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.
AG Maura Healey with Boston Public Radio's Margery Eagan. Meredith Nierman/WGBH
Jared Bowen of Open Studio interviews Frank Stella. Rory Sheil/Open Studio
Callie Crossley of Basic Black & Under the Radar with Callie Crossley. Ellen London/WGBH
WGBH and GroundTruth Project’s Crossing the Divide fellows. Ellen London/WGBH
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, and other key entities greatly expand our local news resources.
WGBH’s transmedia approach informed all of its local programming in 2017, including:
- 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. With our expanded newsroom, and the addition of veteran news anchor Joe Mathieu to our local Morning Edition, as well as award-winning reporter Barbara Howard anchoring our local All Things Considered, WGBH is in a better position than ever to bring listeners comprehensive local news coverage.
- Boston Public Radio, our three-hour live midday radio program, hosted by seasoned Boston journalists Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, provides interesting and lively discussions on the day’s news and issues. The show regularly hosts our region’s most influential policymakers, business leaders, and cultural mavens. Monthly one-hour, in-studio conversations with Governor Charles Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans offer citizens a regular opportunity to connect with their elected officials about community issues.
- Greater Boston, our signature weeknight news program, continues to provide insight into the stories and newsmakers that matter to our local community.
- The WGBH studio at the Boston Public Library, which features twice weekly tapings of Boston Public Radio as well as other WGBH broadcasts, is a welcoming community space right in the heart the city. The studio provides local citizens with open access to trusted information and educational content to promote civic engagement.
- 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.
- 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 emerging social media engagement and broadcast by incorporating a simultaneous Web stream and discussion with live TV. Basic Black continues to be responsive to current events, providing a platform for local voices on national issues. Topics covered in 2017 included racism and sports in the wake of social and political activism by professional players; minority ownership in marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts; Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; and sexual harassment beyond Hollywood and in communities of color.
- 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 2017 include the first-ever interview with the new leaders of Boston’s major art museums; a profile of the City of Lynn’s efforts to reinvent itself with street art; and interviews with famed artist Frank Stella, ballerina Misty Copeland and Tony-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr. The program also introduced a recurring series of in-studio performances, which kicked off with Grammy-winning songwriter Lori McKenna. And it won an Edward R. Murrow award for its story on photographer Elsa Dorfman.
- 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 90 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 the TV series Beat the Press and the host of TV series Basic Black.)
Stories and topics receiving in-depth coverage in 2017 included an overview and explanation of intersectional feminism after the Boston Women’s March; the impact Millennials are having on the economy and the overall future of the City of Boston, featuring the voices of local young professionals; interviews with up-and-coming local artists on display for the first time at Boston museums; and discussions of how local experts and business owners are changing and developing the culinary scene of Dorchester, Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood.
Local News Events and Initiatives
In addition to our regular programming, a number of special news events and reporting initiatives benefited from our hyperlocal focus in 2017:
- WGBH News hosted a televised debate between Boston mayoral candidates City Councilor Tito Jackson and Mayor Martin J. Walsh in front of a live audience at the WGBH Studios in Brighton. Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan moderated the debate, which was broadcast live on 89.7. A large, diverse audience of Boston residents attended the one-hour exchange, which covered many issues—including housing, diversity and economic development—ahead of the November 7, 2017 mayoral election.
- WGBH produced The Gangs of Nantucket, a four-part series on the little-known presence of the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs on Nantucket. Investigative reporter Phillip Martin spent seven months researching and reporting the story, for which he interviewed key Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, Nantucket residents, police, the ACLU, Salvadorans, the sheriff of Bristol County, immigration lawyers and others. Immigration officials in Massachusetts have arrested dozens of MS-13 and rival 18th Street gang members and deported them to El Salvador.
- In April, WGBH News opened its newest bureau in Dorchester, giving reporters easy access to Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood, and offering a unique vantage point for local news. WGBH reporters in the Dorchester bureau will focus on stories about health care, housing, and business, reporting on the issues and analyzing the challenges that are important to communities undergoing major social and economic change.
- Breaking the Mold: The Story of Bobbi Gibb, produced by WGBH Digital in partnership with WGBH News, was recognized as a Webby Award Honoree. The video was one of 27 videos produced as part of the newsroom’s coverage of the 2016 Boston Marathon.
- This summer Joe Mathieu, former WBZ-AM morning anchor, took over as the anchor of Morning Edition, WGBH’s weekday radio program that offers a combination of local journalism and NPR’s national reporting. Beginning in 2018, WGBH is adding Early Edition with Joe Mathieu—a ten-minute show that airs at 4:50 am. Early Edition will serve up important local information such as traffic, transit and weather, as well as a preview of WGBH news stories in the works.
- WGBH journalists win awards for their coverage of local news. On May 14, the Old South Church in Boston presented Callie Crossley, host of WGBH’s Under the Radar, with the Open Door Award. May 14 is Phillis Wheatley Sunday, an annual celebration of the first published African American poet, who opened doors for persons of color and enslaved persons. WGBH News won a Murrow award in the Continuing Coverage category, for reports on a 10-alarm fire in East Cambridge, featuring stories by reporters Craig LeMoult, Phillip Martin and Tina Martin. WGBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen garnered a Murrow Award in the Feature Reporting category for his behind-the-scenes Open Studio profile of Cambridge-based portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman.
- WGBH and The GroundTruth Project collaborated to send a team of five recent graduates from public universities on a cross country reporting road trip as part of a new fellowship called Crossing the Divide. The fellowship aims to cultivate media literacy and civic engagement among these journalists by focusing on high-quality reporting during a time of deep social, political and economic divisions. The young journalists embarked on the three-month reporting trip from late August through mid-November, traveling from Massachusetts through Kentucky, along the Mississippi River to Minnesota and on to Montana before finishing their trip on the northern coast of California.
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’s 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 discussions 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.
- In 2017, WCAI produced a five-part news series, The Changing Face of Aging: Challenges and Opportunities. Cape Cod is home to twice the national average of people 65 and older. This has impacts for the region in almost every sector of a community: in the economy, the workforce, health care, and family structures. There are ways in which this demographic fact poses a challenge to the region—but equally, it’s a source of opportunity. The series examined how ideas about aging beyond 65 are changing, and how, thanks to advances in medicine and technology, the reality of aging is changing, too. Exploring this transformation, segments looked at employment, social connection, “aging in place,” and the impact of the opioid epidemic.
- Living Lab is a weekly local science program hosted by Science Editor Heather Goldstone.
- Local Food Report looks at the local food scene.
- The Fishing News looks at who is catching what and where.
- Ways of Life is a collection of stories about the people who live down the street—our neighbors: Fishermen, scientists, craftspeople, recovering addicts, surgeons, dog rescuers, motorcycle gang members, nursing home residents, musicians, homeless people, kid athletes, social activists, and all the others who share this place. Each portrait becomes part of the surprising, interwoven tapestry of our lives together here on the Cape, coast and islands.
- 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.
And for the quintessential Cape experience, WCAI broadcasts the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game for local fans each July.
WCRB host Ron Della Chiesa with Alexander Bernstein on the 2017 BSO opening night. Meredith Nierman/WGBH
WGBH’s Eric Jackson interviews Dee Dee Bridgewater at Live from Scullers. Tessil Collins/WGBH
Brian O’Donovan receives the Mayor's proclamation of a day in his honor. Meredith Nierman/WGBH
99.5 WCRB is our region’s only 24/7 classical radio station. Of its 168 hours each week, 167 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 airs In Concert, a weekly program 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 that assist in promoting the show.
- 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.
WGBH’s celebrated Jazz music program, Eric in the Evening, is broadcast Friday through Sunday evenings from 9pm-midnight. The program is hosted by the “Dean of Boston’s Jazz Scene,” musicologist and educator Eric Jackson who commemorates over 40 years on-air this year. WGBH received two Station of the Year awards from JazzWeek magazine recognizing our broadcast and online Jazz music productions in 2017.
Jazz 24/7 is WGBH digital’s online music station featuring the best in classic and contemporary jazz, as well as in-depth looks at great artists, live interviews and performances from the WGBH studios. Available daily online with registration and on 89.7 WGBH weekends at midnight, Eric Jackson’s Playlist starts the day, alternating with The Jazz Gallery with Tessil Collins throughout the day.
Our dedication to making jazz available in our community includes programs such as WGBH’s Live from Scullers. This partnership with the region’s famous local jazz club brings the magic of live performances to our audience of jazz fans. We continue to support the region’s jazz music programs, concerts and conversations through relationships like those with Harvard University’s Office of the Arts, Cambridge Jazz Festival and Berklee College of Music.
Celtic 89.7 WGBH reaches deep into this region’s sizable Celtic and folk communities with the weekly music program A Celtic Sojourn. Host Brian O’Donovan, born and raised in West Cork, celebrates his passion for traditional and contemporary music from the around Celtic world—what he calls the Roots and Branches of Celtic music. He is also the host and producer for some of the station’s most popular live music events like the yearly Christmas Celtic Sojourn and St. Patrick’s Day series which drew a combined audience of over 20,000 in five cities around New England. O’Donovan also hosts a weekly, intimate, traditional music series in Davis Square in Somerville.
Boston Mayor Martin. J. Walsh’s office declared December 14, 2017, “Brian O’Donovan Day” in the City of Boston. Mayor Walsh issued the proclamation in honor of O’Donovan’s significant contributions to immigrant communities in the Greater Boston area through his support of the Irish International Immigrant Center and other organizations.
Parents and children participate in a ScratchJr coding workshop. Anna Fort/WGBH
Group discussions with Boston public school students following a screening of The Vietnam War. Meredith Nierman/WGBH
Contestants in Season 8 of High School Quiz Show with host Billy Costa. Elizabeth Friar/WGBH
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 2017 include:
- With the support of a Ready to Learn grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, WGBH continued to partner with Tech Goes Home, English for New Bostonians, and the Boston Public School Adult Learning Center to implement PBS KIDS ScratchJr workshops with families who recently immigrated to the United States. Coding with ScratchJr is a powerful tool, and one that is quite accessible for English language learners because it is based on symbols. Parents don’t have to be fluent in English in order to understand how to use the app or create a meaningful project with their children.
- With funding from the Krueger Charitable Foundation, WGBH teamed up with the Boston Public Library’s summer reading initiative and the Boston Basics parenting campaign to put the brakes on the “summer slide” by providing new books for vulnerable children to select, take home, and share with their families. Books were distributed along with selected family activities from our most popular kids’ series, including Arthur, PEEP and the Big Wide World, Plum Landing, and Ruff Ruffman. As part of the same grant, WGBH also provided every incoming kindergarten student in Boston, Lawrence and Worcester with a new picture book. In total, WGBH and our partners purchased and distributed more than 15,000 books and family activities for children and families to own and enjoy.
- WGBH Education hosted over 100 Boston public high school students and their teachers for a special screening of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary, The Vietnam War. With funding from Bank of America, this event allowed WGBH to not only introduce students to award-winning documentaries, but also to help them connect with the content by amplifying the local perspective through panel discussions with members of our community. Following the screening, teachers led students in small group discussions, followed by a panel discussion and student Q&A led by WGBH News Reporter Tina Martin and featuring two Marine veterans who appear in the documentary and a first generation Ameriasian woman who now serves as Vietnamese community liaison in Dorchester to the Boston Police Department.
- With support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, we convened the WGBH EdForum: Supporting and Engaging Students in the Middle Grades, at the WGBH studios. A dynamic mix of 180 academic researchers, practitioners, innovators, and other stakeholders gathered to present and discuss compelling, thought-provoking information, models, and impactful stories related to adult engagement in the adolescent years, with the goal of engaging public media professionals with this issue. Facebook live events, a video stream of the day’s presentation, and a supporting web site with archived and additional information have reached more than 4,100 people to date.
- Over the past year, WGBH Education worked with partners such as BoSTEM, Boston area Girls STEM Collaborative, Citizen Schools, and TechSaavy to host close to a dozen Design Squad Global events and training presentations reaching more than 250 informal educators, home schoolers, and youth in eastern Massachusetts.
- With funding from Bank of America, WGBH Education hosted a special “careers in media” themed field trip for some 60 seventh graders and teachers from the Jackson/Mann K-8 public school, offering a behind-the-scenes look at our workplace and a range of public media careers.
- WGBH celebrated Season 8 of High School Quiz Show, our award-winning single-elimination academic team competition for high school students in Massachusetts. Endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts PTA, High School Quiz Show 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. More than 700 high school students and coaches representing more than 100 public, private and parochial school teams registered for the Super Sunday qualifying event, which marked the kick-off of Season 9.
- WGBH was media partner and presenter for two major STEM events, Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s TouchTomorrow Science Festival, attended by 10,000 people, and the Massachusetts STEM Summit, attended by over 4,000. As partners at these events we presented WGBH-produced STEM resources and hands-on activities to children and their parents and teachers.
- WGBH presented and exhibited at four state conferences: NERC (Northeast Regional Council on the Social Studies), MAST (Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers), MSLA (Massachusetts School Librarians Association), and MassCUE (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators), reaching more than 4,000 educators with in-person and in-booth presentations about WGBH-produced resources and programs.
- WGBH held 10 in-person and virtual educator trainings, in collaboration with various partners and touching on a broad range of WGBH-produced resources. Two webinars in collaboration with MAST on incorporating the design process with science instruction reached over 400 educators. An event with sister station WGBY and the Pioneer Valley Teachers of Excellence focused on PBS LearningMedia and had 75 educator attendees. A webinar on new engineering standards, co-presented with a Massachusetts educator, touched some 420 educators. A social/emotional learning in the school library webinar, held in collaboration with the MSLA, reached more than 700 educators. A webinar on supporting project-based learning with digital resources, featuring the PBS Massachusetts Digital Innovator for 2017, reached over 850 educators. Finally, we held four in-person trainings about PBS LearningMedia and its resources, reaching more than 100 teachers.
Panel discussion after screening of The Vietnam War. Meredith Nierman/WGBH
Boston Children’s Chorus in WGBH’s Boston Holidays! Celebrating with Music. Meredith Nierman/WGBH
Strawberry Fields from Connecticut competes in Sing That Thing! Patricia Alvarado/WGBH
Sidney Gish performs at Live at Fraser. Front Row Boston
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 130,000 visitors came through our doors or attended WGBH sponsored events in our community in 2017. A representative sampling:
- In January 2017 we presented a screening event of Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, before its national broadcast debut on PBS. The event included an 80-minute presentation in our Yawkey Theater, with 30 minutes of selected segments from the one-hour film, plus an in-depth panel discussion with the film’s Executive Producer Gerry Richman, Mass General Hospital neuroscientist Dr. Rudy Tanzi, and journalist/author Greg O’Brien and his wife Mary Catherine. After the panel discussion we held a 20-minute audience Q & A with the panelists and simultaneously hosted a Facebook live centered around the panel discussion and the audience Q & A. Community partners including the local MA/NH chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia Friendly MA, and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
- In March 2017, almost 250 people attended a screening and panel discussion of NOVA’s film, Holocaust Escape Tunnel, held in our Yawkey Theater and broadcast to the public via Facebook live. The panel discussion included Paula S. Apsell, senior executive producer for NOVA and co-director of this documentary; Sam Bak, Holocaust survivor from Vilna, and world-class artist; Richard Freund, Ph.D., director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, and Greenberg Professor of Jewish History at the University of Hartford; Dr. Michael Goode, family physician, author, and child of two Holocaust survivors from Vilna; Melanie Wallace, senior series producer for NOVA; and Kirk Wolfinger, producer and co-director of Holocaust Escape Tunnel.
- A May 2017 event showcased the programming across our television channels dedicated to celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. More than 150 people attended the screening of clips from upcoming programming in our Yawkey Theater, which was followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr. Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College; Brian Chu, special general partner at Cue Ball and senior advisor at HighVista Strategies; Nam Pham, assistant secretary of business development and international trade for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and Liz Cheng, WGBH general manager for television and the event moderator.
- In September 2017 WGBH welcomed nearly 900 guests from the greater Boston community to a free public screening event for The Vietnam War, a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series. The event, which took place in downtown Boston, included an hour-long screening of clips from the film followed by an in-depth discussion with filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and Vietnam veteran and former Massachusetts educator Roger F. Harris. The panel was moderated by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, co-hosts on 89.7 WGBH’s Boston Public Radio.
- In December 2017 we held our first-annual Boston Holidays! Celebrating with Music concert. Featuring five local musical groups, the concert was filmed over the course of an entire day in WGBH’s Fraser studio, with an intimate audience of just 60 for each group’s performance. The five groups represent some of the rich variety of Boston’s local music scene and began a vibrant new tradition for celebrating the holiday season with music and community.
- The thriving culture of community singing in New England was showcased in the third season of Sing That Thing! Amateur singing groups from 15 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 370 diverse singers of all ages represented high schools, colleges, and adult groups from Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. Almost 400 audience members enjoyed the experience of a live studio taping. The production team of 30 Massachusetts television professionals was joined by Emerson College students enrolled in a Media Arts intensive. Whether they worked in front of or behind 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 2017 Front Row Boston expanded to include Live at Fraser, a new monthly in-house music series featuring cross-genre emerging artists from jazz, indie rock, Celtic, and classical categories. The intimate events are held in WGBH’s state-of-the art Fraser studio. Front Row Bostonbegan in 2014 as a music performance series featuring artists across genres recorded in venues in and around Boston. The series initially launched as an online platform for live music and expanded to broadcast television in 2015.
- In 2017 we launched Stories from the Stage, WGBH’s live storytelling event, in collaboration with MassMouth, which features tellers from diverse backgrounds who focus on a different universal theme each month. The monthly events, which are free and open to the public, bring together a local audience to share in the storytelling experience. Shows, which are taped at WGBH studios in front of a local audience, air nationally via WGBH’s World Channel and PBS.
Participants compete to solve puzzles at monthly Brainiacs and Brews nights. Abby Ballou/WGBH
New Year’s Eve at the Boston Public Library with Arthur ice sculpture. Elizabeth Friar/WGBH
WGBH News trivia night at the Boston Public Library. Ellen London/WGBH
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 2017 community events include:
- First Look Film Series — As the nation’s preeminent producers of documentary films for public television, WGBH presented First Look, premiere showings of two major, thought-provoking documentaries, followed by Q&A with the filmmakers. In collaboration with The Boston Globe’s Hub Week, First Look gave the local audience the chance to get behind the scenes and hear directly from the filmmakers. More than 250 people attended the two films screened at WGBH throughout the two-day event.
- Monthly Brainiacs and Brews game nights at breweries in the greater Boston area. Participants form teams and spend the evening solving a variety of brainteasers, puzzles and challenges scattered around the brewery. The two teams with the most points compete in a head-to-head, puzzle-solving showdown for the title of “Brainiac of the Brewery.”
- In 2017, WGBH/WCRB partnered with Aeronaut Brewing Company in Somerville for the pindrop sessions, a new monthly performance series held in the Aeronaut tap room in Somerville. With an eclectic variety of music including classical, jazz, ragtime, and folk, the pindrop sessions provide an intimate and relaxed musical experience and allow audience members to interact with the musicians after the show. Sessions are co-hosted by 99.5 WCRB’s weekday afternoon host, Chris Voss.
Boston Public Library Studio
Located in the heart of the city, the WGBH studio at the Boston Public Library is open to all and provides citizens with direct access to journalists, elected officials and a range of public figures. Our first full year of operations at the BPL studio brought an increase in programming and audience participation. Boston Public Radio increased its presence to two days a week, and fans regularly show up early to get coveted seats in the Newsfeed café on Tuesdays and Fridays. We’ve now broadcast over one hundred editions of BPR in our Copley square studio and had front row seats for both the Boston Marathon and the Patriots Super Bowl parade on Boylston Street. The studio is an innovative vehicle for greater community engagement including the following:
- We’ve experimented with a dozen Facebook Live broadcasts that have focused on current news topics and included interviews with authors, social commentators, journalists and politicians including former CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer and Congressman Patrick Kennedy. We ended the year with a Facebook Live New Year’s Eve broadcast that drew hundreds of First Night participants, who also came to view an ice sculpture of Arthur, a popular character from a WGBH children’s television production, outside the studio.
- We brought Celtic music fans to the studio for Brian O’Donovan’s broadcast of A Celtic Sojourn that highlighted live music performances. Other musicians including the Boston Chamber Music Quartet and folk icon Tom Rush have performed in our space.
- Beat the Press, WGBH News’ signature TV review of the press, broadcast live from the studio throughout the summer, giving patrons an opportunity to see and interact with Emily Rooney and her panel of esteemed journalists. We also did television interviews with author Salman Rushdie and chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain for Greater Boston.
- We started a WGBH News trivia night hosted by statehouse reporter Mike Deehan, and we brought young scientists to our studio for monthly NovaSci Cafes, bringing NOVA, WGBH’s flagship science program, into the community.
- Hear at the Library invites BPL guests to stop by the WGBH satellite studio and share their thoughts about topics in the news. Throughout 2017, we interviewed dozens of people on topics that included perseverance, patriotism, leadership and the opioid crisis. We produced both audio and video vignettes that were heard on 89.7 and WGBH News.org.