WGBH reaps huge windfall in sale of broadcast spectrum

From the Boston Globe

WGBH, the public media organization, will receive $218.7 million in exchange for moving the over-the-air signals of its WGBH and WGBY stations from frequencies on the UHF band to the VHF band. The two stations broadcast from Boston and Springfield respectively…

For public broadcasters, the payday comes as President Trump has threatened to massively cut federal funding to their industry. The $218.7 million that the WGBH Educational Foundation will get equals about one year of the nonprofit company’s current operating budget.

“We felt the spectrum auction was a unique opportunity, knowing we could continue to provide all of our public media services to viewers, and simultaneously support and strengthen this valued organization,” Richard Burnes, chair of WGBH’s board of trustees, said.

WGBH officials said they intend to put the money into its endowment with the aim of funding a larger portion of its annual expenses from investment proceeds. That will help the broadcaster “expand its educational services to children and students, further its in-depth journalism, and strengthen its modest endowment,” WGBH said in a statement.

A third station owned by the foundation, WGBX 44 in Boston, wasn’t sold in the auction, but will probably need to change its signal anyway, as the FCC wants to relocate remaining UHF channels into lower frequencies to free up even more spectrum.

WGBH and other broadcasters that are changing frequencies can draw from a federal fund to pay for new equipment and labor needed to make the switch.

John Kerr featured in photo essay

John Kerr

When a magazine calls asking to send you to Yellowstone National Park, the first question that runs through your mind is how soon can we leave? Earlier this year, photo editor extraordinaire Caitlin Peters at AARP the Magazine contacted us with an assignment to photograph park ranger John Kerr.

After speaking to John on the phone and learning about the distinct challenges (unpredictable weather, unpredictable wildlife, nonexistent cell service) of working in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park, Chris and I knew that we would definitely be in for an adventure…


Happy Holidays to all you “old timers”

Fred Barzyk (2007)

Again another Holiday season is upon us. Dani Baptista sent this holiday card from the station:

WGBH Holiday Greetings

And as we think of gifts for our love ones and friends, please remember Santa’s media helper, Jay Collier. Jay has been running and redesigning our website for years as a professional volunteer. To honor his work and to thank him for his unending service you might consider making a donation to the site. I have.

It is more than just a thank you to Jay but also honors our memories of WGBH and all the great people we have met there. Keep well and may the New Year bring you joy and happiness.

Fred Barzyk

A world of song

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series The Michael Ambrosino Collection

I’ve finally completed an autobiography for my kids. Not surprisingly, it ended up telling a lot about the early days of WGBH and life in Boston. (It went 500 pages with 119 photos!)

Lynn and I continue to sing with choruses that give concerts locally and tour overseas. So far on our foreign tours, we’ve sung in Prague, Wroclaw, Krackow, Budapest, Vienna, Seoul, Suwon, Kyongju, Saigon, Hue, Hanoi, Moscow, Zelenograd, Yaroslavl, St. Petersburg, Talinn, Johannesburg, Durban and Soweto. Two trips within the States found us singing with the Gullah, in the sea islands and the Houma Indian Nation in the deep Mississippi Delta.

The audience in Prague was much smaller than our chorus, but the combined international chorus that performed at the 24th Song Festival in Talinn, was an astounding 21,000 singers  with an audience of 250,000 spreading up the field of an immense outdoor amphitheater.

We look forward to seeing the new WGBH. When you think how public broadcasting has changed over our last 50 years, it seems impossible to imagine what will be happening in that new facility in 2057!