WHBC is the oldest radio station in Canton. The license for the station was granted on February 13, 1925 to Father Edward P. Graham and the St. John Catholic Church. WHBC began broadcasting on March 9, 1925 at 1180 kHz with 100 watts. It was the first Catholic radio station on the air in the U.S., as WLWL in New York was not licensed until August 1925. By the middle of 1927 the station had moved to 1270 kHz. Broadcasting had moved to 1200 kHz by the middle of 1930.
In 1936 the station was sold to secular interests, when it was purchased by the Brush-Moore Newspaper Company, then owners of Canton's newspaper, The Repository. The station was sold in 1939 to a business group consisting of the Vodrey family of East Liverpool and the Boyd family of Portsmouth. The families organized ownership of the station under the name of the Ohio Broadcasting Company. They obtained approval to increase power to 250 watts daytime, while maintaining 100 watts at night. The station had no network affiliation until 1940 or 1941 when it became a Mutual affiliate. It became an ABC affiliate later in the 1940s.
On March 29, 1941, when most stations in the U.S. changed frequencies due to the NARBA, WHBC moved from 1200 to 1230 kHz. It moved to its present frequency of 1480 kHz on June 4, 1944, when WGAR AM in Cleveland moved from 1480 to 1220. The station obtained an FM license in 1948 and established WHBC-FM on 94.1 MHz which still operates using those call letters.
On September 26, 1967, the ownership was reorganized as WHBC, Inc., which changed its name to Beaverkettle Company on September 13, 1972. The Vodreys purchased WFIR in Roanoke, Virginia in 1969; they sold the station eight years later. In June 2000, the family-owned Beaverkettle Company sold WHBC and WHBC-FM to NextMedia, ending 61 years of Vodrey family ownership of the stations.
For many years, WHBC was the only full-time AM station in Canton, as the stations on 900, 1060, and 1520 khz were all daytimers, as also were 990 in Massillon and 1310 in Alliance (all but 1060 and 1520 were later granted a modest night power under changes in the FCC rules). As such, WHBC enjoyed enviable dominance in the Canton radio market, although stations from Akron and Cleveland could also be heard.