|Rock Island - Moline, Illinois/
Davenport - Bettendorf, Iowa
Live Well Quad Cities (DT2)
|Slogan||Better. Local. News. (news)|
|Channels||Digital: 4 (VHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
4.2 Live Well Network
|Translators||47 (UHF) Rock Island|
(Coronet Communications Company)
|Founded||July 1, 1950|
|Call letters' meaning||Where
(a reference to Chief Black Hawk, whose tribe once occupied the area that is now the Quad Cities)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
4 (VHF, 1950–2009)
58 (UHF, 2003–2009)
|Former affiliations||ABC (secondary, 1950-1963)
DuMont (secondary, 1950-1956)
RTV 12/1/2008–1/15/2012 (DT2)
|Transmitter power||33.7 kW|
WHBF-TV, channel 4, is a television station licensed to Rock Island, Illinois, USA, which serves as the CBS affiliate for the Quad Cities television market (comprising Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa). WHBF-TV is owned by Citadel Communications (no relation to the now defunct Citadel Broadcasting Corporation), with studios located in the Telco Building in downtown Rock Island, and transmitter located in Bettendorf.
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; at that time, Citadel acquired WHBF-TV, and the radio stations moved out of the Telco Building.
On January 29, 2007, WHBF-TV rebranded as CBS4. It also adopted a variation of the circle logo shared with Citadel's other major network affiliates.
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 (Exclusive Storm Prediction). This allows the station to alert the Quad Cities about any potential weather hazards. Citadel's other stations also use the ESP: Live branding.
On January 16, 2012, WHBF-TV, along with all Citadel stations, launched an affiliation with the Live Well Network on its DT2 subchannel. From December 1, 2008 to January 15, 2012, the station carried the Retro Television Network on DT2. Prior to that, WHBF had been simulcasting its main programming in SDTV on the DT2 subchannel. From March 5, 2011 until January 15, 2012, WHBF-TV's subchannel affiliation with the Retro Television Network had a local competitor in the Quad Cities as the DT2 subchannel of WQAD-TV became an affiliate of Antenna TV after WQAD discontinued their "Quad Cities Weather Channel" service.
WHBF carries the complete CBS schedule. However, until 2011, it did not carry CBS News Up to the Minute or its predecessor, CBS News Nightwatch. Instead the station joined its fellow Citadel stations in signing off every night, one of the few stations in the country to still do so. However, as of the mid-2000s, WHBF ran its transmitters all night, airing a test pattern with station identification superimposed over the pattern. Digital channel 4.2 has operated 24/7 since the Retro Television Network debut on December 1, 2008. The move left Iowa Public Television station KQIN as the last Quad Cities television station to sign-off.
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, and 48 Hours Mystery, which are not currently broadcast in HD by CBS. In addition, five syndicated programs available on WHBF's schedule are broadcast in HDTV: the weekday and weekend editions of Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition, which are both produced and distributed by CBS Television Distribution; a corporate sibling of the CBS Television Network under CBS Corporation. Also, The Dr. Oz Show, which is distributed by Sony Pictures Television, as well as Judge Judy and The Jeff Probst Show, which are produced by Big Ticket Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution, are broadcast in high-definition by WHBF.
Digital television 
WHBF TV's signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||PSIP Short Name||Video||Aspect||Programming|
|4.1||WHBF-DT||1080i||16:9||Main WHBF-TV Programming / CBS HDTV|
|4.2||LWN 4.2||480i||4:3||Live Well 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, from the digital transition onward, Retro Television Network on channel 4.2 was abbreviated "RTV" and not "RTN" like it was prior to the digital transition, and as of late summer 2009, WHBF's PSIP had been identifying its secondary channel as "RTV 4" instead of the previous "RTN 4" although the local branding was immediately changed over at the transition.
On January 16, 2012, WHBF, along with all of its sister stations, launched an affiliation with the Live Well Network on its second digital subchannel. As of that date, the PSIP for channel 4.2 has been identifying the subchannel as "LWN 4.2" as a nod to its new affiliation. The Live Well Network originates as a 720p HDTV operation but is carried by WHBF in a letterbox format, preserving the native 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio of the network while saving bandwidth for WHBF by keeping digital channel 4.2 in its traditional 480i format with the 4:3 screen size.
Post-transition digital signal issues 
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.
News operation 
Prior to the Fall of 2011, WHBF, unllike most CBS affiliates, did not air a morning newscast and had not done so for many years. Instead, a weather forecast was 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 later on it was 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 was aired at 6 a.m. and repeated itself at 6:30 a.m. weekdays on WHBF. WHBF also had not aired a 6 p.m. newscast during the week since 1997, although a 6 p.m. newscast has always aired on Saturday evenings.
WHBF won numerous awards and public recognition for a ground-breaking news series that ran weekly from April, 1995 to April, 1996. "Robb's Life" focused on the life of Robb Dussliere, a Rock Island resident who was battling AIDS. Each week, News Director Ken Gullette (November, 1993 to July, 1997) followed Robb as he went to doctors offices, enjoyed his family, and worked to renovate a home for HIV and AIDS patients. WHBF viewers watched as Robb went from being relatively healthy in April, 1995 to his funeral in April, 1996. The stories were unique in that Gullette's voice was never heard and he never appeared on camera. Working as a one-man producer, videographer and editor, he told Robb's story through video, natural sound, interviews, and music. The feature stories also ran longer than the normal TV stories. "Robb's Life" raised awareness, changed viewer opinions about AIDS, and won awards from the Illinois and Iowa Associated Press. Most of the weekly features can now be seen on YouTube. Fifteen years after it aired, the Dispatch/Argus ran a story about the impact of the series, and interviewed Robb's parents, Lorney and Hattie Dussliere of East Moline, Illinois.
WHBF has noticeable 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.
On December 21, 2010, WHBF-TV became the second in the Quad Cities market, behind KWQC, to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, beginning with the 5 p.m. newscast.
During the summer of 2011, WHBF announced morning newscasts would be coming to the station. Meredith Dennis anchored and Travis Michels provided weather information as of September 12, 2011. Also, the 6 p.m. news returned after a 14-year absence on September 26, 2011. The morning local newscast, known as CBS4 News This Morning, was aired from 5:30 to 7 am. The CBS Morning News was moved back to 5 am and the station's daily paid early morning religious programming was discontinued. However, as of Spring 2012, CBS4 News This Morning now airs from 5-7 a.m., while the CBS Morning News airs at 4:30 a.m.
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.
News/Station presentation 
Newscast titles 
- Action News (1970s-1985; used "Move Closer to Your World" as its music package)
- 4 News (1985–1990)
- Channel 4 News (1990–1996)
- News 4 WHBF (1996-2002)
- Channel 4 Eyewitness News (2002–2007)
- CBS 4 News (2007–present)
- Ten at 10 on CBS 4 (10 p.m. newscast; 2010–present)
Station slogans 
- 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)
News team 
Current on-air staff 
- Chloe Morroni - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Steve Long - weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Roland Glembine - Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Meredith Dennis - weekday mornings
- Andy McCray (NWA Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Kyle Kiel - meteorologist; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Anthony Peoples - meteorologist; weekday mornings
- Jay Kidwell - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
- Steve Campbell - sports anchor; Saturdays at 6, Sundays at 5 and weekends at 10 p.m.
- Christine Souders- general assignment reporter
- Clay LePard - general assignment reporter
- Kate Pabich- general assignment reporter
- Natalie Zarowny - general assignment reporter
- Jillian Wilson - general assignment reporter
- Kylen Mills - morning general assignment reporter
- "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice, November 10, 1956: 13[dead link]
- Malone, Michael (9 January 2012). "Citadel Communications Stations Grab Live Well". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- WHBF to expand news programming
- WHBF.com - Official WHBF-TV Website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WHBF-TV
- The Unofficial Grandpa Happy Website