Merger fever has overtaken several industries as of late, including two of our local PBS affiliates. WXEL and WPBT announced they are exploring the possibility of merging to create a new entity called South Florida PBS.
Talks are at a very early stage, and considering the two stations already tried to merge in 1997, 2005 and 2009 we wouldn’t say it’s a done deal but if all goes as planned the merger would establish South Florida as the seventh-largest Nielsen television market in the US and give the new PBS entity the capacity to broadcast more channels.
WXEL currently airs four and WPBT broadcasts three channels, the combined South Florida PBS would eliminate duplicate programming the two stations currently air and allow it to expand it’s content and channel selection. Even more so when ATSC 3.0 becomes reality soon, which is rumored to have advanced video compression like HEVC or H.264 and up to 38Mbps bandwidth per 6Mhz TV channel.