WHBF Station History


WHBF-TV has been serving the Quad Cities community for more than 63 years. The station has a rich and colorful history. It all began on Saturday July 1st, 1950 when WHBF-TV began transmitting from a 482 ft. tower in downtown Rock Island, the tallest structure in the Quad Cities at that time. With that sign-on, WHBF-TV became the first television station in the state of Illinois outside of Chicago. During the first few years WHBF-TV was affiliated, not only with CBS, but with ABC as well. Kinescopes and films sent by the networks were aired until coast-to-coast relay stations were completed in October of 1950.

Through the years WHBF-TV has continued to improve and innovate, keeping pace with the ever-changing technology and growing Quad City community. In the early days of the medium, WHBF-TV was the first station in the area to broadcast in color, and the first to receive satellite transmissions. In 1995, the station continued to innovate when it took one of the first steps into the digital age, airing commercial and promotional material digitally off of sequenced computer hard drives. According to Nielsen Media Research, the typical American home received 104 television channels in 2006.  To better identify our station and product to the Quad Cities, in January of 2007, station WHBF became CBS4, CBS for the Quad Cities.WHBF-TV_Reporter_Charles_Harrison_with_News_Car.jpg

Bringing the Quad Cities the best in local news coverage has been a priority of CBS4 News for over 63 years. Since its humble beginnings in the early 50's, the news department has seen film replaced by videotape, and the teletype replaced by computers. Over the years, CBS4 News has seen many firsts. In 1978, CBS4 became the first area station to have a "live truck", that allowed us to report live via microwave from outside our studios. And in 2011, CBS4 was the first station in the market to use portable, wireless technology in a back pack to broadcast "in-the-field" where traditional live trucks can't go.

In 1981, CBS4 News pioneered the co-anchor concept, adding Wendy Ellis as the first female news anchor in the Quad Cities market. CBS4 also led the way in weather coverage, being the first station to add a TV Meteorologist and television radar.  And in January 2012, CBS4 Weather added the Fusion Weather Studio weather system, a state-of-the-art weather display system and live radar network and high definition graphics.CBS4 is also proud to continue its commitment to viewers in the Quad Cities. Through our association with the CBS Television Network and other program providers, CBS4 offers a wide range of quality news, entertainment and sports programming.Thank you Quad Cities, for more than 63 great years allowing us to serve you. All of us here at CBS4 look forward to the next 63.

KLJB Station History

KLJB first signed-on July 28, 1985. It was the Quad Cities' first Independent outlet and aired an analog signal on UHF channel 18. With the addition of the first UHF station in the market, KLJB strategically made a practice of giving away free UHF antennas to the public to encourage viewership.

KLJB became a Fox affiliate in 1987.  The initial low viewer tune-in for the fledgling Fox network pushed local management to walk away from the network and provide the Quad Cities with a wide variety of old movies, local documentaries and syndicated programming.

On July 4, 1987, the station premiered Live on Tape (a late night comedy sketch show) which aired Saturday nights at 10 PM until 1990. It was produced at the station's studios in Davenport and was the area's only locally produced entertainment show at that time, as well as the only original sketch comedy show produced in the Midwest.

Following the success of FOX shows like The SimpsonsMarried With ChildrenCops and America's Most Wanted on the network, KLJB rejoined FOX in 1990. The station also followed the network’s lead by programming for “a new generation of television viewers” by providing the Quad Cities with FOX Kids programming including some memorable children’s shows like Teenage Mutant Turtles, Animaniacs and Tiny Toons. Also KLJB-TV aired the Disney block with Dark Wing DuckChip n Dale , Tailspin and other Disney cartoons for several years.  Power Rangers was a very popular kids program during the mid 1990s.

Grant Broadcasting (overseen by Milton Grant) purchased KLJB on September 1, 1991. In 1996, the company obtained KJMH-TV (now KGCW) in Burlington, Iowa. Originally KJMH had been a separate Fox affiliate serving the southern portion of the Quad Cities market but the new station ownership soon decided to simulcast KLJB on that station. Then in 2001, KJMH began to broadcast unique programming by becoming the area's first WB affiliate and adopted the call sign KGWB-TV. On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced plans to shut down the WB network and launch The CW. Later that same year KGBW changed the call letters to KGCW.

KLJB-TV launched news on December 31, 1999 with INN producing the news.

KLJB began broadcasting its digital signal in high definition in January 2003. From September 14, 2004 until September 12, 2005, the station aired the Acri Creature Feature, which consisted of a personality from Acri Company hosting the show during a movie. It aired after MADtv from 11 PM until 1 AM. From September 18, 2005 to May 9, 2007, KLJB broadcast Zomboo's House of Horror Movies a nationally syndicated horror show whose host appeared to be a cross between a vampire and a zombie and made commentary during breaks in the featured movie.

On November 6, 2013, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it would purchase the Grant stations, including KLJB and KGCW. The sale of KGCW went through, however, on June 6, 2014, due to new FCC regulations, Nexstar announced that it would sell KLJB to a company called Marshall Broadcasting—a new company headed by Pluria Marshall Jr.

3 Day Forecast

  • Today

    86° / 62°
    Mostly Sunny 0%
  • Tomorrow

    84° / 65°
    Partly Cloudy 0%
  • Thursday

    81° / 67°
    Thunderstorms 60%