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Celebrating 55 Years of Broadcasting Scroll down to see KAIT's story

KAIT was built and supported by the efforts of a Fort Smith businessman named George T. Hernreich. Hernreich ignored the skepticism of those that felt he was making a mistake and proceeded to build a small television station on 40 acres of wooded Crowley’s Ridge hill land. Although its resources were limited and its staff inexperienced, KAIT thrived in spite of the stiff competition it faced through the years from both Little Rock and Memphis television markets.

On July 15, 1963 at 3:30 p.m., KAIT begins broadcasting over-the-air.

With only a handful of employees to man the station, the first day of broadcasting started with a newscast, followed by the Kirk Douglas movie, “Indian Fighter”. Most of those employees had never even seen the inside of a television station, much less attempted to run one.

Since there was no network affiliation at the time, the call letters stood for Arkansas Independent Television. The early years of broadcasting were far from what viewers have come to expect today. Since the station had no network affiliation to provide viewers with programming, KAIT relied on a small package of “black and white” movies and a lot of locally produced programs.

The station had to provide local programming such as its own live productions of “Romper Room”, “Dance Party”, “Studio Wrestling”, and several country music programs. “Gene Williams Country Junction” was one of the long running “bread and butter” programs. This show premiered in 1963 and provided much needed financial support in the fledgling years of the station.

In 1965, KAIT gains its ABC affiliation.
In 1966, color broadcasts begin.
In 1981, KAIT builds a new tower in Egypt, AR.

The Hernreich family, including former General Manager Robert “Bob” Hernreich (son of George T. Hernreich), maintained a management interest in the station until it was sold to Channel Communications on July 9th, 1984. Bob was succeeded by Darryl Cunningham who continued to work for the family in their broadcast holdings in Fort Smith and Fayetteville, long after the sale in 1984.

In 1986, KAIT is sold to Cosmos Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Liberty Corporation.

1988

In 1988, the first LIVE truck is added.

2003

In February of 2006, Liberty sells KAIT and fourteen other television stations to Raycom Media.
In 2011, KAIT broadcasts its first high definition newscast.

2013

In 2015, NBC affiliation was added. This marked the first time that the Jonesboro market had a second local "Big 3" network.
In 2018, KAIT added its third affiliation: The CW.
In January 3rd of 2019, Gray Television acquired Raycom Media.

THEN

NOW

KAIT reaches more homes than ever before through its three channels, website, multiple apps, social media presence and more, serving numerous counties in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri.

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