KAUZ signed on March 1, 1953 as KWFT-TV. The station has served as the CBS affiliate for the Wichita Falls-Lawton television market since its inception; although in the mid-1950s, the station also carried DuMont programs and during the late 1950s, the station was briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network. KWFT sold the television station in 1956 to Sydney Grayson, at which time channel 6's call letters were changed to KSYD-TV. The station's calls then changed to KAUZ-TV in July 1963, following a subsequent transfer of ownership. KAUZ-TV was also one of several stations nationwide to broadcast The Las Vegas Show, a short-lived late night program from the ill-fated Overmyer Network that ran for a few weeks in 1967.
On the afternoon of April 3, 1964 as a devastating tornado swept across the northern portion of Wichita Falls and neighboring Sheppard Air Force Base, KAUZ-TV broadcast one of the first tornadoes ever to shown on live television. The station interrupted regular programming to provide a live tornado warning in which the image of the funnel was shown on the station's weather radar by then-meteorologist Ted Shaw, and a large and heavy studio camera was dragged outside the Channel 6 studios on Seymour Highway and pointed toward the tornado as it approached the northwest portion of Wichita Falls. That tornado killed seven people and injured over 100 others. Damage estimates exceeded $15 million and some 225 homes and businesses were destroyed on the north side of town and at Sheppard AFB.
About 15 years later on April 10, 1979, an even more devastating F4 tornado hit the southwest side of Wichita Falls. KAUZ's then-chief meteorologist Rich Segal was on the air that afternoon and evening with complete coverage of the storms that culminated with the opening of the 6 p.m. broadcast of Eyewitness News as multiple tornadoes had reached the southwest corner of the city and began their path of destruction. About less than five minutes into the newscast KAUZ-TV and other Wichita Falls area television and radio stations were knocked off the air due to power outages resulting from the damaging storms. The twister killed 42 people and injured more than 1,700 along a 45-mile long and two-mile wide path. Besides the terrible human costs, 3,100 homes were destroyed, with an estimated 20,000 people left homeless. The total damage in Wichita Falls was around $400 million. A year later, Channel 6 broadcast a documentary about the 1979 tornado including the events of that day leading to the storm, the destruction and aftermath based upon the station's news footage from a year earlier along with progress of recovery efforts as of April 1980.
KAUZ was the first television station in the Wichita Falls-Lawton market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in color, beginning in February 1966, just a few months after CBS began converting most of its network schedule from black-and-white to color. KFDX and KSWO followed with color newscasts in 1967.
Over the years, KAUZ was owned by such companies as Forward Communications, Adams Communications bought the station 1987, KAUZ was sold to Brissette Broadcasting in 1991 and Benedek Broadcasting in 1996. When Benedek declared bankruptcy in 2002, KAUZ was sold to Chelsey Broadcasting instead of Gray Television. In 2003, Chelsey sold KAUZ to Hoak Media.
In August 2009, Drewry Communications Group – owners of the market's ABC affiliate KSWO-TV – purchased the non-license assets of KAUZ from Hoak and took over the station's operations through joint sales and shared services agreements (unlike most virtual duopolies, KAUZ and KSWO's operations largely remain separate). The JSA and SSA resulted in all four of the market's major network-affiliated stations – as well as the affiliates of all six of the largest English-language networks – now being operated by two entities (Nexstar Broadcasting Group owns NBC affiliate KFDX, while operating Mission Broadcasting-owned Fox affiliate KJTL and MyNetworkTV affiliate KJBO-LP through a shared services agreement). In February 2014, Hoak reached a deal to sell KAUZ's license assets to KAUZ Media, Inc., a company controlled by Bill W. Burgess, Jr.; the agreements with KSWO will continue. This came after Hoak sold its other television properties to Gray Television in November 2013.
However, on August 5, 2015, the sale to KAUZ Media, Inc. was dismissed as a result of Raycom Media's purchase of Drewry Communications; as a result, KAUZ would instead be sold to American Spirit Media (a Charlotte, North Carolina-based company headed by Thomas B. Henson). While KSWO and KAUZ will remain jointly operated, the existing joint sales agreement between with KAUZ will be terminated upon the sale's closure due to FCC rules prohibiting such agreements by counting the sale of 15% or more of advertising time by one station to a competing junior partner station in the JSA as a duopoly in violation with the agency's ownership rules (the Wichita Falls-Lawton market has only four full-power television stations, four fewer than that allowed to legally form a duopoly); upon the JSA's termination, Raycom will enter into a shared services agreement with KAUZ, under which KSWO will handle news production, administrative and production operations, and equipment and building space for that station. The sale was completed on December 1.