Let’s get ready for the reunion! Share some of your own memories ahead of time, starting with your first days or weeks at WGBH.

Throughout the summer, we’ll be asking you to post your stories on the website by asking you some prompts. Here are the first ones:

  • “What brought you to WGBH? Do you remember your first days? Your first weeks?”

Please post your recollections in the comments below.

If you’d like to see what other alumni wrote, make sure you’re signed up to receive the weekly comments update. (If you’re already receiving updates, just go to that form and enter your name and email address. You’ll then receive a link to change the updates you’d like to receive.)

Let the storytelling begin!

(Read all about the reunion here.)

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I have been looking forward to this reunion since last winter, but I now must decline getting to Boston from Colorado this weekend. I have unexpected family travel next week which has to come first. I know I have written some memories in here someplace, earlier this year, but I am really sad to miss the people who trained me so well and sent me off to NYC in 1968. Fred, Olivia, Bill Cosel, Austin, Michael A, “Miss Emily”, Russell Connor, Hadley, lots of studio crew whose names I catch here and there in these comments. I shall miss you… Read more »

Another great memory was after Austin Hoyt became my boss, he tried to get me interested in white water kayaking. Since I had never done that, he decided to teach me how to flip the kayak and get used to using it. We used to go to the Radcliff pool and put the kayak into that very small pool and I would try to flip it and right it. It was crazy. Later he showed me slides of the Snake river in Wyoming and Idaho and what it’s like kayaking down that, and that was enough to scare me off… Read more »

Having graduated in special education for the deaf in 1969 I set out West from New Jersey to teach at the California School for the Deaf in Riverside. A wonderful beginning to my career teaching deaf kids (method of communication was Fingerspelling only), honing my sign language skills (thanks to deaf friends) while exploring the foothills and west coast lifestyle. After 2 years, I returned east, thumbed through Europe for 3 months then settled into the Boston area. I was then hired at The Learning Center for the Deaf In Framingham (method of communication was Total Communication). It was there… Read more »

Thanks, Andrea! Hope to see you at he reunion!

Great story Larry and a nice nod to the amazingly talented team that ran the studios back then.

Thanks Bill

Bill–Hope to see you Sat

It was 1969. I was discharged from military service in Los Angeles and landed a job as an Assistant Account Executive on the Western Airlines TV Account for Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborne (BBD&O). At the time, it was the second largest Ad Agency in the world after J. Walter Thompson. I had majored in Advertising in the School of Journalism at Penn State and knew the language of the business. I found the office work, the suit and tie and the client schmoozing unexciting. However, the days at KTLA shooting commercials on Sunset Boulevard were invigorating and made life… Read more »

What a great read, Chris. Thanks for your wonderful recollections of “the old days”. My only regret about my time at WGBH is that “the old days” didn’t last longer! I moved so quickly from Scheduling to the studio crew and thence to Traffic (the tape library and the mail room) that I didn’t get to know some of the great folks of my era at WGBH as well as I’d have liked. (A few more years on the studio crew would have been fun..but then I wouldn’t have been down in the mailroom hiring the likes of Larry LeCain… Read more »

I was never an employee of ‘GBH, but composed music for a number of shows, including Sports Weekly with Bob Lobel and Upton Bell, Tennis For the Future, The Boston Marathon 1978 show (I think that was the year) Rebop, Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss and others. My mother, Bernice (Bunny) Olenick started as a secretary for Greg Harney in the Sports & Specials unit, eventually becoming an award winning Executive Producer. One of my early memories was deciding I wanted to get into TV, maybe start as a PA. I met with Greg in his office. First off watching… Read more »

I came to Boston at the age of 34 in 1983 after surviving a violent storm in the Gulf of Mexico where I made a living as a commercial fisherman. The previous 13 years I plied the same trade on Nantucket Island. For the next 5 years I could find no meaningful or full time work and lived miserably in rent control. My only work, part time was hanging coats for tips at the old World Trade Center. I was down to a few hundred dollars living hand to mouth. I decided to return to Nantucket where my old Captain… Read more »

Mark! What a nice recap! I still keep learning more about you….

Thanks Mark– you are the best! Great memories, great times, shared purpose and passion for our work.
Susan

Thanks, Susan! I forgot to mention Alice, Jennifer Reagan, Stan and probably others…but you surely had a knack for hiring wonderful people. Sorry, I’ll miss at the Reunion. Hope your progress on your book is coming along. Mark

Like Jane Arsham, my first job out of college (and my time at WGBH) began in 1967 when I got lost looking for the Mass Pike one day while going home from a job interview in Boston, spotted those blue letters “WGBH” and stopped to ask at reception if someone wouldn’t like to give me a tour. Rather than send me packing, Rose called upstairs, and a smallish fellow named Bob (I think) from PR materialized and gave me the requested tour. I’ll never know why. During said tour, I was introduced to Al Potter who kindly offered me a… Read more »

In 1973, I joined ‘GBH radio as a Northeastern co-op student and was so thankful that Judy Stoia took me under her wing and introduced me to public radio. ATC was in its infancy then with just a few dozen stations connected by a 5kHz telephone line. (If someone in radio master control broke the line, the whole system went down). During those early years of my 18 years at ‘GBH radio, we had an amazing staff… Paula Apsell was producing The Spiders Web (children’s radio drama) and Rebecca Eaton was producing our arts show, Pantechnicon. Exciting years covering an… Read more »

I came to Boston in 1967 jobless and confident that it would all be OK. After a few months of knocking on doors, I walked into WGBH and asked Rose Buresh (who, in my opinion, ran the entire operation from her seat at the reception desk) if there were any openings. She said I think Hindy (Al Hinderstein) needs someone. Can you type. “Sure” I replied not mentioning it was only 20 WPM . Crimson Travel offered me a job for $80 a week and travel sounded good, but GBH upped the ante to $85 and the rest of my… Read more »

I do recall those logs! Essential reference for us at the switchboard.

I came to Harvard in 1956 to give a short speech about a Ford Foundation funded closed circuit TV experiment I was directing in a Schenectady High School. We transmitted from one classroom to a string of others wired for video and sound for questions back to the teacher. (In the 50s, the teacher shortage in America was a crisis and seeking ways to expand the use of teachers was urgent.) Hartford Gunn was in the audience and two weeks later offered me a job as his assistant. Hartford was Comptroller of WGBH at the time and became the Manager… Read more »

Hartford was indeed the necessary vision guy to align all the other great talents.

Those were the days….so nice to read, John– thanks for sharing!

Yes. I came from an operatic career to train and pick the kids for Zoom, and I was at GBH-Radio in that mix ‘74-76-ish, spinning The Spider@s Web when Paula left, producing Performance, the Rose Hill drama, and other shows, and later, happily creating new music programming. You bring back wonderful names and memories.
Later I went back to GBH TV and then on to California to continue what proved a long classical singing career and to make films for PBS. It has been a good ride, and GBH Radio provides some wonderful memories.

A random memory from ancient times – pulling up with our 1948 Greyhound, less than sumptuous, way overweight mobile unit at the nuclear reactor building at the Watertown Arsenal and the flummoxed security people when our international crew – Greg MacDonald, Canadian; Jerry Gruen, Israeli: Peter Hoving, the Netherlands; Rolando Lastres, Cuban; Don White, former paratrooper and suspicious for being black and having a copy of Jeune Afrique sticking out his back pocket, assembled for an MIT Science Reporter set up. The same thing happened at a Lincoln Labs location – fortunately Russ Morash and staff had done the right… Read more »

In late 1967 I was serving in the Navy on the USS Wasp (CVS-18), homeported in Boston. My hitch was just about up and it was time to look for a job. I was hopeful that two summers I spent taking television production courses at Northwestern University might lead to a position somewhere. I found I had a connection to pull. It was at WNDT (now WNET) in New York, where I interviewed for a position on the Robert MacNeil Report. Talk about underqualified! It took about two minutes for the show’s producer to figure that out, but he said… Read more »

My path to work at WGBH My introduction to WGBH and some of its people started when I worked at WENH-TV channel 11 at the University of New Hampshire from 1964 to 1968. Twice during the four years that I worked there, WENH rented the old WGBH Greyhound bus mobile unit with its RCA TK-60 black and white television cameras and single Ampex VR-1000 two-inch quadruplex videotape machine to shoot and record a concert held annually at the University. On both occasions, I was assigned as the maintenance man/switcher for the show. The mobile unit pulled into the theater driven… Read more »

What a fun read, Gordon. I’m not sure we actually crossed paths at WGBH or if I’d left before you arrived and didn’t make your acquaintance until I was at PBS. Whatever, all your recollections of the folks in the Engineering Department at WGBH in your early years brought back great memories for me as well. That was a wonderful group of folks.

Gordie,
Thanks for reminding me of all of the brilliant engineers that I had the pleasure of working along side.
I hope that you are well.

Film production in its many facets had been my passion since my early teens. In the late 1970s, I’d become a freelancer in Boston. I could light and but really didn’t know it yet. I worked as a grip. I was the shittiest grip you could imagine. Being completely ADD, I’d put down a hammer or a crescent wrench and it would take me a half hour to find it. My wife used to say, “If I ever get in your car and it’s neat, I’ll know you’re having an affair.” Luckily, in 1980, I went to a lighting workshop… Read more »

I got a call from a friend alerting me to a WGBH-TV Help Wanted ad in the Boston Globe that read, Wanted – Mail Board. It was a typo that was meant to read Wanted – Mail Boy. This was 1970 when help wanted ads were listed under Men and Women sections. My friend, Tom had applied but was rejected because he drove a Volkswagen Bug that did not have a trunk big enough to hold sacks of mail one would retrieve daily from the Allston post office. I drove a 1964 Chevrolet Impala four door sedan with a trunk… Read more »

I’m sure you have no idea who I am. I was a super minor blip at WGBH. But in the spring of 1972 I was graduating from high school and volunteering for the auction. Because the auction warehouse took up half of studio A, and I was stocking things in that warehouse, I got to know the folks on the studio crew – who very generously and wonderfully invited me into their lives. When the auction came around, crew members, knowing my interests, generously let me take their spots on camera and floor managing (especially late night). Every one of… Read more »

Bill, what a hoot! I had no memory of what you had to go through to land a job in the mail room! I’m not surprised to hear of your first round interview in HR but the story about your interview with Bob Larsen is priceless. I’m glad he liked you! I always did. And yes, I prided myself in hiring some totally overqualified folks who I was well aware wouldn’t last long in the mail room. You and Larry and Basil and Kate Taylor and Howard Lowe and Penny Watson and a minister who graduated from Harvard, as I… Read more »

My first day on the job at Fred Barzyk, Henry Morgenthau, and Olivia Tappan’s pioneering 1973 portable video magazine show, WHERE TO GET OFF IN BOSTON, I reported way early to the new annex of WGBH, 125 Western Avenue. The building was completely uninhabited… not a sound. I climbed a creaky circular staircase to discover in the empty office the writer of the new show. That’s when and where I met my husband of thirty-five years, Tony Kahn.

The conversation that followed was a lulu – but I’ll save that story for the reunion.

I meant 110 Western Av!

Like the other members of the Scholars ’58 crew, I learned about WGBH from a Boston University poster on a bulletin board at my university (Cornell). Vic Washkevich drove me up in his convertible; the only songs on the car radio that week of June 10, 1957, were “Old Cape Cod” (Patti Page) and “Diana” (Paul Anka). Firsts for me that week: seeing Ted Williams hit a home run at Fenway; attending a Pops concert at the Hatch Shell; eating Whale Steak (with grape jelly) at the Blue Ship Tea Room; seeing Walden Pond; learning that Harvard is pronounced without an “r”.