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WPBF is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Tequesta, Florida, United States, serving the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (or virtual channel 25 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Palm City southwest of I-95. Owned by the Hearst Television subsidiary of Hearst Communications, the station has studios on RCA Boulevard in the Monet section of Palm Beach Gardens. On cable, the station can be seen 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).

HistoryEdit

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.


TV stations in Florida
WPLG, Miami

WFTS, Tampa
WWSB, Sarasota
WCJB, Gainesville
WJXX, Jacksonville
WTXL, Tallahassee
WMBB, Panama City
WEAR, Pensacola
WFTV, Orlando
WZVN, Fort Myers
WPBF, Tequesta

TV stations in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, including Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Fort Pierce
WPTV 5 (NBC)
WFPI-LP 8 (Ind)
WHDT 9 (COURT)
WWCI-CD 10 (Ind)
WPEC 12 (CBS)
WTCE 21 (TBN)
WPBF 25 (ABC)
WFLX 29 (Fox)
WXOD-LD 33 (Buzzr)
WTVX 34 (CW)
WSLF-LD 35 (Daystar)
WXEL 42 (PBS)
WTCN-CA 43 (MNTV)
W47DW-D 47 (Ind)
WWHB-CA 48 (AZA)
WBWP-LD 57 (Ind)
WFGC 61 (CTN)
WBEC 63 (ETV)
WPXP 67 (Ion)
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