The station now known as KNIT signed on as KGKO in 1953, playing pop music and jazz. In 1958, KGKO changed calls to KBOX and adopted a Top 40 format to compete with Gordon McLendon's top-rated 1190 KLIF. Future WABC staple Dan Ingram was an early voice on KBOX. Within a year, the station, known variously as "Wonderful K-Box in Dallas," "Big Top Radio," and "Tiger Radio," had rocketed from the bottom of the ratings to a near-tie with KLIF, and remained highly rated through the coming decade. K-Box was also notable for being the only radio station covering President John F. Kennedy's motorcade live when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 (although KLIF was widely acclaimed for its later coverage of the President's death and the ensuing events, it was not broadcasting live from the motorcade route).
Group One Broadcasting of Texas acquired KBOX from Balaban Broadcasting in 1967 for $2 million dollars.
KBOX had never been able to defeat KLIF in the Top 40 arena, and so on January 24, 1967, KBOX changed direction and went to a country format. The first song played on the new country KBOX was "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" by Buck Owens (a nod to the station's former "Tiger Radio" moniker).
KPCN-730 AM was the first country station in the area, having started in 1962, but broadcasted during the daytime only. KBOX quickly became the ratings leader for country music in Dallas. In its first ratings book, they moved from a 10.0 share Q3 1966 to a 12.1 share in Q1 1967.
KBOX-AM had six years of solid ratings, posting a high of 14.4 in the Q3 1967 book. In 1972, WBAP-AM began giving them stiff competition as a country-formatted 50 kilowatt powerhouse. WBAP gained listeners from KBOX.
In the year 1973, the Arbitron markets for Dallas and Fort Worth were combined into one book, to reflect the merging of the two cities into one metropolitan area. KBOX like other smaller stations were hurt by this redefinition. Some like KBOX did not even appear in the new ratings book. WBAP-AM became the clear country winner at that point, as KBOX barely reached the Ft. Worth half of the newly defined market.
In 1976, Group One applied for a nighttime power increase from 500 watts to 1 kilowatt. The Federal Communications Commission approved it. This gave them a less marginal signal, which is probably what allowed them to struggle into the 1980s providing a decidedly more local service to the Dallas area. But by 1980, FM radio was growing in dominance and their ability to compete with a music format was waning.
On November 14, 1982, the KBOX call letters were dropped by Group One. KBOX became KMEZ and switched from its country format to a simulcast of the easy listening format of sister station KMEZ-FM (the former KBOX-FM and KTLC).
In 1989, KMEZ-AM broke away from the FM station to adopt a Business News/Talk format as KDBN. This was followed in 1991 by satellite-fed Adult Standards from the Unistar radio network (later Westwood One) as KCMZ.
Marcos Rodriguez purchased the station and changed the format to Banda with call sign KMRT (1993-1998). Marcos Rodriguez picked the calls to connote the retailer K-Mart and imply good value for advertisers. KMRT was first in America to air Banda with an automated Audio Server delivery.
Eventually the calls changed to KDXX (1998-2002), and KHCK-AM (1998-2005), a simulcast of Tejano KHCK-FM "Kick FM" until the FM changed format to cumbia music and the AM continued as a standalone Tejano station for a few months). The current KNIT calls and a Southern Gospel format were adopted in March 2005 when it was briefly owned by Salem Communications.