The station signed on the air on April 4, 1953, several weeks after NBC affiliate KGNC-TV (channel 4, now KAMR-TV). KFDA-TV was originally owned by the Amarillo Broadcasting Company along with KFDA radio (1440 AM). It has always been a CBS affiliate, but channel 10 also carried programming from ABC until KVII (channel 7) signed on in 1957; KFDA radio was an ABC Radio affiliate. In 1954, the Texas State Network (TSN) acquired a 75 percent controlling stake in KFDA-AM-TV from the original stockholders for $525,000, with Charles B. Jordan retaining his 25 percent interest; in 1958, Jordan divested his stake in KFDA-TV to TSN in exchange for full ownership of KFDA radio. Despite this separation of ownership, the KFDA stations continued to share a base call sign until 1966, when the radio station became KPUR.
During the mid-1960s, KFDA-TV acquired two satellite stations to expand its viewing area. In 1964, TSN purchased KICA-TV (channel 12), a CBS and ABC affiliate in Clovis, New Mexico, from Marshall Enterprises for $350,000 and changed its call letters to KFDW-TV. The following year, KSWB (channel 8), the CBS affiliate in Elk City, Oklahoma, was acquired from Southwest Broadcasting Company for $275,000; following the sale, in 1966, KSWB changed its call letters to KFDO-TV and moved to Sayre.
The owner of KFDA-TV and its satellites changed its name from Texas State Network to Bass Broadcasting Company in April 1965 (following TSN’s sale of KFJZ-AM-FM in Fort Worth to a company that subsequently took on the Texas State Network name). The following year, the Bass family (led by Perry R. Bass, who already owned 16 percent of the stations) acquired a majority stake in the company from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation (a move that followed concerns from Congress and the Department of the Treasury regarding nonprofit foundations’ business interests) and Gene L. Cagle (who gave up his interest in Bass in exchange for acquiring KRIO in McAllen from the company) for nearly $2.3 million.
The Bass family chose to exit broadcasting in the mid-1970s to focus on oil and gas exploration. KFDO-TV was sold to Marsh Media for $300,000 in 1975, and the following year changed its call letters to KVIJ-TV and became a satellite of KVII-TV; KVIJ ceased operations in 1992. Later in 1976, KFDA-TV was sold to Panhandle Telecasting Company (originally known as Amarillo Telecasters), a partnership of Ray Herndon, majority owner of KMID-TV in Midland, and R.H. Drewry, owner of KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma, for $2.8 million. The KFDA sale did not include KFDW-TV, which went with Bass’ remaining stations to Mel Wheeler, Inc. a few months later in a $2.2 million deal; after subsequent sales, KFDW would become KMCC-TV, a satellite of Lubbock ABC affiliate KAMC, in 1979, and KVIH-TV, a satellite of KVII, in 1986 (KVIH remains a KVII satellite to this day). Drewry would acquire majority control of KFDA for $3 million in 1984.
In 2002, KFDA-TV was the first Amarillo station to simulcast in high definition. On February 23, 2011, KFDA became the first television station in the West Texas region to upgrade its local newscasts to high definition, and also upgraded its master control facilities to allow syndicated programming to be broadcast in HD.
On August 10, 2015, Raycom Media announced that it would purchase Drewry Communications. The sale was completed on December 1, 2015.