The radio station was originally founded in 1951 by W. Decker Smith, MD, as an investment. It was affiliated with the CBS Radio Network. His son, James K. Smith, ran the station for many years as the general manager. The studios were established in the same building at 119 E. 6th as the Smith Clinic medical practice. Well into the 1980s, until the building was destroyed by a fire, remnants of the old medical practice remained on the upper floors including X-ray equipment and examination tables (the broadcasting studios were on the lower floors). In 1989, the younger Smith, who had suffered a heart attack and was approaching retirement, sold the station to corporate interests.