|Tequesta/West Palm Beach, 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)||25 (UHF analog, 1989–2009)|
|Former affiliations||AccuWeather (DT2)|
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WPBF is the ABC-affiliated television station for the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. Licensed to Tequesta, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 from a transmitter in Palm City southwest of I-95. Owned by Hearst Television, the station has studios on RCA Boulevard in the Monet section of Palm Beach Gardens.
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 from 1956 to 1961.
The original plans called for the station to be an Independent. However, in mid-1988, CBS (which was due to lose its longtime Miami affiliate WTVJ 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 farther south than the other Miami stations.
CBS persuaded the longtime ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, WPEC, to switch to CBS in order to get a city-grade signal in Fort Lauderdale. In Fall 1988, ABC made the decision to affiliate with WPBF rather than with former CBS affiliate WTVX, owing to the success of Phipps and Potamkin's other station, WCTV. These changes occurred on the day of WPBF's sign-on. The station had bought a large inventory of classic sitcoms and cartoons but now had no time to air them. It sold this programming to WTVX a couple of months after signing-on when that station shut down its news department.
In 1993, WPBF was sold to Paxson Communications 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 (now ION Television) with this channel going to the Hearst Corporation. 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 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 movie.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|25.1||720p||16:9||WPBF-HD||Main WPBF programming / ABC|
On WPBF-DT2, Comcast digital channels 208 and 616 is the Spanish 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.
Initially, WPBF had a small news department. 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. This can be attributed to WPLG's very strong over-the-air signal in Palm Beach County and its availability on Comcast throughout the area. In recent months however, WPBF has been making great strides in the ratings and, in the May sweeps period, came in second place for the early weeknight time slots.
NBC affiliate WPTV regularly beats WPBF and WPEC in Nielsen ratings as the most watched in West Palm Beach and South Florida. Following the May 2009 sweeps period, WPTV retained its title as the most-watched television station in the state of Florida based on sign-on to sign-off household ratings in metered markets.
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, 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 a big three network channel.
- 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. 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). 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.