Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

Rob Landry
Wed Jun 12 09:09:46 EDT 2019

I noticed recently that WGBH's WCRB has started using "We're Classical 
Radio Boston", which the old WCRB used briefely in the early '90's.

But of course the call letters originally had nothing to do with the 
format, but stood for Charles River Broadcasting, which ran WCRB(AM) for 
several years as a full service station in Waltham before adopting the 
classical format in 1950-51.


On Mon, 10 Jun 2019, Donna Halper wrote:

> 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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