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West Virginia Public Broadcasting Changing Its Name...to West Virginia Public Broadcasting


OK, I know that headline doesn’t make a lot of sense. Hang with me, it will in a minute.

The upshot is, West Virginia Public Broadcasting did business as several other names over the years -- most recently, West Virginia Public Radio and West Virginia PBS.

But we have been one organization and one team for a long time. Now, we have decided to unite under one name, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and phase out the use of those other names.

We started out in the 1960s and 1970s as separate TV and radio stations. In TV, we were WMUL at Marshall, WWVU at WVU, and WSWP in Beckley. (WMUL later became WPBY, and WWVU became WNPB.)

Each of these stations has a proud history of serving the public with innovative educational programming. One well-known alumnus of WNPB in Morgantown is Mark Samels, executive producer of the PBS series “American Experience.”

Meanwhile, public radio stations throughout the state united into one network, West Virginia Public Radio. It too has a long tradition of excellence, producing “Mountain Stage” and journalists such as WNYC’s Anna Sale and NPR’s Giles Snyder.

Then, the three TV stations and the radio network merged into one: West Virginia Public Broadcasting. This has helped us reduce inefficiencies. It’s also led to creative cross-platform programming that serves radio, TV and (increasingly) online audiences.

Anna Sale
Credit Amy Pearl
Anna Sale, West Virginia Public Broadcasting alumna and host of the popular podcast, "Death, Sex and Money"

Although we were united as an organization, we never got around to calling ourselves by one name. We held onto the old names because of our proud association with them.

This led to some confusion, however. More than once, people told me they heard an NPR story on West Virginia PBS, or watched an English drama on West Virginia Public Radio.

Starting on January 1, we plan to phase out these other names and go by just one: West Virginia Public Broadcasting. This decision wasn’t made lightly - we spent a year in talks with staff, our boards, our audience and other stations.

We considered other possibilities (West Virginia Public Media was ruled out in part because of its similarities to an existing company, West Virginia Media Holdings.)

In the end, we embraced the name that’s brought us together for two decades: West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

To reflect this change, we have already changed the call letters for our Charleston radio station to WVPB; we are in the process of changing the call letters for the Charleston-Huntington TV station to WVPB as well.

You will notice us saying “You’re listening to West Virginia Public Broadcasting” on our radio stations. On TV, you will increasingly see “West Virginia Public Broadcasting” and “WVPB 2” replace WVPBS on both our channels.

So whether you watch, listen or read our news and original productions, our name will be the same. And wherever you find us - on wvpublic.org, YouTube, a mobile app, radio or TV -- you will see one name, reflecting our united commitment to telling West Virginia's story.

WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
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