WGBH enriches people’s lives through programs and services that educate, inspire, and entertain, fostering citizenship and culture the joy of learning, and the power of diverse perspectives.
WGBH Mission Statement
WGBH serves our local audiences through a rich mix of broadcast, Web, and mobile services; educational engagement; and performances, screenings, discussions, and events orchestrated in our own Brighton, Massachusetts studios and throughout our community.
WGBH operates 10 public television services: WGBH 2, WGBH 44, WGBH Kids, and Boston Kids & Family TV (a free educational service for Boston cable subscribers, in collaboration with the City of Boston); WGBH World and WGBH Create (localized iterations of the national multicast services that are WGBH collaborations); and four WGBY television services for viewers in Western Massachusetts.
WGBH operates three public radio services: 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, local NPR for the Cape, the Coast, and the Islands (90.1, 91.1, 94.3).
The Web services wgbh.org, wgby.org, and capeandislands.org offer streaming, podcasts, blogs, news updates, and a wide range of program resources. These WGBH services offer a mix of national fare and locally originated content designed to serve the specific needs and interests of New England-area viewers.
WGBH provides comprehensive news coverage to our community via TV, radio, the Web, and mobile. Our local newsroom of experienced journalists offers perspective and analysis across media, allowing WGBH to reach audiences in multiple ways and to take advantage of each platform’s unique storytelling abilities. Alongside PRI’s The World and The Takeaway (both WGBH co-productions), WGBH partnerships with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR), The GroundTruth Project, the tech sector news website Xconomy, and other key entities greatly expand our local news resources. Among the 2016 news events that benefited from this hyperlocal focus:
• 2016 Presidential Election coverage kicked off with a full week of reporting from Manchester, New Hampshire, where WGBH News constructed a remote newsroom and broadcast studio for radio and television. On Primary night, 89.7 WGBH provided complete coverage with reporters in the field and guests including New Hampshire native PJ O’Rourke, Arnie Arnesen, and David Brooks. In addition, WGBH News sent reporting and production teams to both major party conventions and provided coverage of the fall debates and election night returns.
• WGBH produced a five-part series on housing called Block by Block. Focusing on several different parts of the metropolitan area, the series examined disparities between neighborhoods including real estate values, connections to public transportation, access to jobs, and diversity.
• In partnership with The GroundTruth Project, WGBH reported throughout the year on the impact and decisions Boston faces in regards to climate change. The series, Rising Tides, explored approaches used around the world in coastal cities such as Florence and Amsterdam.
• WGBH News delivered significant coverage of the four Massachusetts ballot initiatives to radio, television and digital audiences. Particular resources were directed specifically toward the charter school question and the marijuana initiative, including sending a WGBH News reporter to Colorado for a week of comparative reporting.
• During the summer, in advance of the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, WGBH News sent reporter Arun Rath (shared with NPR) to Guantanamo Bay Cuba to cover the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the attacks.
WGBH’s Adam Reilly, Emily Rooney and Margery Eagan join Greater Boston Host Jim Braude at the New Hampshire Primary.
Photo: © WGBH
WGBH’s Arun Rath reporting from Guantanamo Bay.
Photo: © WGBH/Arun Rath
Rising Tides: Boston Underwater
Photo: © Lauren Owes
WGBH’s transmedia approach informed new efforts in 2016, including:
• WGBH continued its partnership with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, launching an extended investigation into the subject of “Trust.” Each program under the WGBH News umbrella maintains its distinctive voice and personality while contributing to our collective cross-platform efforts:
• 89.7 WGBH offers more than 30 hours every week of original local programming that brings our listeners a wide range of voices and opinions, including local editions of public radio mainstays Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
• Greater Boston, our signature weeknight news program, marked its 20th year of providing insight into the stories and newsmakers that matter to our local community.
• Boston Public Radio, our three-hour live midday radio program hosted by seasoned Boston journalists Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, provides a forum for interesting and lively discussions on the day’s news and issues. The show is a can’t miss destination for our region’s most influential policymakers, business leaders, and cultural mavens. Monthly one-hour, in-studio conversations with Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healy, and Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans offer citizens a regular opportunity to connect with local leaders about community issues.
• Emily Rooney and a media-savvy panel of journalists on WGBH television’s Beat the Press review the news of the week every Friday night, holding the media accountable for journalistic lapses and giving a shout out to local and national news coverage that gets it right.
• On Open Studio with Jared Bowen, Boston’s only full-time multimedia arts reporter pulls back the curtain on the creative process, with interviews and stories on area artists and arts organizations. Highlights of 2016 include the first televised conversation among the new leaders of Boston’s major art museums; visits to a historic downtown theater that was nearly lost to re-purposing; and interviews with Ben Vereen, Harry Belafonte, and producers of the innovative Urban Nutcracker. The series also covered the intersection of politics and art in this hyperpartisan election cycle, and the ICA’s 10th anniversary.
• The longest-running program on public television in New England focusing on the interests of people of color, Basic Black has been at the forefront of merging social media engagement and broadcast by incorporating a simultaneous Web stream and chat with live TV. Basic Black continues to be responsive to current events, providing a platform for local voices on national issues. Topics covered in 2016 included African-American wealth and opening accounts at black-owned banks inspired by #bankblack; diagnosing breast cancer in African-American and Latino women; Haitian relief and rebuilding efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Matthew; and Massachusetts ballot initiatives regarding charter schools and legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
• By getting into the minds of today’s great thinkers and researchers, WGBH Radio’s Innovation Hub gives listeners a glimpse of the future in everything from education, to relationships, to healthcare, and the economy. Innovation Hub currently airs on more than 75 stations around the country including New York, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, and Cleveland. Innovation Hub podcasts are downloaded more than 100,000 times each month.
• Under the Radar with Callie Crossley highlights material from alternative presses and community sources, calling attention to stories often overlooked by traditional media. “The show engages with local reporters, authors, playwrights, and food and wine critics to examine the small stories before they become the big headlines,” says award-winning journalist and host Callie Crossley (who also serves as a panelist for two other TV series, Beat the Press and Basic Black). Stories receiving in-depth coverage in 2016 included the presidential election, the local ballot questions, the gender wage gap in Boston, and urgent care among those on welfare.
Boston Public Radio Co-hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan with Diana Nyad.
Photo: © WGBH/Ellen London
Jared Bowen interviews actor, Steve Martin, for Open Studio with Jared Bowen.
Photo: © Amanda Kersey
Callie Crossley of Basic Black and Under the Radar with Callie Crossley
Photo: © WGBH/Anthony Tieuli
COVERING CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS
WCAI, a service of WGBH, gives listeners on Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the South Coast their own NPR station—one infused with a uniquely local sound and sense of place. A partnership with the Cape Cod Times and the area weekly papers enriches the station’s news reporting. The station serves the community with unique programs that feature local personalities and topics specific to the cape and island region:
• The Point with Mindy Todd provides lively and informative discussion each day for local residents.
• Our weekly Local News Roundup invites up to eight local journalists onto the airwaves each week for an hour-long discussion of the region’s top news stories.
• Living Lab is a weekly local science program hosted by Science Editor Heather Goldstone.
• Creative Life features local artists and personalities.
• Cape Cod Notebook features writer and Cape resident Robert Finch’s essays on nature.
• Poetry Sunday features a different local poet on the air each week.
• A partnership with the nonprofit group 20 Summers allows WCAI to record and air for listeners Cape-themed events hosted from the historic Hawthorne Art Barn in Provincetown.
Nature and Science
• Bird Report highlights bird sightings and seasonal information on breeding and migration.
• Pelagic Report features the work of researchers off shore.
• WCAI’s science/environmental Living Lab project provides a rich and deep on-air and online archive exploring the intersection of science and real life.
• In 2016, WCAI produced the five-part series Waste Goes Where? A Look at our Region’s Trash Troubles. Segments examined recycling’s hidden costs, illegal dumping, and the future of landfills. Another WCAI series looked at aging, death and dying on Cape Cod and featured segments on Nantucket’s loss of its only funeral home, hospice care, and living with a terminal illness.
• Local Food Report looks at the local food scene.
• The Fishing News looks at who is catching what and where.
• And for the quintessential Cape experience, WCAI broadcasts the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game for local fans each July.
99.5 WCRB is our region’s only 24/7 classical radio station. Of its 168 hours each week, 167 hours are programmed, produced, and hosted by WCRB staff in our WGBH studios. WCRB devotes more time than any other station in the country to broadcasts by local arts organizations, with more than 100 full-length broadcasts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, along with other concerts recorded and produced by WCRB of performances by the Handel and Haydn Society, the New England Conservatory, the Boston’s Children’s Chorus, Rockport Music, the Steinway Society Piano Competition, the Cantata Singers, The Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Baroque, A Far Cry, and many other local ensembles and presenters.
• WCRB added a weekly program called In Concert that captures the wealth of live music performed in and around Boston. Presented by rotating WCRB hosts, the series partners with many local musical organizations who assist in promoting the show.
• MassiveMuse at WCRB draws crowds of millennials to our studios for monthly music events designed to connect young classical musicians to local audiences.
• WCRB is the first public radio station with an online music channel devoted exclusively to classical music for children. ClassicalKids.org offers online puzzles, games, videos, and other resources.
• WCRB online offers listeners three classical streaming channels: BSO Concert, Boston Early Music, and Bach.
• The Answered Question, a weekly podcast, exposes WCRB listeners to a variety of music and the performers who make it come alive.
89.7 WGBH gets jazzy on the weekend, including nine hours with “the dean of the Boston jazz scene”: host, musicologist, and educator Eric Jackson. WGBH’s Live from Scullers partnership with a local jazz club brings the magic of live performances to Eric’s loyal fans.
89.7 WGBH reaches deep into this region’s sizable Celtic community (Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cape Breton, and more) with the weekly music program A Celtic Sojourn. Host Brian O’Donovan, born and raised in Clonakilty in West Cork, shares his love and deep knowledge of traditional and contemporary music from the Celtic countries and England. O’Donovan is also the host/master of ceremonies for some very popular events in the community; see “In the Community” for details.
99.5 WCRB/Massivemuse event in WGBH’s Brighton studios
Photo: © WGBH
Jazz with Eric in the Evening’s Eric Jackson
Photo: © WGBH
A Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Photo: © WGBH
EDUCATION AND EDUCATIONAL ENGAGEMENT
WGBH Education leverages our many award-winning brands and key strategic partners to bring educational content and engagement to students and educators, both inside and outside of the classroom, and to parents, librarians, and youth leaders throughout the communities we serve. Highlights from 2016 include:
• With funding from the Krueger Charitable Foundation, WGBH teamed up with the Massachusetts Campaign for Grade Level Reading to bring new books, engaging activities, and family celebrations to six target communities—Boston, Holyoke, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester—with the goal of helping more than 10,000 at-risk children become kindergarten ready. As part of the same grant, WGBH also provided every in-coming kindergarten student in Boston and Lawrence with a new picture book, more than 8,000 in all.
• WGBH’s High School Quiz Show showcases and rewards the academic achievements of local high school students who compete as teams, answering questions correlated to state curriculum guidelines in literature, history, science, math, current events, and general knowledge. The series is endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In Spring of 2016, after winning the state championship, Lexington High School went on to compete in the Massachusetts vs. New Hampshire Government Cup’s challenge. More than 800 high school students and coaches representing 120 public, private and parochial school teams registered for the Super Sunday Qualifying event, which marked the kick-off of Season 8.
• Some 180 members of the MA School Library Association came to a Digital Learning Day at WGBH in advance of the ALA Convention in Boston for a variety of workshops on WGBH-produced content.
• WGBH focused on parent engagement, especially for Boston’s most vulnerable families, with the support of a Ready to Learn grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As part of this Ready to Learn Community Collaborative grant, we partnered with Tech Goes Home, Boston Public Schools Adult Learning Center, and English for New Bostonians to host “Ready to Learn: Family Tech Day.” Attended by some 150 children and families, many of whom are new immigrants, the event featured a variety of fun digital games and apps for families to try out, hands-on learning activities, and visits from favorite characters, including Curious George, Peep, and Quack.
• With a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, WGBH hosted “The First 8 Years: A Public Media Hackathon,” a two-day event that brought together some 30 participants, including parents, librarians, preschool teachers, health professionals, designers, and developers to conceptualize and develop apps designed specifically to promote healthy child development. This first-of-its-kind experience gave parents and teachers a voice in the media and content creation used at home as well as in the classroom. Through this experience, attendees became more media literate, understood the in-depth process by which media-based materials are created, and were better equipped to discern the great from the not-so-great media content.
• To celebrate the official launch of Design Squad Global, an initiative that connects kids with their peers from around the world through collaborative engineering projects, WGBH partnered with various after-school programs in the Greater Boston area to host a hands-on engineering activity with kids for the first ever Global Day of the Engineer. Over 200 youth from YMCAs, a Science Club for Girls, and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Mentoring Program participated in Seismic Shake-Up, an engineering activity that challenges kids to design structures that can survive an earth-quake. The activity introduces engineering as a career field with global significance, one that has the capacity to impact the world and save lives.
• WGBH partnered with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to host a Sherlock takeover the week before the series premiered its 4th season on Masterpiece. Things kicked off with a live Facebook event featuring host Jared Bowen interviewing Masterpiece Executive Producer, Rebecca Eaton, and taking questions. Library patrons perused Arthur Conan Doyle books on display, took photos with life-sized character cut outs of Sherlock and Watson, and enjoyed Sherlock-themed refreshments at the BPL’s Newsfeed Café.
• WGBH’s partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) continues via our efforts to provide resources on PBS LearningMedia aligned to Massachusetts standards. More than 49% of Massachusetts educators are registered to use PBS LearningMedia, and 26,000 MA educators visit the site each month.
• WGBH is also a partner with DESE in its STEM Ambassadors program, which aims to support districts in developing implementation plans and illustrating curriculum and instruction resulting in student learning for the revised Massachusetts STE standards. The curriculum and instructional resources that WGBH has provided have served a dual purpose: to support the professional learning of the Ambassador community, and to be used by districts across the state in their own implementation and transition efforts.
• WGBH served as media partner for two important state STEM events: Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s TouchTomorrow Science Festival in June, and the Massachusetts STEM Summit in October. At both events WGBH enjoyed a prominent presence with large exhibit spaces and, at TouchTomorrow, hands-on exhibits for all ages were tied to continuous screenings of WGBH-produced STEM resources in an adjacent small theater. Two PEEP and the Big Wide World stage shows engaged the youngest attendees. At the Massachusetts STEM Summit, exhibits featured WGBH STEM brands for all learners. In addition to the exhibits, we partnered with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to present a special panel on the new science standards for Massachusetts, and the impact those standards could have on curriculum and teaching practice. The two gatherings allowed us to share WGBH science content and brands with a total of 5,400 young children, students, parents, teachers, educators, policy makers, curriculum developers, and STEM-education advocates from across our state.
• WGBH also supported and presented at a strong list of local educator-facing conferences and events over the school year, including: MassCUE, Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers, Massachusetts Elementary School Principal’s Association, and the Massachusetts Reading Association. At the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference, which was held in Boston, WGBH held a special promotional event for Massachusetts teachers. And partnering with the DESE or other content experts, WGBH participated in six teacher training events.
• WGBH worked with MA educators representing the state as digital innovators for PBS LearningMedia. Educators attended a professional development session and focus group at WGBH to inform WGBH Education staff about the needs of K-12 educators across the grade ranges and content areas.
• Massachusetts educators served as Teacher Advisors for year 1 of the WGBH Earth and Space Science project developed in collaboration with NASA. MA educators reviewed all digital learning resources and prototypes developed as part of the year 1 work.
|Team members confer on High School Quiz Show. Photo: © WGBH||Home page for WGBH’s Design Squad Global||Photo: © NASA/JPL|
IN OUR STUDIO
A 30- by 45-foot LED screen alongside WGBH’s studios signals the spirit and content of public media for some half-million passersby each week, with one theme a day showcased through slow-moving images or animation. This “digital mural” also mirrors the vibrancy of our region: images reflecting events and issues in our community are displayed on the LED, drawing attention to the cultural richness of the Boston and New England areas and to what’s on the minds of those in the neighborhoods we serve.
Nearly 83,000 visitors came through our doors or attended WGBH- sponsored events in our community in 2016. A representative sampling:
• The thriving culture of community singing in New England was showcased in the second season of Sing That Thing! Amateur singing groups from 42 New England cities came together in the WGBH Studios for a friendly competition that celebrates the joy of people singing together in harmony. More than 650 diverse singers of all ages represented high schools, colleges, and adult groups from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. More than 500 audience members enjoyed the experience of a live studio taping. The production team of 40 Massachusetts television professionals were joined by Emerson College students enrolled in a Media Arts intensive. Whether they worked in front or behind of the cameras or sat in the audience cheering their neighbors on, all involved in Sing That Thing! participated in a high- quality production that promotes team-oriented excellence and great storytelling through music.
• In February 2016, nearly 200 people came to WGBH for a screening of selections from the landmark civil right series Eyes on the Prize, as well as Eyes on the Prize: Then and Now, a new special examining the series’ impact today. Chris Hastings, executive producer for WGBH’s WORLD Channel, co-hosted the event with General Manager of Television Liz Cheng. In addition, Philip Martin, senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, moderated a discussion with Eyes on the Prize’s Associate Producer and Education Director Judy Richardson as well as Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at MIT Melissa Nobles, who discussed the evolution of civil rights in the U.S. over the past several decades.
• In May 2016, nearly 270 guests attended a standing-room only event in WGBH’s Yawkey Theater in recognition of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Hosted by WGBH General Manager of Television Liz Cheng, the event featured excerpts from an upcoming American Experience episode about the Chinese Exclusion Act and clips from local filmmaker Kenneth Eng’s documentary My Life in China. A robust panel discussion followed with Eng; Jit Saxena, founder, chairman and CEO of Netezza; Dr. Heidi Yeh, surgical director, Pediatric Transplants at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Li-Shin Yu, editor of The Chinese Exclusion Act. The panelists shared advice and insight into how they had achieved high levels of success in their respective professions.
• 200 guests gathered for a tea party and to preview the Downton Abbey series finale on Yawkey Theater’s big screen before it aired on television that evening.
• 200 guests including executive producer Mark Samels, author Daniel James Brown and filmmaker Margaret Grossi gathered for a sneak peak of The Boys of ’36, a documentary film inspired by the New York times-bestselling book, The Boys in the Boat. A reception followed.
• In 2016, WGBH expanded its reach in the community by offering Facebook Live streaming opportunities in conjunction with content presented in our Yawkey Theater. Live streaming allowed us to welcome remote audiences into the conversation. Wide-ranging topics offered via live streaming in 2016 included panel discussions with local experts around WTTW’s film 10 Parks that Changed America, Nova’s Operation Lighthouse Rescue, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s Black America since MLK.
WGBH’s digital mural pays tribute to a treasured Boston tradition: the annual opening of the Swan Boats in the Public Garden.
Photo: © WGBH
Sing That Thing! contestants in action.
Photo: © WGBH
US Olympic rower, Gevvie Stone and her father, Gregg, at The Boys of ‘36 event at WGBH Studios.
Photo: © Elizabeth Friar
IN OUR COMMUNITY
Ongoing events in the communities we serve allow WGBH to connect directly with our diverse audience. WGBH personalities frequently serve as presenters, emcees, and judges at local events sponsored by such organizations as the Japanese-American Cultural Foundation, Boston Baroque, the Tanglewood Music Center, Rockport Music, New England Conservatory, Masterworks Chorale, the Boston Pops, Discovery Ensemble, the Cantata Singers, the First Lutheran Church, Boston Cecilia Society, the Boston Civic Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, the All Newton Music School, and the Celebrity Series of Boston. 99.5 WCRB is a media sponsor of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and WCRB announcers introduce its free summertime concerts. Selected 2016 community events include:
• On September 30, 2016, WGBH opened a satellite studio at the Boston Public Library (BPL) in Copley Square. Our state-of-the-art TV and radio facility is in the newly renovated Johnson wing. The 1,000 square-foot-space serves as a central location for interviews with local and visiting newsmakers, live broadcasts, and recorded segments for 89.7, as well as other WGBH News and local productions. The studio is also an innovative vehicle for greater community engagement including the following:
• On Fridays and other select weekdays, Boston Public Radio broadcasts from the BPL studio as customers at the adjacent Newsfeed Café relax, listen and engage with the show hosts. Listeners can ask questions on-site, or call in from remote locations. The Mayor of Boston, Commissioner of Boston Police and Attorney General of Massachusetts also visit the studio regularly.
• Hear at the Library invites BPL guests to stop by the WGBH satellite studio and share their thoughts about topics in the news. For example, in conjunction with Donald Trump’s inauguration, WGBH solicited people’s ideas about leadership and shared their thoughts on the radio and on our website. A similar series, Listen Up, engages audiences by sparking intimate, engaging in-studio conversations with listeners around specific themes, such as “home,” “transition,” and “fear.”
• WGBH News has executed nearly a dozen Facebook Live events at the satellite studio, including one with Rebecca Eaton of Sherlock that garnered 55K views, and others on such topics as protests, travel, legal issues and science.
• As part of the opening of our Boston Public Library satellite studio in 2016, WGBH hosted a family-friendly event at the Library honoring the 20th anniversary of the animated series Arthur on television. We invited children to meet and take photos with the characters from the Arthur series as well as sign a huge anniversary card.
• First Look Film Series - As the nation’s preeminent producers of documentary films for public television, WGBH presented First Look, premiere showings of three major, thought-provoking documentaries, produced right here in Boston. In collaboration with The Boston Globe’s Hub Week, First Look gave the local audience the chance to experience these great films free of charge, up close, right here in their own community. More than 750 people attended the films throughout the three-day event.
• A Christmas Celtic and St. Patrick Day Sojourn concerts – 89.7 WGBH host Brian O’Donovan has created two beloved annual traditions, more popular than ever in their second decade, by bringing the best musicians, singers, and dancers from around the Celtic world to stages across New England. In 2016, these performances drew nearly 20,000 guests with 22 shows in five cities.
• Peep and the Big Wide World again partnered with Worcester’s EcoTarium Museum to run back-to-back Peep events for over 160 preschoolers during April vacation.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at WGBH’s Boston Public Library studio for his monthly call-in segment on Boston Public Radio.
Photo: © WGBH/Meredith Nierman
Arthur celebrated his 20th Anniversary with friends at WGBH’s Boston Pubic Library studio.
Photo: © WGBH/Meredith Nierman
Filming of Hear at the Library at WGBH's Boston Public Library Studio.
Photo: © WGBH