WHBF-TV, channel 4, is a television station licensed to Rock Island, Illinois, which serves as the CBS affiliate for the Quad Cities television market (comprising Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa). WHBF-TV is owned by Citadel Communications (no relation to the Citadel Broadcasting Corporation), with studios located in the Telco Building in downtown Rock Island, and transmitter located in Bettendorf, Iowa.
|Rock Island - Moline, Illinois/Davenport, Iowa|
RTV 4 (on subchannel 4.2)
|Slogan||News For The Quad Cities (news)CBS For The Quad Cities (general)|
|Channels||Digital: 4 (VHF)Virtual: 4 (PSIP)|
|Translators||47 (UHF) Rock Island|
(Coronet Communications Company)
|Founded||July 1, 1950|
|Call letters' meaning||WhereHistoric
Black Hawk Fought (a reference to Chief Black Hawk, whose tribe once occupied the area that is now the Quad Cities)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (1950–2009) Digital: 58 (2003–2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1950-1963)DuMont (secondary, 1950-1956)|
|Transmitter power||33.7 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||41°32′48.8″N 90°28′37.7″W / 41.546889°N 90.477139°W / 41.546889; -90.477139|
WHBF-TV signed on the air on July 1, 1950. It is the fifth-oldest surviving station in Illinois and the oldest outside Chicago. It was owned by the Potter family, publishers of the Rock Island Argus, along with WHBF radio (1270 AM, now WKBF; and 98.9 FM, now WLKU).
WHBF-TV has been a CBS affiliate since its inception, but carried secondary affiliations with ABC and the DuMont Television Network. After DuMont's demise in 1956, WHBF shared ABC programming with WOC-TV (channel 6, now KWQC-TV) until WQAD-TV (channel 8) signed on as an ABC affiliate in 1963. During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.
The Potters broke up their media holdings in 1986, and the radio stations moved out of the Telco Building. Citadel bought it in the mid-1990s.
On January 29, 2007, WHBF-TV rebranded as CBS4. It also adopted a version of the circle logo. Coronet's other stations adopted a similar branding identity.
WHBF-TV was the first station in the area to use color radar, and now uses the state-of-the-art weather system known as ESP: Live. This allows the station to alert the Quad Cities about any potential weather hazards.
On December 1, 2008, WHBF-TV launched an affiliation with Retro Television Network on its DT2 subchannel. Prior to this date, the station had been simulcasting its main programming in SDTV on the DT2 subchannel.
WHBF carries the complete CBS schedule, although it does not air CBS News Up to the Minute, and the program has never been seen on WHBF for many years, as well as its predecessor, CBS News Nightwatch from 1982 to 1992. Instead the station signs off every night, making WHBF one of the few stations in the country to continue to do so. However, as of the mid-2000s, WHBF has run its transmitters all night, airing a test pattern with station identification superimposed over the pattern and as of December 1, 2008, the RTV affiliation on digital channel 4.2 airs programming 24/7 but the operations originate from video servers at RTV's headquarters, and not WHBF's master control center. Also, as of mid-August 2010, WHBF is the only remaining Quad Cities television station to sign-off as local PBS member station WQPT-TV is now broadcasting 24 hours daily.
WHBF carries the religious programs The Shepherd's Chapel and The Awakening Hour. The former is a 60-minute program which airs weekday mornings at 5 am while the latter is a 30 minute program which airs Sunday mornings at 5:30 am, both of which begin the broadcast day on WHBF. Both Shepherd's Chapel and The Awakening Hour air locally under the banner Good Shepherd. On Saturday mornings, the Saturday version of The Early Show begins the broadcast day at WHBF, airing live and in high-definition from 6 to 8 a.m.
WHBF broadcasts the large majority of CBS' network programming in high definition, with the exception of The Bold and the Beautiful, Let's Make a Deal, Up to the Minute, 48 Hours Mystery and CBS Morning News, which are not currently broadcast in HD by CBS. In addition, two syndicated programs available on WHBF's schedule are broadcast in HDTV: the weekday and weekend editions of Entertainment Tonight, which is produced and distributed by CBS Television Distribution; a corporate sibling of the CBS Television Network under CBS Corporation, and The Dr. Oz Show, which is distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
WHBF TV's signal is multiplexed:
|4.1||4.1||1080i||16:9||WHBF-DT||Main WHBF Programming/CBS HDTV|
|4.2||4.2||480i||4:3||RTV 4||Retro Television Network|
At 6:01am on Friday, June 12, 2009, WHBF-TV terminated its analog signal and moved its digital signal to channel 4. WHBF-TV is now one of the very few TV stations in the United States to broadcast its digital signal on a low VHF channel assignment, alongside sister station WOI-DT in Des Moines, Iowa and ABC O&O station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Even though the "WHBF-TV" callsign was transferred from analog channel 4 to digital channel 4 on the morning of June 12, 2009, and the "WHBF-DT" callsign was discontinued simultaneously, the PSIP identifier for the main channel 4.1 still identifies the station's main channel as "WHBF-DT." Also, as of the digital transition, Retro Television Network on channel 4.2 is abbreviated "RTV" and not "RTN" like it was prior to the digital transition, and as of late summer 2009, WHBF's PSIP has been identifyting its secondary channel as "RTV 4" instead of the previous "RTN 4" although the local branding was immediately changed over at the transition.
During the Summer of 2009, WHBF-TV, being broadcast as it is in digital on a low VHF channel assignment, encountered numerous reception problems, and received several reception related complaints in its first two months alone of being broadcast digitally on VHF channel 4. As a result, the station's owner filed an application for a digital UHF fill-in translator on channel 47  and also sought permission to increase the ERP output of its main digital signal on VHF channel 4 from 24.1 kW to 33.7 kW. The fill-in translator is located on the station's Rock Island tower at the telco building-based studios in downtown and operates at an ERP of 2300 watts. Sister stations WOI-DT in Des Moines, KLKN in Lincoln, and KCAU-TV in Sioux City, all of which returned their digital broadcasts to their former analog channel assignments in the VHF spectrum at the end of the digital transition in 2009 as well, are going through a similar process and they have all set up fill-in translators themselves.
As of September 8, 2009, WHBF has been operating its main digital signal on VHF channel 4 at an effective radiated power of 33.7 kW. Also, as of October 22, 2009, WHBF has been operating its digital fill-in translator on UHF channel 47 from its studio location in downtown Rock Island.
Unllike most CBS affiliates, WHBF does not air a morning newscast and has not done so for many years. Instead, a weather forecast is aired during the CBS Morning News and The Early Show each weekday morning between 6 and 9 a.m. Previously, WHBF had local news updates during the CBS Morning News and The Early Show but now it is simply a repeat of the weather update that aired earlier in the half-hour during CBS Morning News and The Early Show. The CBS Morning News airs at 6 a.m. and repeats itself at 6:30 a.m. weekdays on WHBF. WHBF also does not air a 6 p.m. newscast during the week, although a 6 p.m. newscast does air on Saturday evenings.
WHBF has noticable turnover with its on-air talent. Sports director Jay Kidwell has currently been at the station the longest, since 2001. Jay is known for his energetic personality and is becoming the Quad Cities' favorite for local sports coverage.
WHBF was a solid, if distant, runner-up to rival WOC-TV until the mid-1970s, when it surged to first place. It lost the lead to WOC-TV around 1980. The station was able to hold up the number 2 spot for most of the 1980s until WQAD passed it. Since the late 1980s, WHBF has clearly been the 3rd ranked station in the Quad Cities market.
- Action News (1970s-1980s; used "Move Closer to Your World" as its music package)
- 4 News (1980s–1994)
- News 4 (1994–2002)
- Channel 4 Eyewitness News (2002–2007)
- CBS 4 News (2007–2015)
- Local 4 News (2015-present)
- Ten at 10 on CBS 4 (10 p.m. newscast; 2010–present)
- Get Ready for Channel 4 (1990–1991; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
- You'll Say I See (2002–2005)
- News For The Quad Cities (news slogan; 2007–present)
- CBS For The Quad Cities (general slogan; 2007–present)
- Meredith Dennis-weekday mornings
- Concetta Callahan - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Chloe Morroni - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Steve Long- weeknights at 6 and 10pm
ESP: Live Weather
- Travis Michels-meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Andy McCray (NWA Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Chris Gilson- meteorologist; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Jay Kidwell - sports director; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Preston Mitchell - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Courtney Baker - general assignment reporter
- Liz Bales - general assignment reporter
- Johnna Klossing - general assignment reporter
- Andrea Medeiros - general assignment reporter
- Marissa Pendergrass - general assignment reporter
- ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films" ([dead link]), Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956, http://issuu.com/boxoffice/docs/boxoffice_111056-1
- ^ http://www.whbf.com/Global/story.asp?S=10446353
- ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1082A2.pdf
- ^ https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101326660&formid=346&fac_num=13950
- ^ https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101326657&formid=911&fac_num=13950