Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

A. Joseph Ross
Wed Jun 12 17:28:47 EDT 2019

My father thought the W stood for Washington.  When I saw that some 
stations' call letters started with K, I asked him, and he said it stood 
for California.

On 6/12/2019 12:36 PM, Doug Drown wrote:
> Wonder what he thought the K stood for?
> On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 10:52 AM Ken VanTassell <> wrote:
>> When I was in High School back in the mid 70's my English teacher told the
>> class that all the station call signs that started with W were all owned by
>> Westinghouse. Needless to say I had to correct him.
>> -Ken
>> On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 9:11 AM Rob Landry <>
>> wrote:
>>> 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.
>>> Rob
>>> 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

A. Joseph Ross, J.D. · 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 · Newton, MA 02459-2004
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