WLKU is owned by the Educational Media Foundation.
WHBF-FM's first home was the Harms Hotel, where it broadcast alongside sister station WHBF-AM. As with most FM stations of the era, WHBF either duplicated the AM station's programming or used a classical music/easy listening format. WHBF-TV joined the fold in July 1950, with all three facilities housed in the Telco Building in downtown Rock Island. All three stations were owned by the Potter family of Rock Island, the same family that published the Rock Island Argus.
In the early 1970s, WHBF moved away from its classical/easy listening format, and for a short while, shared WHBF-AM's middle-of-the-road (MOR) format. When WHBF-AM began its country music format in 1974, WHBF-FM continued its MOR format for another decade.
In the mid-1990s, WPXR station programmers tried "The New Sound", one featuring urban contemporary and alternative rock music. Listeners didn't like "The New Sound", and it wasn't long before the station reverted back to the tried-and-true Top 40/CHR format, this time with the slogan "All-Hit 98.9" (pronounced as "All-Hit Ninety-Eight Nine," unlike "Power 98.9," in which was pronounced Ninety-Eight point Nine). The callsign WHTS became effective in 1995. For several years, WHTS carried "The Bob & Tom Show" during its morning programming block until the show moved to KUUL in 2001 to make way for a local morning show.
The FCC instituted new ownership rules in 2004. Under the new rules, a joint sales agreement is considered equivalent to station ownership, placing Clear Channel over the market limit. The JSA between Clear Channel and Mercury was due to be renewed in 2006, but both companies knew a renewal was not possible. In December 2005, it was announced that Mercury would be selling the station to the Educational Media Foundation for $3.5 million. EMF also announced its intentions to convert the 98.9 frequency to non-commercial status.
The FCC approved the sale on January 24, 2006, and the final day for the Top 40 format was February 3. The last song ever to be played on All Hit 98.9 was "American Pie" by Don McLean, which was followed by a tribute medley produced by "Red Hot" Brian Scott. The 98.9 frequency went silent at midnight on February 3, returning to the air with the satellite K-Love format the following evening. The station now uses the call letters WLKU.
The new call letters WHTS FM have been assigned to WCXT 105.3 FM in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which fittingly introduced a new Top 40 format as "Hot FM."