|Branding||'GBH 2 (general)
WGBH Boston (national productions)
|Slogan||Produced in Boston, Shared with the World|
|Channels||Digital: 19 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
|Subchannels||2.1 PBS HD
2.2 PBS SD
|Owner||WGBH Educational Foundation|
|'First air date||May 2, 1955|
|Call letters’ meaning||Great Blue Hill — see below|
|Sister station(s)||WGBH, WGBX-TV, WCAI, WNAN, WCRB|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
2 (VHF, 1955-2009)
|Former affiliations||NET (1955-1970)|
|Transmitter Power||700 kW|
WGBH is a non-commercial television and radio broadcast service located in Boston, Massachusetts. WGBH is a member station of the Public Broadcasting Service, and has produced many programs for the network, including nearly a third of PBS's national primetime programming. Programs produced for PBS include NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, The Victory Garden and This Old House. WGBH is also well-known for having co-produced numerous period dramas and has collaborated for years with British production companies.
WGBH operates several radio and television stations in Boston and the surrounding area, including sister stations WGBX-TV (Boston) and WGBY (Springfield), and the radio stations WGBH, WCAI, WZAI, WNAN, and WCRB.
WGBH is also considered a leader in accessible media services for people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH invented television closed captioning, audio description (Descriptive Video Service), and created the Rear Window Captioning System for films; they provide these access services to commercial and public TV producers, and to home video, Web sites, and movie theaters nationwide.
WGBH Educational Foundation received its first broadcasting license (for radio) in 1951 under the auspices of the Lowell Institute Cooperative Broadcasting Council, a consortium of local universities and cultural institutions, whose collaboration stems from an 1836 bequest by textile manufacturer John Lowell, Jr. calling for free public lectures for the citizens of Boston.
WGBH Radio Boston signed on at 89.7 MHz FM on October 6, 1951, with a live broadcast of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The original construction permit for Channel 2 in Boston went to Raytheon, an electronics company based in neighboring Waltham, Massachusetts, who would have launched a commercial television station under the call letters WRTB-TV (for Raytheon Television Broadcasting). WRTB never made it on the air, opening the way for the FCC to allocate Channel 2 for noncommercial purposes and for WGBH to receive a license to operate on that channel.
WGBH-TV Channel 2 went on the air on May 2, 1955, at 5:20 p.m. with studios located at 84 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. When a fire  destroyed the studios in the early morning hours of October 14, 1961, WGBH-TV Channel 2 and WGBH 89.7 FM signed-on from the studios of other broadcasting stations until they were able to build their new studios located at 125 Western Avenue in Allston, and sign on there on August 29, 1963. WGBH moved to a new studio complex on Guest Street in Brighton in June 2007.
WGBH was New England's first non-commercial television station and a pioneer in what is now known as Public Television. Many programs seen on National Educational Television and later, the Public Broadcasting Service, originated at the facilities of WGBH or were otherwise produced by the station.
Today WGBH is known around the U.S. as PBS's flagship station due to its great production for PBS primetime programming and PBS Kids programming.
As of November 8,2009, WGBH is now running on cable TV with the following cable services. They are: RCN (Channels 2,602,14,94,95, and 93. (Channel 3 for Boston area ONLY) Comcast (Channels 2,802,16,209,237,217,and 22. (Channel 22 for Boston area ONLY) Verizon Fios (Channels 2,502,44,473,474,and 472.
"GBH" stands for Great Blue Hill, the location of WGBH's FM transmitter, as well as the original location of WGBH-TV's transmitter. Great Blue Hill in Milton, Massachusetts, has an elevation of 635 feet (193 m) and is the highest point in the Boston area. Today, WGBH-TV's and WGBX-TV's transmitters are located at the CBS digital television facility in Needham, Massachusetts, where channel 44 originally signed on September 25, 1967; channel 2 moved there on June 18, 1966. WGBX-TV's digital service on channel 43 shares the master antenna at the very top of the tower with the commercial stations. Analog channel 44 has a separate antenna lower down that is shared with WGBH-DT on channel 19.
WGBH operates a Shaw Broadcast Services satellite uplink facility which provides Boston broadcast television stations to Canadian cable and satellite TV distributors. As a Canadian company, Shaw is not legally entitled to operate an uplink facility in the United States. Hence, it pays WGBH to perform this service on its behalf. This facility is also located at the CBS (WBZ-TV) tower in Needham.
WGBH's original studios were located at 84 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts (presently Stratton Student Center) on the campus of MIT until the building burned down in a 1961 fire. Three years later, after being based in temporary offices and using the studios of Boston's commercial television stations to produce local programming, the station moved to 125 Western Avenue in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. The ZIP code of the station and its post-office box—PO Box 350, Boston, MA 02134—was made famous in a recurring jingle on its 1970s and late 1990s children's program, ZOOM.
As WGBH's operations grew, the 125 Western Avenue building proved inadequate; some administrative operations were moved across the street to 114 Western Avenue, with an overhead pedestrian bridge connecting the two buildings. By 2005, WGBH had facilities in more than a dozen buildings in the Allston area. The station's need for more studio space dovetailed with Harvard Business School's desire to expand its adjacent campus; Harvard already owned the land on which the WGBH studios were located. WGBH built a new studio complex, designed by James Polshek & Partners, in nearby Brighton, spanning the block of Market Street from Guest Street to North Beacon Street, with radio studios facing pedestrian traffic on Market Street. The postal address and lobby entrance of the new studio building is 1 Guest Street; it was inaugurated in June 2007. Television shows and radio programs continued to shoot at the Western Avenue studios until migration to the new facility reached completion in September 2007. The old Western Avenue studios are currently empty  except for a substation of the Harvard University police department which moved in in June 2008.
WGBH's original transmitter was located on Great Blue Hill in Milton, Massachusetts (thus the choice of WGBH as a callsign) and the FM radio transmitter is still there. As a result, all of WGBH's TV stations have the WGB* form; channel 44 in Boston has WGBX, while channel 57 in Springfield, Massachusetts has WGBY. There was to be a WGBW in Adams, Massachusetts at one point that would have operated on channel 35; its W was to stand for West. The callsign has since been reassigned to a radio station in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
WGBH's callsign is occasionally jokingly expanded as "God Bless Harvard", although the station's connections with the university are at best indirect. (Harvard was one of several Boston-area universities which took part in the Lowell Institute Cooperative Broadcasting Council, and provided land on Western Avenue in Allston for the station's studios.)
WGBH's distinctive and well-recognized audio sounder has been aired for almost 40, accompanied by different animating graphics. The first such logo appeared in 1972 and can be found on the first episode of ZOOM. The seven-second jingle begins with a blue background, with the letters "WGBH" in a yellow Helvetica font quickly zooming away from the viewer. Then, the word "Boston" quickly zooms forward (similar in motion and gradual enlargement to the V symbol in Viacom's 1976 to 1985 identification, nicknamed the V of Doom), engulfing the whole screen and creating a yellow background, after which the word "Presents" zooms forward at a fast pace in blue. This ident is generally believed to be extinct, but it has surfaced on tapes of old WGBH programming (such as the 1972 version of ZOOM, The French Chef, and 1974-1978 NOVA episodes) and in video clips. A black and white version appeared in 1974. In this version, "WGBH" and "Boston" are in black while "Presents" is in white.
The music is also used in the current ID. The "circle outline" ident, featuring two little lights forming the WGBH logo in orange began in late 1977 at the beginning of WGBH's national shows. Its jagged electronic tune and dark neon lighting had been reported to have frightened younger viewers, (indeed, many people who viewed this logo as children recollect how they feared it)  and in wake of this, was shortened to just the latter part of the animation in 1986, and eventually to the end of shows in 1993, when the sound effect was shortened to conform to PBS's desire for shorter station ID's. It is also edited out on some shows with a program's closing credits music playing over the WGBH Boston production card, such as on Arthur and Between the Lions.
The full seven-second music appears in the "neon" station IDs on WGBH itself, along with different animation for the outline logo; one version features the 1978-style version flashing out to reveal the PBS logo, while the other features the outline done at first from the point of view of the tracing line, then zooming out to reveal the 'WGBH' logo rendered as a neon sign with the matching numeral 2 illuminating in white from behind.
Many programs produced today have a voiceover stating, "Produced in Boston...shared with the world."
This is the main television service of WGBH, as it is the television station first licenced by the Foundation. (This is Comcast Channel 2 and in HD Channel 702/802.) It broadcasts mixed programming during the week with children's programs during the day and documentary and entertainment material at night; Saturday programming focuses heavily on cooking and home improvement how-to shows.
Similar to WQED-TV in Pittsburgh, WGBH operates a secondary station, WGBX-TV. The current tagline for this station is "independent, original, 'GBX 44". WGBX-TV focuses on program genres not covered by WGBH-TV. Reruns of the previous night's programming either from WGBH-TV or from WGBX-TV itself also makes up a part of the station's programming. WGBX's digital channel provides several digital side channels that rerun programming from both WGBH and from other PBS stations around the country.
WGBH also owns and manages WGBY, the PBS affiliate in the Springfield, Massachusetts market; it however has its own branding and logo and is run separately from the Boston operation. Its digital channel carries similar programming to WGBX.
The internet is WGBH's "third platform" - All radio and television programs have web components that are available at wgbh.org. There are also "web-only" productions:
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
Formerly WGBH HD showed a separate slate of programming from the analog channel to showcase PBS's high definition content; however, in 2008 it switched to a high-definition simulcast of the analog channel, with standard-definition programming presented in windowbox or letterbox format.
For the time being, WGBH is keeping the Channel 2 branding and virtual channel number, even though the actual broadcast channel being used for the digital signals is 19 (UHF). After the June 12 2009 transition, the channel 2 analog signal was switched to showing a repeating loop of digital TV information, at lower power. Eventually the channel 2 frequency will be available for other uses.