News 8 started out life as KTRG Channel 13 on July 4, 1962. Owned by Watumull Broadcasting Company, KTRG's programs included "High School Bowl," "You Bet Your Life," "Dragnet," "Riverboat," with the locally-produced "Nightly News," "Bishop Museum Presents," and "Science Panorama," a series from the University of Hawaii. Programming was primarily in English, but included one or two shows in Japanese.
In 1967, KTRG changed it's name to KIKU (Chrysanthemum in Japanese) Channel 13. New owner Richard Eaton unveiled the name, with a marked increase in Japanese broadcasting, on October 5, along with "plans to go color." Japanese programming was scheduled from 5-10pm, with English presentations running from 1-5pm, and 10-11pm.
In 1984, the call letters changed from KIKU to KHNL and the station entered into an expansion period, purchasing a satellite downlink facility, co-channel boosters, and rebroadcast transmitters KOGG in Maui and KHBC in Hilo. KHNL became the only television station in the country to operate two full power VHF television systems.
KHNL has received numerous Emmy awards and nominations over the years for its newscasts. In April 1995, KHNL re-branded itself as "KHNL News" to reflect its new entry into the local news business and also as a positioning statement reflecting its cable channel(Ch.8) in 90% of all Hawaii TV households. The station now refers to its newscasts under the "KHNL News" moniker, while calling the station as a whole, "KHNL NBC 8", to reflect its NBC affiliation, which took effect on January 1, 1996.