Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

Donna Halper
Mon Jun 10 12:07:33 EDT 2019

On 6/10/2019 10:44 AM, Jim Hall wrote:
> I am always amazed at the "Call Letters Meaning" section of entries for
> radio and TV stations on Wikipedia. I wonder who writes them (and why). For
> example, WNEU in Merrimack NH has listed that its call letters stand for
> "New (or Nueva)

I spend way too much time fixing errors on Wikipedia, especially with 
regard to radio history.  The "meaning" of call letters is a frequent 
area of contention.  Often, folks confuse an advertising slogan for what 
the call letters meant-- the call letters were often sequentially 
assigned back in the old days; but then the sales department retrofitted 
those calls with a slogan, and everybody in the audience assumed that's 
what the call letters must represent. As you and I know, many of the 
folks who contribute to Wikipedia are not media historians, so their 
contributions (although well-meaning) are sometimes not accurate. Fixing 
the mistakes is an ongoing battle, sad to say.  And no, WHDH never stood 
for "we haul dead haddock..." ;-)


Donna L. Halper, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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