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In 1955, WKY-TV became the first network affiliate to feed a full-length color program to a television network, transmitting coverage of a square dance convention in downtown Oklahoma City to NBC; it also transmitted closed-circuit images of a surgical procedure in color (WKY-TV had become the first Oklahoma television station to air a surgical procedure via closed circuit telecast four years earlier in February 1950).The Oklahoma Publishing Company, through its WKY Radiophone Company subsidiary, eventually acquired other television and radio stations, including among others purchased or launched during the Gaylords' stewardship of WKY-TV: WSFA (TV) and WSFA (AM) (now WLWI [AM]) in Montgomery, Alabama (in 1955); In December 1954, a half-hour WKY-TV special, Gift of God, which outlined the medical and legal aspects of corneal transplants and included a film of a transplant operation project led to the development of a statewide eye bank through a partnership with the Lions Clubs of Oklahoma and Lions Sight Conservation Foundation; by 1957, more than 16,400 donor cards (700 of which were received within 1½ hours after the special's initial airing, including one signed by then-Oklahoma Governor Raymond Gary) were signed to permit donation of participants' eyes to the bank after their deaths and 346 Oklahomans (including two who had underwent transplant surgery within 48 hours of the broadcast) had received corneal transplants to restore their sight.The two stations share studio and transmitter facilities located on Britton Road (U. 77) in the Mc Courry Heights section of northeast Oklahoma City.On cable and satellite, the station is available on channel 4 on Cox Communications (which also carries its high definition feed on digital channel 704), AT&T U-verse, Direc TV and Dish Network in the Oklahoma City area.
The milestone was inaugurated that morning with a message by Today host Dave Garroway welcoming the stations in commencing live network telecasts; at that time, WKY increased its programming to 111 hours per week.
(Before the FCC had approved a color transmission standard, Gaylord had ordered color broadcasting equipment being developed by RCA – which included two RCA TK40 color cameras – in September 1949.) The cooking show Cook's Book became the first regular program to broadcast in color from the WKY studios and first in the state to do so, while dance program Sooner Shindig became the first live color program in the country to originate from the studios of a network-affiliated station.
When NBC became the first network to commence color telecasts on May 1, WKY-TV provided color feeds of the Anadarko Indian Festival to the network for broadcast on Today and Home.
In July 1951, the operations of WKY-AM-TV were integrated into a proprietary studio facility, which included television soundstages that were engineered to also allow origination of WKY radio programs, built just east of the Britton Road transmission tower (WKY radio had earlier moved into the facility on March 26).
OPUBCO management challenged a proposal by the FCC's "Sixth Report and Order" – which ended the agency's four-year-long freeze on license application grants and realigned VHF channel assignments in many American media markets to alleviate interference issues – that would have resulted in channel 4 being reassigned to Tulsa and WKY-TV being reallocated to VHF channel 7.