WFLX ("Fox 29") is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Gold and Treasure Coasts of South Florida. Licensed to West Palm Beach, the station broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 28 (virtual channel 29) from a transmitter in Lake Worth west of US 441/SR 7. The station can also be seen on Comcast channel 11 and in high definition on digital channel 434. The station's broadcast license is owned by Raycom Media, but is operated by the E. W. Scripps Company through a shared services agreement with Scripps-owned NBC affiliate WPTV-TV, which was announced in March 2011. All of WFLX's physical assets, programming, and intellectual property is owned by Scripps. WFLX currently shares studios with WPTV on South Australian Avenue in Downtown West Palm Beach.
WFLX was to begin operations in August 1982 but delays pushed the sign on date back to October 17, 1982 as an independent station. Originally owned by Malrite Communications, it ran a programming lineup typical of independent stations at the time—early-morning cartoons, older sitcoms later in mornings, movies in early-afternoons/primetime, classic sitcoms in the late-afternoon, and current sitcoms during early/late-evenings. WFLX originally operated from studios located on West Blue Heron Boulevard/SR 708 in Riviera Beach. Unlike most independents, the amount of children's programming seen on WFLX during this time was low compared to similar stations in other markets, a trend owing to the older demographics of the West Palm Beach area.
On October 9, 1986, WFLX became one of the charter affiliates of Fox. At the time, it was the de facto affiliate of the network in all of South Florida, since WCIX (now CBS O&O WFOR-TV), the Fox affiliate in Miami, had a signal unable to reach most Broward and Northern Miami-Dade County viewers. WFLX retained this Fox affiliation through a heavy South Florida affiliation swap in January 1989, but it lost most of its Miami/Ft. Lauderdale market share to WSVN, which became a Fox affiliate through the swap.
As the 1990s approached, WFLX picked up Fox Kids programming in afternoons and phased out older sitcoms for talk and reality shows. After the 1993/1994 season, it was recognized as the "Fox Affiliate of the Year". In September 1998, Malrite merged with current owner Raycom Media. Shortly after the merge, ratings came out affirming that WFLX was one of Fox's highest affiliates in terms of network ratings and has even showed numbers in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market. In April 2002, WFLX was the first station in the West Palm Beach market to broadcast in high definition showing Fox programming in the updated format. Raycom merged with The Liberty Corporation in mid-2006.
In March 2011, Raycom announced that WFLX would be operated through a shared services agreement with WPTV-TV, the NBC affiliate for the Treasure Coast that is owned and operated by E. W. Scripps Company. In addition to news content, which WPTV has produced for WFLX since the beginning of 2011 (see "News operation" below), WPTV will handle technical, promotional, and online operations for WFLX, along with possible production of local content outside of news. The stations will have separate sales departments; WFLX's sales team (which will remain separate from WPTV) will lease space at WPTV's studios on South Australian Avenue in Downtown West Palm Beach. It was later announced that WFLX would vacate their existing studio in Riviera Beach at the end of May.
WFLX frequently broadcasts New York Giants games due to a large number of transplants from the New York area. The only exception is when the Miami Dolphins are on Fox at the same time (which only occurs when the Dolphins play host to an NFC team; for interconference games, the rights to the broadcast belong to the network that has the rights to the visiting team's conference; since the Dolphins are in the AFC, most of that team's games are aired on CBS (locally on WPEC)).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|29.1||720p||16:9||WFLX-DT||Main WFLX programming / Fox|
Until the network's shutdown on October 1, 2007, WFLX offered The Tube Music Network on its second digital subchannel and Comcast digital channel 220. From there on until fall 2011, WFLX-DT2 remained unoccupied but showed a simple station identification and the current time of day. This TV, which is currently not cleared in West Palm Beach, has been picked up by most Raycom Fox affiliates except for WFLX. The network has been airing on the second digital subchannel of Miami/Ft. Lauderdale CW affiliate WSFL-TV which can be picked up over-the-air in southern areas of the market. On September 26, 2011, WFLX relaunched subchannel 29.2 with Bounce TV; the subchannel is also available on Comcast channel 220.
WFLX discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 29, at noon 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 28. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 29.
WFLX presently broadcasts 17 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (3 hours of weekdays and 1 hour on weekends).
After Fox required most of its affiliates to air newscasts in 1990, WFLX entered in a news share agreement with CBS affiliate WPEC (then owned by the Photo Electronics Corporation). On September 11, 1991, that station started producing a nightly prime time broadcast at 10:00 p.m. on WFLX known as The Fox 29 10 O'Clock News. Originally thirty minutes long, it soon expanded to a full hour. In 2000, an hour-long weekday morning show at 7:00 a.m. began to air entitled Fox 29 Morning News; this was expanded to two hours on September 6, 2006.
WFLX and WPEC maintained separate news sets and on-air identities but shared a weather set and most on-air personnel, except for a few that only appeared on one station. While produced by WPEC, the broadcasts maintained their own separate identity and look, similar to other Raycom stations. As with network programming, the newscasts also rated in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, a trend some have attributed to backlash to that area's Fox affiliate WSVN. As a result, Adelphia (whose system was later acquired by Comcast) pulled WSVN off its West Palm Beach cable lineup in 2005. On January 31, 2008, WPEC and WFLX became the second and third stations respectively in all of South Florida to offer newscasts in high definition behind NBC affiliate WPTV.
WFLX is the first station in the West Palm Beach market to air a prime time newscast at 10:00 p.m., and compete with CW affiliate WTVX, which aired their own 10:00 p.m. newscast (produced at the studios of its Salt Lake City sister station, KUTV, and including two locally based reporters) from August 4, 2008 until it was moved to 6:30 p.m. on March 2, 2009 (and was discontinued altogether three months later). Five years later, WPEC began airing a weeknight-only 10:00 p.m. newscast for that station.
It was announced on October 22, 2010 that the agreement with WPEC would end on December 31, 2010. On January 1, 2011, WPTV established a new partnership with WFLX and began producing the two-hour weekday morning show and nightly hour-long primetime newscast. These newscasts originate from a secondary set at WPTV's facilities on South Australian Avenue in downtown West Palm Beach (its mailing address actually says Banyan Boulevard, which is also known as 1st Street) and required the addition of more than a dozen new personnel. The new news agreement eventually led to WFLX's shared services agreement with WPTV later in 2011.
WPTV's agreement marked the first time that a Scripps station has produced such a newscast since a now-defunct arrangement between WXYZ-TV and WKBD-TV (which was then a UPN affiliate). An entire new format was introduced and the coverage is different. On Friday and Sunday nights at 10:45, there is a fifteen-minute sports highlight show called The Wayne Akers Ford Sports Zone (named after a local dealership). On September 19, 2011, WPTV added a half-hour weekday late afternoon newscast to WFLX known as Fox 29 News First at 4. With this addition, there is now 57 hours of local news each week provided by the two stations. This addition makes it the third Fox affiliate to broadcast newscast produced by another station in the same market to carry a late afternoon or early evening newscast, along with WSYM-TV in Lansing, Michigan and WQRF in Rockford, Illinois. Fox 29 News - First at 4 was canceled in Fall of 2014 as WPTV shifted production of the half-hour from WFLX to WPTV and the newscast (now an hour-long) became The Now South Florida, as all Scripps stations adapted The Now branding for their 4:00 p.m. newscasts.