Tag Archives: PBS

Visual History of PBS’ Frontline

Unlike other YouTubers that post tacky “History of Frontline Funding Credits” (which is inaccurate, the fan community likes to make things up. In reality it should be known as “History of [PBS program’s] Underwriting Spots”)

This post is more dedicated to it’s visual appearance, the format, and other substantial history to Frontline. This year, marks it’s “40th season” but it’s been nothing but a doosy, to be honest; many second or third run episodes or lower quality productions, etc. Yet it was hyped up a lot last summer. It’s opening season to the 40th was from 9/11 to 1/6… multi hours, with a lot of Avid editing cuts that looked extremely dramatic… I digress…

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R.I.P. WGBH-TV’s TOCN: The Aftermath Before Greater Boston

And WGBH, despite a tradition as the “Tiffany” station in the Public Broadcasting System [ahem… “Service”], is no exception. ’GBH is a national powerhouse, producing shows such as Frontline (the one shining exception to PBS’s public-affairs vacuum), NovaThis Old House, and Masterpiece Theatre, filling about one-third of PBS’s prime-time line-up. But when it comes to local programming, WGBH’s call letters for most of the ’90s might as well have been AWOL.

Dan Kennedy, The Boston Phoenix February 7th, 1997

In 1997, Dan Kennedy who was the media writer for the Boston Phoenix, the once “alternative” paper in the area; did a writeup on the inaugural week of Greater Boston. Kennedy brought this ol article back into light on his blog after the cancelation of Beat The Press a couple Thursdays ago.

I am not going to quote the very lengthy article in verbatim (because that’s what alternative papers are, long-winded) but I would like to bullet-point specific parts that relate to what ended The Ten O’ Clock News, how Christopher Lydon moved over to WBUR-FM and actually this year marked the 20th anniversary of his dismissal at ‘BUR; because this article highlights the midpoint of Lydon’s career at 90.9.

And just to clarify, Emily Rooney quasi-retired from WGBH-TV at the end of 2014, when Jim Bradue came from NECN to take over hosting the program, while her show Beat The Press (of which she owns the registered trademark, not WGBH) continued and she hosted to it’s very end. The article does not state this program because it didn’t go on the air till the following year in 1998.

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WGBH – A Boston Tradition – Promo Reel – 1994

After seeing this promo; now it appears the branding of WGBH was starting to go downhill prior to 1996…

At this time in Fall of 1994, the station was still going by “WGBH Channel 2 Boston”, but that big 2 logo was the start of a change. For all intensive purposes, the “2” logo seen here was not new, in fact this design goes back to the 1970s (Boomers, remember the “2 Mobile”?)

And for whatever reason I never recall seeing this station ID before, etc. This aired during the Ken Burns doc Baseball that fall.

In the middle is a wonderful sounding PBS image campaign for that season, there has been other variants that ran other PBS stations, floating around YouTube.

Then there is a Baseball themed interstitial that ends with “WGBH  A Boston Tradition”

Um sure.. wait a few years, then repeat itself in 2 decades…