WKRN-TV originally signed on the air on November 29, 1953, as WSIX-TV, a primary CBS affiliate on VHF channel 8, it was owned by Louis and Jack Draughon, who owned AM radio station WSIX (now WYFN). It became a full-time ABC affiliate after only one year when WLAC-TV (VHF channel 5, now WTVF) signed on and took the CBS affiliation due to WLAC radio's long history as a CBS radio affiliate.
On December 11, 1973, WSIX-TV and PBS member station WDCN-TV (now WNPT) switched channel positions; with the change, WSIX-TV became WNGE-TV on VHF channel 2, which stood for "Nashville General Electric".
WNGE-TV changed its callsign to the current WKRN-TV on November 29, 1983 as a result of General Electric selling off its broadcast stations (including channel 2, which went to Knight Ridder, except for KCNC-TV in Denver); the "circle 2" from its final years as WNGE-TV was retained. Knight Ridder sold all of its television stations including channel 2 (along with WTEN in Albany, New York), at which point Young Broadcasting purchased in 1989.
1Nexstar operates these stations owned by Mission Broadcasting. 2Nexstar operates this station owned by Cunningham Broadcasting. 3Nexstar operates this station owned by White Knight Broadcasting through an SSA. 4Nexstar operates this station owned by Vaughan Media. 5Predecessor company of LIN Media. 6Currently a repeater for WWLP. 7Owned by Super Towers, Inc., Nexstar operates this station through a SSA; sale of station to Mission Broadcasting pending FCC approval. 8Joint venture with Discovery, Inc., in which Nexstar owns 31% while Discovery owns the remaining 69%.