Monday, November 30, 2009

WGBH debuts with a new format and schedule

WGBH officials know that when their FM station launches its new brand schedule with more focus on in-depth news and analysis tomorrow morning(12/1), some people in the region will not be happy. But in the statement released this morning WGBH president Jon Abbott is confident the new mix on 89.7FM will ultimately develop a better connection to the local community it serves.

With the acquisition of WCRB 99.5FM, as of tomorrow, WGBH 89.7 will be converted to all news and information from 5am to 8pm weekdays. The new weekend schedule will also ve devoted to news and public affairs programming. Jazz programming will be retained between 8pm and 5am weekdays.

One of the highlights of WGBH's new offerings will be a brand new two-hour local talk show planned for January launch. It will be hosted by creator and host of WGBH-TV's "Greater Boston" and "Beat The Bress" Emily Rooney(1st hour) and veteran journalist Callie Crossley(2nd hour).

WGBH's management also sees the new format as more of a complement to Boston University's WBUR 90.9FM which has had a very successful run as an NPR-affiliated news station.“We’re developing our schedule as a complement to the fine work done by WBUR and others, to give audiences greater access to stories with insight into the events of the day", commented by WGBH's general manager John Voci in the press release.

Here's WGBH's release on the new schedule which is still work in progress :

New schedule for 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR Station debuts December 1
Veteran Journalists Emily Rooney, Callie Crossley to host talk shows

Local in-depth news, analysis and discussion will form the core of the new lineup on WGBH Radio as the Boston public media producer introduces a new schedule on Tuesday, December 1.

Alongside its international news production The World, and signature programs from National Public Radio, the new 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR Station will focus on stories that provide context for the issues facing Boston and the New England region. And starting in January, the centerpiece of the new lineup will be two distinct hours of local, mid-day discussion with award-winning journalists Emily Rooney and Callie Crossley.

The changes are possible because of WGBH’s acquisition of All Classical 99.5, where it will shift its schedule of classical music, preserving a full-time classical service for Boston.

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to draw on WGBH’s considerable journalistic resources in both radio and television to provide a new definition of local public service broadcasting,” said WGBH president Jon Abbott. “Developing meaningful ways to keep our community connected to the issues that matter, and reflecting on what we value individually and collectively, is a core strength of public radio.”

The schedule, which will continue to evolve over time, will include local feature and enterprise reporting with a ‘focus team’ of reporters investigating the stories behind the headlines. First up will be a ten-part series on special education, and the issues involved for families and schools.

Another regular feature will be science segments drawn from the WGBH-produced PBS series Nova; and local perspective on national and international topics featured on The World and WGBH’s co-production The Takeaway.

The mid-day programs, still in development, will provide a lively forum Monday through Friday for discussing diverse topics of greatest interest and importance in the region. The first hour will be hosted by Emily Rooney, the award-winning host, executive editor and creator of WGBH’s Greater Boston and Beat the Press. The second hour will be hosted by Callie Crossley, a veteran journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker who is a regular panelist with WGBH TV’s Basic Black, and a commentator on Greater Boston’s popular Beat the Press program. They each will engage listeners with their distinct points of view and understanding of local issues.

“There are thousands of people around the Boston area eager to hear what someone else knows,” says Rooney. “That’s why a signature segment of the hour will be ‘What Are YOU Hearing,’ some fun and lively analysis within the program.”

“As a new voice to 89.7 I hope to bring a fresh perspective, and invite listeners into the kind of thoughtful, robust discussion that is the hallmark of public radio,” said Crossley. “I look forward to being part of this new chapter for WGBH, exploring the stories of Boston and New England.”

Other programs planned for the new schedule include a weekly presentation of Beat the Press each Saturday afternoon; additional weekday broadcasts of The Takeaway; presentation of the PBS staple The NewsHour Monday through Friday; Bob Edwards Weekend, featuring in-depth interviews with newsmakers by the former NPR host; The Diane Rehm Show, offering listeners thoughtful and lively conversations on an array of topics; Fresh Air with Terry Gross, a magazine of contemporary arts and issues; and Says You! the Boston-based fun and witty word game.The programs will be punctuated by brief musical interludes throughout the day, showcasing a spectrum of local musicians and creating a signature sound for the new lineup.

“Boston audiences have a great appetite for high quality journalism, trusted news reporting and thoughtful perspective on local issues,” said WGBH Radio General Manager John Voci. “We’re developing our schedule as a complement to the fine work done by WBUR and others, to give audiences greater access to stories with insight into the events of the day.”

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2/HD and 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local TV productions that focus on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, and María Hinojosa: One-on-One. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with WGBH 89.7, Boston’s NPR Station; WCRB 99.5 All Classical; WCAI for the Cape and Islands; WNCK on Nantucket; and the All-Classical WGBH HD channel. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World. WGBH is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. Find more information at

Emily RooneyHost, Greater Boston and Beat The PressEmily

Rooney is the host, executive editor and creator of WGBH’s Greater Boston and Beat the Press. Since Greater Boston’s inception in 1997, Emily has brought her journalistic credentials and deep knowledge of media, politics, and culture to the program and has earned numerous awards, including the National Press Club's prestigious Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, a series of New England Emmy Awards, and Associated Press recognition for Best News/Talk Show. She was recently inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, which honors the Bay State’s legends of radio and television Before coming to WGBH, Emily was director of political coverage and special events at Fox Network in New York from 1994 to 1997. Prior to that, she was executive producer of ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Emily also worked at WCVB-TV in Boston from 1979 to 1993, where she served as news director for three years and as assistant news director before that.

Callie CrossleyCommentator

Callie Crossley draws on her rich experience as an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker to offer commentary on the media for WGBH’s Beat the Press, National Public Radio, and other outlets. Producer of the Academy Award-nominated hour of the acclaimed documentary series Eyes on the Prize, Callie has won nearly every top film and broadcast journalism prize, including a national Emmy, a Peabody, an Edward R. Murrow, and the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia award (Gold Baton). A former producer for ABC's 20/20, she is currently Program Manager for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, guest lecturing at colleges and universities about media, politics, and the intersection of race, gender and media. Callie also serves as a judge for several major journalism awards and is a wine enthusiast and commentator who writes the blog The Crushed Grape Report.


MartyCapeCod said...

Those who want Sirius for Christmas...problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Are you not even giving WCRB a chance? Before they even hit the air?

Anonymous said...

With the likes of Callie Crossley and Terry Gross (are they serious, Terry Gross?) it's really just good personal time management to say, "I won't be listening to that."

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one to feel like the re-shuffling of WGBH Radio Programs has a lot to do with the Economy ?

I know it is connected to the purchase of 99.5. Fine. I get that.

BUT, when I keep hearing the same program several times at different times - sometimes twice IN A ROW ! - on 89.7 then on 90.9, AND when I get to hear the SOUNDTRACK of TV shows I just saw on the tube...
So please, someone, tell me I am not crazy !
I would make sense that Public Radio would raise far less money in this economy.
And it would be clever of Public Radio to deal with that reality by broadcasting the same program over and over again.

Thank you for any answer.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the new schedule for On the Media? WGBH still says it's 3-4(PM) on Sundays, but when I tune in to 89.7 at that time it's America's Test Kitchens...