WGBH promotes its change of name

Bill O'Neill billohno@gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 16:15:35 EDT 2020

I doubt that the purpose of the message was to offer an accurate history; rather, a downplaying of calls as a branding. There was also inaccuracy with regard to the W and K prefixes. As I viewed this, all I could do was imagine the brain room moment when it was discussed. To me, “GBH” sounds more like something on my annual physical exam blood test. But, alas, I’m not in marketing.

Bill O’Neill

From: Boston-Radio-Interest <boston-radio-interest-bounces@lists.BostonRadio.org> on behalf of Brian Vita <brian_vita@cssinc.com>
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 3:06:59 PM
To: 'Donna Halper' <dlh@donnahalper.com>; 'Bill Smith' <billsmithmailsort@gmail.com>; 'Richard Chonak' <richard@chonak.com>
Cc: 'Boston Radio Interest Board' <boston-radio-interest@lists.BostonRadio.org>
Subject: RE: WGBH promotes its change of name

No one's commented on the explainer that stated that the part of the calls after the W designated the location.  It was my understanding that the remaining letters in the call were either arbitrary or requested by bore no relation to the location.   As I understood, most broadcasters got the calls and then figured out what to do with them.

Brian Vita

-----Original Message-----
From: Boston-Radio-Interest <boston-radio-interest-bounces@lists.BostonRadio.org> On Behalf Of Donna Halper
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 1:01 PM
To: Bill Smith <billsmithmailsort@gmail.com>; Richard Chonak <richard@chonak.com>
Cc: Boston Radio Interest Board <boston-radio-interest@lists.BostonRadio.org>
Subject: Re: WGBH promotes its change of name

On Oct 17, 2020, at 6:42 PM, Richard Chonak <richard@chonak.com> wrote:
>> WGBH has posted a briefing about the brand redesign that was launched in September.  In this video, the speaker says:
>> "We are moving from the age of broadcast to the era of streaming. All of the things associated with broadcast are now going away."

I find the premise for this change somewhat bizarre, but that's a story for another day.  My big problem with the new name is this: because we are more international now, thanks to streaming, many programs or segments that were locally produced do wind up on YouTube or on the station website for the world to watch.  That's what I see as a problem with using "GBH"--  in England and other British-influenced countries, as any crime program will demonstrate,  "GBH" stands for Grievous Bodily Harm, and is widely used as a term for an assault.  I wonder if anyone at the US ad agency considered whether their fancy new identifier means something different in the US than it does overseas...

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

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