June 1947 saw the granting of a station permit by the Federal Communications Commission to the Blackstone Broadcasting Company, a corporation whose principal stockholders are Mrs. Calvin Clyde, Mrs. Sarah Butler and Mrs. S. H. Bothwell.
The initial grant was for a daytime only station, operating with 500 watts of power. The station went on the air for the first time August 28, 1947, with the late Sam H. Bothwell as executive director, in which capacity he served until his death in 1953.
Ultra-modern studios of polycylindrical design were constructed in the Blackstone Hotel. Studio equipment of very finest hi-fidelity design was installed, and news, sports and local interest programs commenced.
Application was made to the Federal Communications Commission to build a new and larger plant that could operate at night. April 22, 1951 saw the completion of this plant and the night time operation started with 1000 watts of power. The new station was constructed on a 69 acre tract of land, located approximately 4 miles southeast of Tyler. Four 340 ft. towers "beam" the signal for night time operation. A modern masonry building house the hi-fidelity transmission equipment.
The station was affiliated with Liberty network during Liberty's period of operation and brought Big League baseball to East Texans for the first time.
On July 29, 1952 the station became affiliated with the American Broadcasting Company and the Texas State Network. This affiliation has provided hundreds of hours of quality programming, including news and commentators, Presidential Nomination Conventions, Government hearings and good music.
Locally, KTBB has entered into every worthwhile civic event. A large number of Southwest Conference football games, Tyler Junior College and Tyler High School games are broadcast each year. High School play-offs in football and basketball are a regular feature, as are the Golden Gloves. Every concert played by the East Texas Regional Symphony Orchestra has been taped for permanent record for the symphony and edited and broadcast by the station.
KTBB has always been ready in the case of disaster and its news coverage has included "on the scene" accounts following the Waco tornado, the Rusk State Hospital disturbances and other news events.
Looking toward the future KTBB is making application to double its daytime power.
To further cover news and special events, KTBB will soon add a mobile broadcast unit which will broadcast "on the spot" descriptions of accidents, fires, special events, etc. The unit will be ready to assist immediately in case of any emergence or disaster.
The above is quoted from a 1955 newspaper article that hangs framed in the KTBB studios.