in a group deal to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, operator of then-Fox affiliate WRGT-TV (UHF channel 45) in 1998.
In early 2004, WDTN was involved in a affiliation deal between then-WDTN parent LIN TV and NBC. In response to that deal, Sinclair decided to renew their agreement with ABC which included all of their existing affiliates as well as new affiliation agreements with WKEF and sister station WICS (channel 20) and WICD (channel 15) in Springfield/Decatur/Champaing/Urbana, Illinois to switch to that network. On August 30, 2004, WKEF and WDTN reversed the 1980 affiliation swap, switching WKEF back to ABC. WDTN would return to NBC on the same date.
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.