In the late 1950s, the station's call letters were "K-KIS." On January 1, 1960, Kay Kis Corporation assumed ownership of the station. The two principal owners were Len and Burrell Small (their grandfather was a former Illinois governor). The general manager was Jerry Bassett, who previously managed radio station WISC in Madison, Wisc.
The station went on the air as KIXA on 8-17-1990. On 9-8-1993, the station changed its call sign to the current KATD as a rebroadcast of KIQI.
Prior to 1990, this frequency was occupied by KKIS, which was playing contemporary music as late as 1985 .