Local Content and Service


WGBH serves its local audiences through a rich mix of broadcast, Web, and mobile services, educational outreach, events that welcome our community into our studios, and neighborhood events.

WGBH Local Content and Service 2013


WGBH operates five public television services (WGBH 2, WGBH 44, WGBH World, WGBH Create, and ’GBH Kids) and collaborates with the City of Boston on Boston Kids & Family TV, an educational service, free to Boston cable subscribers, that offers children’s programs?from 7am to 8pm and programs for adult learners in the evening. WGBH also holds the license for WGBY in Springfield, Massachusetts, which offers four TV services.

WGBH operates three public radio services: 99.5 WCRB; 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR Station. The Web services wgbh.org, wgby.org, and capeandislands.org offer program streaming, podcasts, blogs, news updates, and a wide range of program resources.

WGBH’s broadcast services offer a mix of national fare and locally originated content designed to serve the specific needs and interests of New England-area viewers. Included in that local content:




Kara Miller Marty Walsh on Greater Boston Phillip Martin
Innovation Hub's Kara Miller
(Photo: © WGBH/Lauren Chagaris)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joins Emily Rooney on Greater Boston
(Photo: Greater Boston/WGBH)
Senior investigative reporter Phillip Martin (Photo: © Meredith Nierman/WGBH)
WGBH provides comprehensive news coverage to our community via TV, radio, the Web, and mobile. Our experienced journalists offer perspective and analysis across media, as a team, allowing us to reach audiences in multiple ways that maximize the combined strength of the various media while taking advantage of each platform’s unique storytelling qualities. Partnerships with the community news portal WickedLocal.com (serving 158 towns and cities), the business news website Xconomy, and other key entities greatly expand our local reach. Among the news events in 2013 that benefited from this hyperlocal, transmedia focus:


  • The tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon
  • The trial and sentencing of Whitey Bulger
  • The historic race to succeed Thomas Menino after 21 years as Mayor of Boston, with WGBH offering in-depth interviews with the candidates, hosting an in-studio debate, reporting the election results, and providing perspective on incoming Mayor Martin Walsh.

This transmedia approach informed a number of special news efforts in 2013, including:

  • Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin’s Underground Trade reports on human trafficking, exposing a criminal enterprise that, according to the US State Department, has enslaved more than 25 million people worldwide
  • Kirk Carapezza’s On Campus reports and blogs look at the future of higher education and the challenges it faces
  • “You’re Not Alone,” a look at the emotional, economic, and physical struggles of caring for elderly parents
  • “Right of Way” exploring the tensions among local drivers, pedestrians, and the bicyclists and offering an interactive map of problem areas, a citizen poll, and reports on technical innovations to expand bike safety
  • Focus reports on “The MBTA,” “Health Care on Trail,” and “The Changing Catholic Church”

Each program under the WGBH News umbrella maintains its distinctive voice and personality while contributing to our collective, cross-platform efforts:

  • Now in its 18th year, Greater Boston provides insight into the news of the day every weeknight, focusing on the stories and newsmakers that make headlines. Emily Rooney hosts.
  • The insightful panelists of Beat the Press review the news of the week, 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 merging social media engagement and broadcast by incorporating a simultaneous Web stream and chat with live TV. Basic Black has introduced dozens of new voices, tapping into the rich reservoir of emerging scholars, activists, and community leaders in our region.
  • On Open Studio with Jared Bowen, Boston’s only full-time multimedia arts reporter pulls back the curtain on the creative process, with interviews, stories on area artists and arts organizations (including, in 2013, an in-depth exploration of the Berkshires arts scene), and reviews.
  • Part travelogue, part food show, Neighborhood Kitchens builds on the success of WGBH’s La Plaza unit, with its history of reflecting Latino and multicultural perspectives. Each half-hour takes viewers to one of the many ethnic eateries that enrich New England to explore Dominican, Armenian, Senegalese, Vietnamese, Polish, Indian flavors and more as viewers learn about neighborhoods, culinary influences, ingredients, and the guest chef’s journey.
  • 89.7 WGBH offers more than 12 hours a week of original local programming that bring our listeners a wide range of voices and opinions. These include 30 local newscasts each weekday (plus eight each on Saturday and Sunday) and local coverage within public radio mainstays Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
  • On our two-hour mid-day radio program, Boston Public Radio, local journalists Jim Braude and Margery Eagan provide a forum for lively dialogue on the day’s news and issues. Experts, voices from within WGBH News, and listener call-in enriches the conversation, and monthly “Ask the Governor” and “Ask the Mayor” editions address the concerns of the electorate.
  • WGBH launched Under the Radar with Callie Crossley in 2013 to explore stories often overlooked by the major media outlets. The program’s award-winning host invites contributors into the studio to examine the small stories before they become the big headlines.
  • On Innovation Hub, host Kara Miller engages big thinkers in the technical, educational, scientific, and cultural arenas who are taking on the most challenging problems facing our region and our world.


Cape and Islands Coverage

WCAI 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 enriches the station’s news reporting. The Point with Mindy Todd provides lively and informative discussion each day. A special 10-part series this year focused on the fishing industry that is so central to this region, and a five-part series explored Alzheimer’s disease. WCAI’s “A Life Remembered” segments celebrate the lives of members of the Cape Cod community who have passed away. A science/environmental Living Lab project provides a rich and deep on-air and online archive exploring the intersection of science and real life. “Creative Life” features spotlight local artists and personalities. Frequent “sonic IDs” offer an audio slice of life. And for the quintessential Cape experience, WCAI broadcasts the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game each July.


Classical Music


string quartet
Among our in-studio performers: Tokyo Quartet (Photo: Marco Borggreve)
99.5 WCRB actively engages and builds the community of classical music aficionados. WGBH’s 1951 broadcast debut was a live concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and WCRB continues to offer access to one of the world’s great orchestras from both Boston’s Symphony Hall and the orchestra’s summer home at Tanglewood, with concerts not only broadcast locally but syndicated throughout the seven-state region of New England and upstate New York and available online, on demand on WGBH’s first-of-its kind BSO Concert Channel. WCRB also 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, and a continuous stream of the acclaimed Kids’ Classical Hour. WCRB also has the distinction of carrying more bilingual (Spanish-English) classical music programming than any other radio station in the country.



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. A Live from Scullers partnership with a local jazz club brings the magic of live performances to Eric’s loyal fans.

Celtic Music

89.7 WGBH reaches deep into this region’s sizable Irish community 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.

Children’s Media

WGBH’s High School Quiz Show is a televised competition that showcases and rewards the academic achievements of high school students in Massachusetts. Students go head to head 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. Nearly 100 high schools competed in the series’ qualifying event in 2013, from which 16 teams move on to the televised competition, with the winners in the first annual Massachusetts vs. New Hampshire Governor’s Cup Challenge. In 2013, WGBH piloted a synched, digital, real-time, multiple-choice version of the televised game that allows the at-home audience to play along on their tablet or mobile phone.

Educational Outreach


family reading
Helping children learn (Photo: © Jennifer Waddell/Commonwealth of Mass. Dept. of Early Education and Care)
WGBH leverages its position as a local broadcaster and the leading source of PBS TV and Web content, as well as its many educational and cultural partnerships, to mine the content of its productions and deliver practical educational resources directly into the hands of students, parents, and educators throughout the communities we serve. 2013 highlights:
  • In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and Boston Children’s Museum, WGBH distributed more than 14,000 books statewide (including to at-risk kindergarteners and first graders) and equipped 250-plus early childhood programs with classroom collections of children’s books to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) explorations.
  • As the media partner for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, WGBH launched Resourcesfor EarlyLearning.org, free online resources that offer a blueprint for changing the way we educate children 0 to 5. The site provides standards-based enrichment tools parents, caregivers, and teachers need to help children succeed.
  • WGBH collaborated on two high-profile conferences—the Governor’s STEM Summit and the 2013 Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Leadership Summit—to reach more than 230 Massachusetts leaders in early childhood education. At each conference, we presented resources (digital games to children’s books) and promoted strategies for developmentally appropriate teaching and learning.
  • WGBH teamed up with United Way and Boston Children’s Museum to celebrate the Week of the Young Child at the Museum and out in the community, including creating “pop-up zones” in 100 local libraries relating to our popular children’s science series Peep and the Big Wide World and distributing Peep books and resources to more than 2,000 at-risk families.
  • To address the “summer slide” that sees at-risk children lose critical learning skills, WGBY launched its third annual Bark About Books! summer reading program in Springfield, Massachusetts, tied to WGBH’s literacy-based Martha Speaks children’s series.
  • Working with local family play space Imajine That, WGBH distributed new books to 1,200 incoming kindergartners in Lawrence, Massachusetts.


In Our Studios

A 30- by 45-foot LED screen alongside WGBH’s Brighton, Massachusetts 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 reflects the vibrancy of our region: images drawn from local theater performances, museum exhibits, educational events, and historic landmarks are displayed on the LED, drawing attention to the cultural richness of the Boston and New England areas. Organizations that benefited from this high-profile, daylong exposure in 2013 ranged from the homeless shelter Rosie’s Place and the Worcester Art Museum to the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

Nearly 130,000 visitors came through the doors of WGBH’s studios in 2013 for screenings, performances, tours, and other events. Selected highlights:

  • 150 students and teachers from three Boston public high schools were treated to a private screening and discussion of American Experience’s The Abolitionists, which brings to life the epic struggles of the men and women who fought to end slavery. Students discussed the film in small groups led by educational and community leaders. WGBH created a professional development module on the online PBS LearningMedia to extend the event’s impact.
  • WGBH’s Basic Black partnered with ITVS and the Young Professionals Network of the Urban League of Massachusetts to present a screening of the documentary film The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights, followed by a panel and Q&A.
  • In a free event for those interested in parenting, work/family balance, and creative writing, Basic Black panelist Kim McLarin read from her new memoir, Divorce Dog: Men, Motherhood and Midlife.
  • Journalist María Hinojosa helped kick off WGBH’s broadcast of NPR’s Latino USA by hosting a panel discussion on “Domestic Workers and Nannies: Getting to Know the People Caring for Your Family.”
  • To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, WGBH screened the film Model Minority: Do the Math, followed by a panel discussion on depictions of Asian Americans in society.


In the Community


Angelique Kidjo and Jake Shimabukuro
Jake Shimabukuro and Angelique Kidjo sing out at our Summer Arts Weekend (Photo: ©Meredith Nierman/WGBH)
Ongoing events in the communities we serve allow WGBH to connect directly with our diverse audiences. 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 serves as media sponsor of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Rhode Island Philharmonic, and its announcers introduce those groups’ free summertime concerts. Selected 2013 community events:
• For the second year, WGBH collaborated with The Boston Globe on a free, three-day Summer Arts Weekend in the heart of our city. A crowd of 17,000 enjoyed musical performances from across the spectrum of jazz, blues, pop, Celtic, folk, classical, and kids’ music. The weekend kicked off with an Arts Walk through 11 city galleries.
  • More than 300 guests (including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and a guest who brought his original laminated copy of William Lloyd Garrison’s anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator) packed the Boston Public Library to celebrate the premiere of American Experience’s The Abolitionists.
  • Some 4,000 families flocked to Boston’s Symphony Hall for WCRB’s 15th annual Classical Cartoon Festival, where kids of all ages enjoyed Warner Bros. cartoons set to classical music on a giant screen, along with live performances and visits from beloved PBS children’s characters.
  • WCRB celebrated the birthday of composer Johann Sebastian Bach for 12 consecutive hours at the free Bach Around the Clock collaboration with the American Guild of Organists and the First Lutheran Church of Boston.
  • 89.7 WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan has created a beloved tradition in his annual Christmas Celtic Sojourn performances, more popular than ever in their second decade of bringing best musicians, singers, and dancers from around the Celtic world to stages across New England.