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On July 1, 1952, WKY-TV became among the first six television stations in the country – along with fellow NBC stations WBAP-TV (now KXAS-TV) in Fort Worth, KPRC-TV in Houston, WOAI-TV in San Antonio and WDSU in New Orleans, and secondary NBC affiliate KOTV (now exclusively a CBS affiliate) in Tulsa – to begin transmitting network programming over a live coaxial feed.
The milestone was inaugurated that morning with a message by Today host Dave Garroway welcoming the stations in commencing live network telecasts; at that time, WKY increased its programming to 111 hours per week.
WKY-TV's original studio facilities were based at the Municipal Auditorium (near Colcord Drive and Walker Avenue, 0.5 miles (0.80 km) west of WKY radio's facilities at the Skirvin Tower Hotel on Park and Broadway Avenues), with production facilities in the Freede Little Theatre on the second floor.
Following a second round of renovations to the building due to a fire that caused 0,000 in damage on November 17, 1948, most of the technical and production equipment was replaced, and soundproofing material was installed in the auditorium to limit disruptions between production of local programs and stage productions that would be held elsewhere in the building.
WKY-TV remained a primary NBC and secondary Du Mont affiliate until the latter network discontinued operations in August 1956.
In 1955, WKY-TV became the first network affiliate to feed a full-length color program to a television network, transmitting coverage of a square dance convention in downtown Oklahoma City to NBC; it also transmitted closed-circuit images of a surgical procedure in color (WKY-TV had become the first Oklahoma television station to air a surgical procedure via closed circuit telecast four years earlier in February 1950).
The Oklahoma Publishing Company, through its WKY Radiophone Company subsidiary, eventually acquired other television and radio stations, including among others purchased or launched during the Gaylords' stewardship of WKY-TV: WSFA (TV) and WSFA (AM) (now WLWI [AM]) in Montgomery, Alabama (in 1955); In December 1954, a half-hour WKY-TV special, Gift of God, which outlined the medical and legal aspects of corneal transplants and included a film of a transplant operation project led to the development of a statewide eye bank through a partnership with the Lions Clubs of Oklahoma and Lions Sight Conservation Foundation; by 1957, more than 16,400 donor cards (700 of which were received within 1½ hours after the special's initial airing, including one signed by then-Oklahoma Governor Raymond Gary) were signed to permit donation of participants' eyes to the bank after their deaths and 346 Oklahomans (including two who had underwent transplant surgery within 48 hours of the broadcast) had received corneal transplants to restore their sight.
In 1958, Enid-based ABC affiliate KGEO-TV (channel 5) changed call letters to KOCO-TV, refocusing its coverage area to include Oklahoma City and assuming the local ABC programming rights; this left WKY-TV exclusively affiliated with NBC.
On April 8, 1954, channel 4 became one of the first non-network-owned television stations in the U. to produce and transmit local programs in color, beginning with a five-minute telecast hosted that evening by E. Gaylord; it also carried select NBC network programs in the format, with children's program The Paul Winchell Show was the station's first network color telecast.