The latest station to leave PBS is a production powerhouse, but one not fully integrated into the nation’s English-dominated public TV system. Puerto Rico TV — WIPR, licensed to Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corp., which is controlled by the commonwealth government — dropped its PBS membership July 1. The station in San Juan sometimes produces up to nine hours of content a day, including public affairs, culture, sports, music, talk and food shows, as well as the island’s only 24/7 news channel, all in Spanish. It aired only the children’s shows from the PBS lineup, including the limited number with a Spanish SAP (secondary audio program) soundtrack. The station wanted Spanish versions of the rest of the PBS Kids shows.
Puerto Rico’s government-controlled WIPR dropped its PBS membership on July 1 — the fourth member station to quit this year. Puerto Rico TV, which produces and broadcasts mostly in Spanish, carried only the English versions of PBS Kids programs. A separate station — Sistema TV (WMTJ), licensed to the private Ana G. Méndez University System — carries a selection of general audience PBS programs.
PBS lost WIPR fees amounting to $713,000 a year. The network earlier lost KCET in Los Angeles on Jan. 1 and two Florida stations as of July 1: Orlando’s WMFE-TV, and Daytona’s WDSC-TV, which shared their service area with a third station, which continues as a PBS outlet. Pedro Rua, WIPR’s executive v.p., said WIPR and PBS negotiated for about a year but could not reach an agreement that would retain the station as a member.