KRBC first began its broadcasting operation on August 30, 1953 as the first television station in Abilene. The station was owned by the Ackers family, who had bought the construction permit from Harte-Hanks Communications a few months earlier along with KRBC-AM 1470 (now KYYW). The call letters stand for Reporter Broadcasting Company, after the Abilene Reporter-News. The tower was originally located atop Rattlesnake Mountain in Cedar Gap. KRBC originally carried a mixture of programming from all four networks of the time--NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont However, it was a primary NBC affiliate. It lost CBS in 1956 when KPAR-TV (now KTXS-TV) signed on. The two stations shared ABC until KTAB-TV signed on and took CBS, leaving KRBC as an NBC affiliate.
In 1962, KACB-TV signed on from San Angelo as a semi-satellite of KRBC. The Ackers family owned the station for 44 years until selling it to Sunrise Television in 1997. Two years later, Sunrise severed the electronic umbilical cord between KRBC and KACB, and KACB became a full-fledged station; it is now KSAN-TV.
Sunrise merged with LIN Television in 2001. In July 2004, LIN Television sold KRBC to Mission Broadcasting. Mission Broadcasting in turn contracted with the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, owner of KTAB, to provide news, traffic, sales, engineering and business operations under a joint sales agreement.
In 2005 Nexstar moved the entire KTAB operation from 5410 South 14th Street into the KRBC building at 4510 South 14th Street in Abilene. After consolidating operations under the same studios, the Abilene facility now provides various office and master control functions for Nexstar and Mission stations KLST-TV and KSAN-TV in San Angelo. However, KTAB is still the senior partner. The master control room now operates KTAB and KRBC, as well as KLST-TV and KSAN-TV in San Angelo. Business and traffic operations for both stations are handled here.
During a January 14, 2007 ice storm, the KRBC main transmission tower collapsed, taking the station's analog signal off the air for 13 hours. The collapse not only destroyed the tower and the analog antenna but also the station's low power digital transmission antenna. Luckily, the falling tower missed the transmitter building and an adjacent auxiliary antenna. The collapse also destroyed the National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio antenna leaving the NOAA radio station off air until a new antenna was installed. Station engineers were able to get KRBC analog back on the air using that auxiliary antenna, which it continue to broadcast on analog channel 9.
A microwave link on the tower which helped provide programming to KLST and KSAN in San Angelo also was also destroyed in the collapse. In October 2007 the San Angelo link was replaced with a dual channel fiber-optic cable.
The station's digital signal went off the air until October 2007 when it returned to the air on digital channel 29 with all NBC programming presented in HD. The new digital transmitter is based in a new transmitter building at the KTAB TV tower site near Potosi, Texas. The station also shares a digital broadcast antenna with KTAB.