WTAP went on the air with a test signal in October 1953. Its first official broadcast day was Nov. 11, 1953, Veteran's Day. Its initial location was at 123 West 7th Street, near Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital. The station had a number of owners in the early days, including the Zanesville (OH) Publishing Company, which also owned WHIZ-TV at the time. Zanesville Publishing bailed WTAP out when it teetered on the edge of going off the air in the mid-1950s. It held ownership for about a decade before a group of local businessmen bought the station. They eventually sold it to Benedek Broadcasting in about 1980.