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One of the station's early highlights was its telecast of the National Football League's championship game between the Chicago Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28, 1947.
In April 1948, WBKB began sharing the market's CBS affiliation with WGN-TV (channel 9), after that station signed on.
WBBM had earlier considered selling the Mc Clurg Court facility with the intent to relocate into a new studio complex in 1998 (with areas on North Fairbanks Court, North Michigan Avenue and West Jackson Street as potential sites for the planned facility); however, the plans were postponed due to transition to high-definition broadcasting.
Channel 4 originally operated as an independent station, since at the time it was not clear that it would be an affiliate of the CBS television network; eventually, WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee became the first television station west of the Eastern Time Zone to affiliate with a major network.WBBM-TV maintains studio and office facilities located on West Washington Street as part of the development at Block 37 in the Loop district, and its transmitter is located atop the Willis Tower on South Wacker Drive.WBBM-TV traces its history to 1940 when Balaban and Katz, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, signed on experimental station W9XBK, the first all-electronic television facility in Chicago.On September 26, 1960, WBBM's Mc Clurg Court studios served as the site of the first televised presidential debate between John F. WBBM-TV also served as production home to the syndicated programs Donahue (from 1982 to 1985) and Siskel & Ebert (from 1986 to the late 1990s, when production migrated to the studios of WLS-TV on State Street).In October 1987, Center City Communications—a locally based investor group led by attorney Brenda Minor—filed a challenge to the FCC's renewal of WBBM-TV's station license.
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The WBKB call letters were subsequently assumed by channel 7 (that station would eventually change its callsign to WLS-TV in 1968).