WDKY-TV (FOX 56) began broadcasting on Feb. 10, 1986, as an independent station and was founded by John D. Backe.
In October of that year, the station became an affiliate of the FOX network with facilities located in a former dinner theater building on Interstate Avenue in Lexington, Kentucky.
Even though the station was located in Lexington, it was licensed to Danville, thus the call letters WDKY to stand for Danville, Kentucky. The Federal Communications Commission required a strong over-the-air signal to be directed toward Danville.
The original owner sold WDKY to MMC Television in 1989, which held onto the station until 1992. Then, it was sold to Superior Communications, which also owned and operated KOCB-TV in Oklahoma City. Superior Communications partnered with Lexington’s CBS affiliate, WKYT, in 1995 to produce a nightly newscast at 10 p.m.
In 1996, the station relocated to Lexington’s Euclid Avenue. Later that year, it was purchased by Sinclair Communications.
The FOX 56 Ten o’Clock News showed rapid growth in viewership, and WDKY added a one-hour morning newscast from 7-8 a.m. in 2007.
In 2008, the 10 p.m. newscast was ranked as the most-watched late-night FOX newscast in the nation. In April of that year, WKYT began broadcasting in high-definition, and the WDKY newscasts were included in that upgrade, making it the first Sinclair station to air local news in high definition.
The station’s transmitter is now located on a 1,200-foot tower near the Clays Ferry Bridge in Madison County.
In Sept. 2020, WDKY changed hands again, becoming a part of Nexstar Media Group. Nexstar’s founder Perry Sook was once one of the principals of Superior Communications, so he was well aware of the station’s history and potential.
Nexstar began to renovate the facilities on Euclid Avenue almost immediately to include a state-of-the-art newsroom and studio.
On Jan. 1, 2022, WDKY-TV began producing its own newscasts. The morning newscast expanded to 5-9 a.m. with an added 6:30-7 p.m. newscast. Six months later, a 7-7:30 p.m. newscast was added to the lineup.
In 2023, FOX 56 continued expansion with the Jan. 8 launch of “The OT” Sundays from 11-11:30 p.m. On March 27, it also debuted a lifestyle show “Live from Chevy Chase” at 9 a.m. as well as an additional newscast from 9:30-10 a.m.