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West Palm Beach, Florida
United States
City West Palm Beach, Florida
(to change to Boynton Beach, Florida[1])
Branding South Florida PBS
Channels Digital: 27 (UHF)
(to share 18 (UHF) with WPBT;[2] later move to 29 (UHF))
Virtual: 42 (PSIP)
Subchannels 42.1 PBS
42.2 Create
42.3 The Florida Channel/World
42.4 PBS Kids
Translators W31DC-D 31 Fort Pierce
Affiliations PBS
Owner South Florida PBS, Inc.
First air date July 8, 1982 (36 years ago) (1982-07-08)
Call letters' meaning EXcELlence
Sister station(s) WPBT
Former callsigns WHRS-TV (1982–1985)
Former channel number(s) 42 (UHF analog, 1982–2009)
Transmitter power 400 kW
1000 kW (RF 18 application & RF 29 CP)
Height 440 m (1,444 ft)
309 m (1,014 ft) (RF 18 application)
306 m (1,004 ft) (RF 29 CP)
Facility ID 61084
Transmitter coordinates 26°34′38″N 80°14′31″W / 26.57722°N 80.24194°W / 26.57722; -80.24194
25°57′31″N 80°12′43″W / 25.95861°N 80.21194°W / 25.95861; -80.21194 (RF 18 application & RF 29 CP)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website www.wxel.org

WXEL-TV, virtual channel 42 (UHF digital channel 27), is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to West Palm Beach, Florida, United States. The station is owned by South Florida PBS and is a sister to Miami-licensed flagship WPBT (channel 2). WXEL's studios are located in Boynton Beach, and its transmitter is just south of Wellington. On cable, the station can be seen on Comcast Xfinity channel 6 (in Martin, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, and southern St. Lucie counties) and channel 2 (in Indian River and northern St. Lucie counties), and in high definition on digital channel 440.


WXEL studios, 2012

WXEL signed on-the-air on July 8, 1982 as WHRS-TV, under the ownership of South Florida Public Telecommunications. It was a sister station to WHRS-FM, founded in 1969. The call letters came from Hagen Road Elementary School, where the radio station's studios were originally based. Prior to 1982, Miami's WPBT had doubled as the PBS member for the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast, and continued to claim the Palm Beaches as part of its primary coverage area for several years. In January 1985, the station became known as "WXEL-TV" along with its sister radio station, WXEL-FM (now WFLV). (The WXEL call sign had been used on channel 8 in Cleveland, Ohio, on what is now Fox affiliate WJW.)

In 1997, South Florida Public Telecommunications sold WXEL-FM-TV to Barry University, a Catholic university located in Miami Shores. During its ownership, WXEL was one of at least three PBS members owned and operated by a Catholic-related organization (WLAE-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana and KMBH in Harlingen, Texas are the others), and one of at least four run by a religious organization in general (counting Provo, Utah's KBYU-TV). Despite the Catholic-based ownership, WXEL showed no religious programming, other than religious documentaries provided by PBS.

Over the intervening years the stations grew under Barry University's stewardship and the station's then CEO, Jerry Carr. In 2004, the station began digital broadcasting as part of the nation’s conversion to DTV and later, in 2009, turned off its analog signal and went completely digital. During this period, the University decided to exit broadcasting part of a change in strategic direction. It entered into a purchase agreement with the Educational Broadcasting Corporation (owners of New York City's WNET and WLIW) and the Community Broadcast Foundation of Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast. This agreement was terminated in 2008 with the University subsequently selling WXEL-FM separately to the American Public Media Group in 2011. Carr retired in 2010.

While a number of organizations approached Barry University as candidates to purchase the television station, the University announced on February 27, 2012 that the station would be acquired by a community-based group led by the station’s current CEO, Bernie Henneberg. Henneberg’s group, the WXEL Public Broadcasting Corporation, sought and was granted approval by the Florida Department of Education to operate the station and continue to receive state support. In July 2012, after completing an extensive review of its application, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)[3] formally transferred the license for WXEL-TV to the Corporation. The sale was finalized on July 21, 2012. On February 7, 2013, the FCC issued a license renewal authorization for a term expiring on February 1, 2021.

On July 15, 2015, Community Television Foundation of South Florida, Inc. (owner of WPBT) announced an agreement with the WXEL Public Broadcasting Corporation to merge the operations of both WPBT and WXEL-TV 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.[4][5]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[6]
42.1 720p 16:9 WXEL-DT Main WXEL-TV programming / PBS
42.2 480i 4:3 WXEL-D2 Create
42.3 WXEL-D3 The Florida Channel (6:00am-6:00pm)
World (6:00pm-6:00am)
42.4 WXEL-D4 PBS Kids

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WXEL-TV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 42, 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 27.[7] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as 42. WHDT subsequently moved its digital signal to UHF channel 42, moving from channel 59 which was removed from broadcast use as part of the transition.


In addition to its main signals, WXEL is also carried on the following repeater:

Call Letters Channel City of License Licensee
W31DC-D 31 Fort Pierce WXEL-PBC Digital repeater

WXEL's use of a repeater is necessary as WXEL's main signal does not reach all of its viewers along the Treasure Coast.

W31DC-D broadcasts on UHF channel 31. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display W31DC-D's virtual channel as 44, its previous analog channel as W44AY.


External links[edit]