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Moline-Rock Island, Illinois/
Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa
City of license Moline
Branding WQAD (general)
WQAD News 8 (newscasts)
My TV 8.3 (on DT3)
Slogan The Quad Cities
News Leader
Live. Local. Latebreaking. (secondary)
Channels Digital: 38 (UHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Subchannels 8.1 ABC
8.2 Antenna TV
8.3 MyNetworkTV
Affiliations ABC
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
(WQAD License, LLC)
First air date August 1, 1963 (1963-08-01)
Call letters' meaning QuAD Cities
Former channel number(s) Analog:
8 (VHF, 1963–2009)
Transmitter power 1,000 kW
Height 1096.1 ft = 334.1 m
Facility ID 73319
Transmitter coordinates
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile

WQAD-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Quad Cities area of West-Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa that is licensed to Moline, Illinois. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 38 from a transmitter in Orion, Illinois. Owned by Tribune Broadcasting, WQAD has studios on Park 16th Street in Moline.


  • History 1
  • Programming 2
  • Digital television 3
    • Digital channels 3.1
    • Analog-to-digital conversion 3.2
  • News operation 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Station logo until 2009.

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 had actually won the license in 1961; however, concerns about interference with WIRL-TV in Peoria (now WHOI on channel 19) delayed sign-on for two years.[1] Before WQAD signed-on, ABC programming had been split between WOC-TV (now KWQC-TV) and WHBF-TV. From day one, WQAD aired ABC programming in color. Cowles Communications of Des Moines, Iowa purchased WQAD in 1978.

In 1985, the Cowles family sold off their various media interests, with WQAD going to The New York Times Company. On May 7, 2007, Local TV (a subsidiary of Oak Hill Capital) officially took over the Times' nine television stations including WQAD.[2] On July 1, 2013, Local TV announced that its stations would be acquired by the Tribune Company;[3] the purchase was finalized on December 27.

WQAD was branded in the early-1980s as "Active 8, Your 24 hour News Source" or "The Best News Around" and did hourly news cut-ins even during the overnight hours. WQAD was the first television station in the Quad Cities to be on the air 24 hours a day in the late-1980s until 1991.


WQAD's early years are closely linked to the station's prominent anchor/reporter, Jim King. He was the station's main anchorman from the day the station first signed-on until 1998 and doubling as News Director for most of that time. His sign-off at the end of his newscasts was always "Thank you for inviting us into your home." King took cameras and gear to Vietnam for two tours of reporting on local troops. He was long the staple on the anchor desk and was known for his "On The Road" series of reports and for his longtime role as the emcee of the station's annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons from 1971 to 1998. He died of a heart attack while shoveling his sidewalk on January 2, 1999.

WQAD was one of the organizations which founded the Quad City Open Golf Tournament in 1971. The PGA tournament is now called the John Deere Classic and has been the topic of special broadcasts on the television station for more than 35 years. Quad-Cities baby boomers fondly remember WQAD's weekly midnight Chuck Acri Creature Feature showing early Creature Features films including science fiction and monster movies. WQAD's early days are also remembered for being the local outlet for Romper Room and its host Miss Peggy. For much of the time since 1988, this station has carried the syndicated program Live with Regis and Kelly weekday mornings at 9 which is produced by WABC-TV in New York City and distributed nationally by that channel's corporate sibling Disney-ABC Domestic Television formerly known as Buena Vista Television. Other syndicated programming on this station includes Dr. Phil, and Ellen.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[4]
8.1 720p 16:9 WQAD-DT Main WQAD-TV programming / ABC
8.2 480i 4:3 WQADATV Antenna TV
8.3 720p 16:9 WQADMYT WQAD-DT3 / MyNetworkTV

The "Quad Cities Weather Channel" was a 24-hour weather service provided by WQAD and had been available to television viewers on digital channel 8.2 and on Mediacom channel 14. This was created in 2001 and featured its "Exclusive Live Triple Doppler" and weather updates every fifteen minutes. On March 5, 2011, WQAD discontinued the "Quad Cities Weather Channel" and digital channel 8.2 became affiliated with Antenna TV.

Analog-to-digital conversion

WQAD-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, at 3:59 a.m. on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 38.[5][6] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8. Also at the same time, the "WQAD-TV" call sign was transferred from now-defunct analog channel 8 to digital channel 38 and the "WQAD-DT" calls were discontinued.

News operation

WQAD News 8 newscast former title card

The station began news operations from the first day it signed on-the-air in 1963. At times, it shares news stories with sister station WHO-TV in Des Moines. WQAD also uses WHO's chopper usually during severe weather or flooding. WQAD is also affiliated with CNN. On September 4, 2007, its weeknight 6 o'clock newscast started re-airing on WBQD at 9. Its hour long midday newscast, News 8 at 11, debuted on September 22, 2008 and anchored by the weekday morning team. The station had dropped its midday newscast called Newsday in 1996.

On August 6, 2010, it was announced that the station would enter into a news share agreement with Fox affiliate KLJB. This resulted in a nightly prime time broadcast at 9 for a half-hour on that channel on September 6.[7] Previously, KLJB had its prime time broadcasts produced by the Independent News Network which is based in Davenport. This agreement ended on December 31, 2012.

On September 12, 2011, WQAD's news operation upgraded its newscasts to high definition.


  1. ^ "DuMont Television Network | Historical Web Site". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  2. ^ NY Times CO. Sell TV Group to Equity Firm for $530M; Second equity group to buy a media business in two weeks., NewsInc. (via HighBeam Research), January 8, 2007.
  3. ^ Channick, Robert (July 1, 2013). "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator".  
  4. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WQAD
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  7. ^ "WQAD-TV to take over of newscast production". 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 

External links

  • - Official WQAD-TV Website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WQAD-TV
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