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|Branding||Broward Education Communications Network|
|Affiliations||63.1/63.2: Educational Independent|
First air date
Former call signs
Former channel number(s)
Call sign meaning
|Broward Education Communications|
|HAAT||285 m (935 ft)|
Public license information
WBEC-TV, virtual channel 63 (UHF digital channel 25), is an educational independent television station licensed to Boca Raton, Florida, United States. Owned by the Broward County Public Schools district, it is sister to student-run high school radio station WKPX (88.5 FM), which features an adult album alternative format and carries audio broadcasts of the school board's meetings. WBEC-TV's studios are located in Davie, and its transmitter is located in Pembroke Park, Florida. Although the station is based in Broward County, WBEC-TV's city of license, Boca Raton, is located within Palm Beach County.
WBEC traces its history to the launch of Instructional Television of Broward County, Florida (ITV), a local educational cable channel that debuted in the mid-1970s. Some of the in-school programming that was produced by ITV were also distributed to PBS member stations and other educational television stations throughout Florida, especially as a benefit to those without cable television. In order to have unrestricted use of the Instructional Television Center, in 1984, the Broward County Public Schools district reimbursed the funds it had received from the Florida State Department of Education to establish the center. The center placed emphasis on the production and broadcast of instructional television programming, but it also produced television programs for the community that were carried by cable companies that provided broadcast time to the district. The channel changed its name to Broward Education Communications Network (BECON) in 1998.
Meanwhile, the channel 63 construction permit was issued in the late 1980s to Palmetto Broadcasters Associated for Communities and was slated to launch as WPPB-TV, the "Second Season" station, with programming aimed at senior citizens; Palmetto Broadcasters Associated for Communities was affiliated with Palm Beach Atlantic College. PBAC had ambitious broadcasting plans; at the same time it revealed information on the forthcoming WPPB-TV, it announced WTCE-TV (channel 21) in Fort Pierce, alongside a station on channel 9 in Islamorada that would be known as "Hispanivision" (and was never built).
Palmetto Broadcasters did not build the channel, and in 1999, with the construction permit still unbuilt, channel 63 was sold to The Christian Network for $300,000 and finally launched in 1999 with Christian programming. The Christian Network promptly sold the station to the Broward County school board for $3.6 million in January 2000. On March 15, 2008, the station changed its call letters to WBEC-TV, to reflect its branding.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|63.1||1080i||16:9||WBEC-HD||Main WBEC-TV programming|
WBEC-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 63, 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 40. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 63, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.