About WHBFWHBF-TV signed on the air on July 1, 1950. It is the fifth-oldest surviving station in Illinois and the oldest outside Chicago and next to the state of Iowa across the Mississippi River. 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 primary NBC affiliate WOC-TV (channel 6, now KWQC-TV) up to the time that the new station 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 Communications acquired WHBF-TV, and the radio stations moved out of the Telco Building. The following year, Lynch Entertainment acquired a stake in the station; at that time Coronet Communications Company was formed as a partnership between Citadel and Lynch.
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 29, 2007, WHBF-TV rebranded as "CBS 4". It also adopted a variation of the circle logo shared with Citadel's other major network affiliates.