The original KOKY, at 1440 AM, was a longtime heritage urban station in Little Rock from its launch in 1956. It was the first station aimed at the African American community in Arkansas. Then located near Central High, one of its alumni, Al Bell, was influenced by the station during the heyday of the Civil Rights movement.  He later became head of Stax Records. That KOKY changed its call letters to KITA and switched to gospel music in 1979; it is now KTUV, a Latino station. The call letters were also reused in the 1980s on the 1250 AM frequency, now KPZK (AM).
The present KOKY was launched as a new FM station by Citadel Broadcasting in the mid-1990s, per its FCC filings. From the beginning, it has claimed the original KOKY as its inspiration and heritage; its website's history refers only to the original KOKY, and does not mention that its only connections to the 1440 AM station are the call letters and general format. Its logo was derived from the 1250 AM KOKY, which was owned by a Little Rock predecessor of Citadel; KPZK (AM) is still owned by Citadel.
In 2007, upon merger of nearly a couple dozen ABC Radio stations, Citadel relinquished 11 of its radio stations, including former sister station KARN-FM and current sister station KPZK-FM/KVLO, to The Last Bastion Station Trust, LLC. However, the trust decided it would not simulcast KARN, which had remained with Citadel, on KARN-FM; Citadel then transferred KOKY to the trust in exchange for KARN-FM. The choice of KOKY was probably made to increase the likelihood that both KOKY and KPZK-FM/KVLO, which also targets an African American audience, would be sold together to an African American owner; the FCC order that required the divestitures to Last Bastion strongly suggested that the trust seek out minority owners.