WQAD-TV signed-on for the first time on August 1, 1963. It was owned by the Moline Television Corporation, a group of 24 local investors. They won the license in 1961, however, concerns about interference with WIRL-TV in Peoria (now Comet TV owned-and-operated station WHOI) delayed sign-on for two years. Before WQAD signed-on, ABC programming had been split between NBC affiliate WOC-TV (channel 6, now KWQC-TV) and CBS affiliate WHBF-TV (channel 4). Viewers with a good antenna could watch the full ABC schedule on KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids.