The Boston TV Dial: WGBH-TV

Who, What, Where

Community: Boston
Analog channel: *2+
Digital channel: *19 (will keep)
PSIP: 2-1: main channel
2-2: high-definition
Ownership: WGBH Educational Foundation
Studio: 125 Western Ave.
Allston, MA 02134-1008
Transmitter: 350 Cedar Street
Needham, MA 02192-1818
Receptionist +1 617 492 2777
Pledges 800 492 1111
Network: PBS

Technical Parameters

WGBH-TV transmits on analog channel 2 from the Viacom tower in Needham, using 72.4 kW peak visual ERP, from an antenna 335 meters (1099 ft) above average terrain, using horizontal polarization. WGBH-TV transmits in stereo, and uses its SAP for the Descriptive Video Service. WGBH-TV's digital service operates on channel 19 from the same tower, with 700 kW average ERP from a panel antenna 374 meters AAT shared with WGBX-TV's analog service.

Station History

WGBH-TV was one of America's first noncommercial television stations, signing on May 2, 1955 on a frequency initially allocated for commercial use in Waltham. Raytheon had held a construction permit for WRTB-TV on channel 2, but it expired without being built.

Under the leadership of station manager Hartford Gunn, WGBH-TV presented a diet of educational and cultural programming, aided by alliances with many of Boston's leading cultural institutions, notably Harvard University. (The WGBH call letters do not stand for “God Bless Harvard”, but rather “Great Blue Hill”, the station's original transmitter location.) WGBH was instrumental in founding the Eastern Educational Network in the 1950s, providing program-sharing services among the fledgling noncommercial stations in the East.

WGBH soon became a major production center for National Educational Television. With the formation of the Public Broadcasting Service in the late 1960s, WGBH became one of a handful of key originating stations, providing programs such as “Nova”, “Zoom”, and “Masterpiece Theatre” to the national network.

WGBH-TV remains a major player in America's public television system, serving as both a national production center and as a local radio and television broadcaster in Boston and Springfield.

Of particular interest is the daily local public-affairs roundtable program “Greater Boston”, hosted by veteran Boston news director Emily Rooney. The Friday night broadcast, titled “Beat the Press”, features discussion of local and national issues in print and broadcast journalism with a regular panel of local print reporters and television producers.

See Also

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This station profile was written by the editors of The Archives @ We have no relationship with the station; please send any comments or questions about their programming directly to the station. Network connectivity courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

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