The station signed on as VHF channel 8 with the ABC complete affiliate on September 30, 1951, after WSB-TV switched the channel 2 and full-affiliation to NBC.
In 1953, the station moved to channel 11 in order to create a public television station which later launched in 1960 as WGTV. Plus the call letters changed to WLWA, after Broadcasting, Inc. sold to Crosley Broadcasting Corporation.
Then changed the callsign again in 1962 to WAII-TV meaning Atlanta's 11, after Fairbanks bought the station.
By 1968, the station was sold by Pacific & Southern Broadcasting, changing to WQXI-TV, the pun letters changed to Roman numerals which is using from that point on.
On December 23, 1973 the station changed the today's call letters to WXIA-TV refering to 11 Atlanta after being sold by Combined Communications.
On September 20, 1976, the station began adopting the iconic 11 Alive, sharing with WPIX which lasted for ten years. Later in 1979, Combined Communications merged with the Gannett Company which its stations stopped used the word "Alive" except WXIA-TV which continued to call itself since this point.
On September 1, 1980, WXIA-TV became an NBC affiliate after WSB-TV decided to affiliate with ABC due to the network's high ratings. The station also got a new tagline called Atlanta's Proud New Tradition reflecting the network's "Proud as a Peacock" branding.
Soon after this logo was first introduced, WXIA-TV dropped the "11 Alive" branding on August 1994. However, an outcry by Atlanta, GA residents over the removal of the popular branding forced the parent company Gannett (which later spun off into Tegna) to restore the branding a month later. It was officially restored again in 1996.