Palm Beaches, Florida
|Branding||South Florida PBS|
|Slogan||Explore Your Possibilities|
Digital: 18 (UHF)|
(to share with WXEL-TV; later move to 29 (UHF))
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
|Owner||South Florida PBS, Inc.|
|First air date||August 12, 1955|
|Call letters' meaning||
Television or West Palm Beach Television
|Former callsigns||WTHS-TV (shared operation, 1967–1979|
|Former channel number(s)||
|Former affiliations||NET (1955–1970)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
309 m (1,014 ft)|
306 m (1,004 ft) (CP)
|Public license information:||
WPBT, virtual channel 2 (UHF digital channel 18), is a non-commercial educational, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Miami, Florida, United States. It serves as the flagship station of South Florida PBS, which also owns West Palm Beach-licensed PBS member station WXEL-TV (channel 42). WPBT's studios are located on Northeast 20th Avenue in North Miami, and its transmitter is located on Northwest 199th Street in Andover. In addition to serving the Miami–Fort Lauderdale market, the station has significant viewership in much of the West Palm Beach market, and is the only Miami area television station to serve the entire South Florida metropolis.
The Community Television Foundation of South Florida was formed in November 1953. It immediately jumped into the bidding for Florida's first non-commercial educational television station. The only major competition came from the Dade County School Board. Ultimately, the Federal Communications Commission awarded licenses to both groups in a time-share arrangement. They signed on channel 2 as a shared operation on August 12, 1955, operating as a member station of National Educational Television (NET).
Under the arrangement, the school board and the foundation alternated airtime on channel 2 airing their programming from separate studios. The school board would air five hours of educational programming during the day under the WTHS-TV call letters, while the foundation aired evening programming.
Gradually, Community Television Foundation expanded nighttime broadcasting hours, especially after the school board signed on WSEC-TV (channel 17) as a secondary station. WTHS-TV's broadcast day increased further after the formation of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1967. Along with that came the change in call letters, for Community Television's programming, to WPBT. WTHS-TV continued to share the channel with WPBT until the Dade County Schools moved all instructional programming to WSEC-TV.
As PBS grew during the 1970s, it became apparent that a time-share arrangement was no longer feasible for a market of Miami–Fort Lauderdale's size. Finally, in 1979, the Dade County School Board relinquished its share of channel 2 and returned the WTHS license to the FCC. The board moved WTHS' programming inventory to channel 17, which changed its calls to WLRN-TV.
Until WXEL-TV signed on as the PBS member for West Palm Beach in 1982, WPBT served as the default PBS member for the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. For some time after WXEL signed on, WPBT continued to claim the Palm Beaches as part of its primary coverage area, going as far as to identify as "Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Palm Beaches." The analog channel 2 signal traveled a very long distance under normal conditions.
In 2010, WPBT rebranded as "2 HD" along with its children's program block KidVision.
On July 15, 2015, the Community Television Foundation announced an agreement with the WXEL Public Broadcasting Corporation, owner of WXEL-TV in West Palm Beach, to merge the two stations' operations into a new entity, to be known as "South Florida PBS". The merger, which was formally filed with the FCC on July 16, would enable the two stations to pool resources and fundraising efforts to offer more program content. However, the two stations have separate governing boards and conduct separate fundraising efforts. With the FCC's repack program, WXEL-TV will relocate its signal to WPBT's transmitter after relinquishing their digital channel 27 license to the FCC. WXEL will continue to broadcast as a digital subchannel on WPBT's signal.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|2.1||1080i||16:9||WPBT-HD||Main WPBT programming / PBS|
|2.3||WPBTHC||The Health Channel|
WPBT ended programming on its analog signal, on VHF channel 2 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 continued to broadcasts on its pre-transition UHF channel 18. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 2.
Some of WPBT's notable national programs include the science program Star Gazers, the bilingual sitcom ¿Qué Pasa, USA? and its most well known program, the business news and analysis program Nightly Business Report (which is widely distributed by public television stations, mainly those that are members of PBS and had its production responsibilities assumed by CNBC in 2012). Locally produced programs that are seen exclusively on the station include: Check, Please! South Florida, a restaurant review show based on the series Check, Please that originated on fellow PBS station WTTW in Chicago.
The station also produces a public affairs program: Your South Florida (a weekly half-hour public affairs and news program, hosted by Pam Giganti, that addresses issues in the local community).
WPBT has also produced two nature series, Wild Florida (hosted by Hunter Reno, which explored Florida's ecosystems and wildlife) and Changing Seas (which was narrated by Peter Thomas and explores the world's oceans along with leading experts who study our planet's 'last frontier'). It also produces several documentaries about the South Florida area; projects in development include Stranahan House, Florida’s State Parks, Into the Wild and Lost in Florida.
Since January 1, 1993 (two months after the 24th season of Sesame Street, nine months after the debut of Barney & Friends and a year after the debut of Lamb Chop's Play-Along), WPBT got its very own children's programming block called KidVision.
- SFPBS channel sharing resolution
- Mike Janssen (July 15, 2015). "South Florida TV stations announce merger". Current.org. Current LLC. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- Donna Gehrke-White; Johnny Diaz (July 16, 2015). "Two PBS television stations to merge". Sun Sentinel. Tribune Publishing.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WPBT
- "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.
- Wild Florida
- Changing Seas Media Kit