About WMBFRaycom Media commenced construction on the station in late 2007. It was the only station that Raycom built and signed on. The company inherited the construction permit for the station when it merged with the Liberty Corporation, the owner of WIS in Columbia, which had operated a virtual station in the market since the 1990s. WMBF-TV signed on for testing in late-July 2008 with a station ID slide. On August 7, it officially signed-on at 11:59 p.m. with NBC welcoming the station on-air the following day on Today, NBC Nightly News, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The sign-on of WMBF occurred in time for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Before WMBF's launch, the Florence/Myrtle Beach market was one of only a few areas along the East Coast without its own NBC affiliate, and was one of the few remaining markets in the country without full service from the three legacy networks. Traditionally, WECT in Wilmington, North Carolina was the default NBC affiliate for Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, and had been available on cable in the Grand Strand since cable arrived in the market in the 1970s. WIS was the default affiliate for Florence and the Pee Dee, but had been picked up by nearly every cable system in the Grand Strand by the mid-1980s.