WPBF, virtual channel 25 (UHF digital channel 16), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Tequesta, Florida, United States, serving the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. The station is owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of Hearst Communications. WPBF's studios are located on RCA Boulevard in the Monet section of Palm Beach Gardens, and its transmitter is located in Palm City southwest of I-95. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity channel 10 (in Martin, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, and southern St. Lucie counties) and channel 9 (in Indian River and northern St. Lucie counties).
|Tequesta/West Palm Beach/|
Boca Raton, Florida
|Branding||WPBF 25 (general)|
WPBF 25 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Live. Local. Late Breaking.|
|Channels||Digital: 16 (UHF)|
Virtual: 25 (PSIP)
25.2: Estrella TV
25.3: Justice Network
(Hearst Properties Inc.)
|Founded||June 15, 1988|
|First air date||January 1, 1989|
|Call letters' meaning||West Palm Beach, Florida|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:|
25 (UHF, 1989–2009)
|Former affiliations||AccuWeather (DT2)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Height||425 m (1,394 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
WPBF first went on-the-air January 1, 1989, owned by Alan Potamkin and the John H. Phipps Company. This marked a return to West Palm Beach for Phipps, which had previously owned NBC affiliate WPTV-TV (channel 5) from 1956 to 1961. The station has always been based within a former RCA computer facility converted in a several-month period to a working television facility.
WPBF was originally planned to launch as an independent station. A series of events in the Miami market to the south from the 1987 sale of WTVJ to NBC would lead to a much different programming direction for the station. In mid-1988, CBS (which would be evicted from its longtime affiliation with WTVJ at the start of 1989 due to its sale to NBC) bought Fox affiliate WCIX (now WFOR-TV). That station only provided a Grade B ("rimshot") signal to Fort Lauderdale and Broward County because its transmitter was located farther south than the other Miami stations, in Homestead.
CBS then persuaded the longtime ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, WPEC (channel 12), to switch to CBS in order to retain a city-grade signal within Fort Lauderdale. In the fall of 1988, ABC chose to affiliate with WPBF rather than with former CBS affiliate WTVX (channel 34), owing to the success of Phipps and Potamkin's other station, WCTV in Tallahassee, along with WTVX's general lack of success with its news department.
WPBF thus launched as an ABC affiliate its first day of operation, January 1, 1989, with all of the above moves in Miami and West Palm Beach occurring on the same day. WPBF, having planned to be an independent, had purchased a large inventory of classic sitcoms and cartoons early in 1988 to launch the station, but now having the obligations to a broadcast network, had few timeslots to air the programming in and little compatibility with ABC's schedule. The inventory was thus sold to WTVX a couple of months after signing-on; with no network affiliation, WTVX also shut down their struggling news department, allowing WPBF to build their news operation in their own image without comparisons to WTVX's effort.
In 1993, WPBF was sold to Paxson Communications (now Ion Media Networks), which at the time owned several FM radio stations as well as a few ABC and CBS affiliates. In 1997, Paxson sold their radio stations and network affiliates (including WPBF) in order to finance the acquisition of stations for Pax TV (now Ion Television), with WPBF going to the Hearst Corporation (Paxson would acquire the inactive license for WPXP-TV (channel 67) shortly thereafter as their Pax station for West Palm Beach). As soon as the transaction was finalized, Hearst handed over control of WPBF to its majority-owned subsidiary, Hearst Television (formerly Hearst-Argyle Television).
All Hearst-owned ABC affiliates including WPBF preempted Saving Private Ryan in 2004. The station was one of three ABC affiliates in the state of Florida that preempted the film. WPBF was also the only ABC affiliate in Florida to preempt Power Rangers during the period of time in which the program appeared on the ABC Kids block, due to its lack of educational content, as many of its sister Hearst stations did.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|25.1||720p||16:9||WPBF HD||Main WPBF programming / ABC|
|25.2||480i||WPBF sd||Estrella TV|
On WPBF-DT2 and Comcast digital channels 208 and 616 is the Spanish-language network Estrella TV. Previously, WPBF-DT2 was part of The Local AccuWeather Channel and known locally as "Weather First TV". There was also a live video stream of that channel on its website.
WPBF discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 25, at 11:59 p.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 16. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 25.
As part of the SAFER Act, WPBF kept its analog signal on the air until July 12 to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.
WPBF presently broadcasts 39½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six hours each weekday, five hours on Saturdays and 4½ hours on Sundays).
Initially, WPBF had a small news department due to having not expected to not launching one before the circumstances of South Florida's 1989 affiliation changes gave them the ABC affiliation. After being purchased by Paxson Communications, the station added additional newscasts to its schedule. For a long time they struggled with ratings in their own market, which is attributable to WPLG's very strong over-the-air signal in Palm Beach County and its availability on Comcast throughout the area. However with Hearst's traditional hard news focus on their stations soon instituted within WPBF's news operation, WPBF eventually became a spirited second place news operation, and WPBF usually outranks WPEC currently in most timeslots (NBC affiliate WPTV has been well dominant in the market for years).
On July 12, 2006, it started airing a half-hour newscast called Weather First at 4 on weekdays becoming the first station in West Palm Beach to do so. While the main intention of the new broadcast was to cover West Palm Beach area weather, news updates and headlines were added after a short time. This production is streamed live on their website. On July 17, 2006, WPBF added thirty minutes to its weekday morning show which began airing at 5:30. It became a full two-hour broadcast on January 28, 2008. The station debuted a new traffic reporting system featuring data from Traffic.com on February 14 that included a new traffic segment, Beat the Traffic, seen on weekdays.
Expansion of local news continued with the launch of a weekend morning newscast on March 8. On August 18, 2008, WPBF began broadcasting a broadcast at noon during the week which is also streamed live on its website. On September 14, 2009, the station debuted a new logo, set, and graphics package while expanding the 4 p.m. newscast to an hour. WPBF dropped weeknight newscasts in the 5 p.m. hour to make room for Dr. Phil which had moved to the station from WPTV; that change has since been reverted, for as of September 12, 2011, The Dr. Oz Show replaced the 4 p.m. newscast.
Until October 4, 2010, WPBF was the only channel in the West Palm Beach market that did not offer newscasts in high definition or even 16:9 enhanced definition widescreen. However, WPBF was operating HD-ready studios and field cameras for its broadcasts. The shows were displayed in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition while showing the station's logo and "HD" in the left and right thirds of the screen. On October 4 starting with the weeknight 4 p.m. newscast, WPBF started broadcasting local news in high definition. Upon the upgrade, it began using an updated music package and slightly revised HD graphics previously used by sister station WESH in Orlando. In December 2012, WPBF upgraded their graphics package to the new Hearst Television graphics along with new music and talent opens. However, like another sister station, KSBW in Salinas, California, HD is not mentioned in the news openings. WPBF will also continue to display HD in the left and right thirds of the screen when video footage is shown in 4:3 standard definition. The station does not currently operate a sports department which is unusual for both a big three network channel and a Hearst-owned station.
- Instant TV WPBF, New ABC Affiliate Starting From Scratch, Races Toward Sunday Air Debut, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 30, 1988.
- Fanfare Absent As Switchovers Strike Airwaves In S. Florida, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 2, 1989.
- ABC Picks Palm Affiliate That Is Not Yet On The Air, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, October 19, 1988.
- Paxson Communications Corp. announces the sale of West Palm Beach television station WPBF TV-25 to Hearst Corp.[dead link] Business Wire. March 26, 1997. HighBeam Research. (February 17, 2011).
- RabbitEars TV Query for WPBF
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CDBS Print
- "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "WPBF - TitanTV". TitanTV. Retrieved 14 November 2014.