From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


WGBH (an abbreviation of Western Great Blue Hill), known on-air as simply GBH, is a PBS affiliate located in Boston, Massachusetts and owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation. The station launched on May 2, 1955, and introduced an animated on-screen logo in 1971. It is also one of the biggest PBS affiliates, producing much of the national content for the network, and is also one of their 2 flagship stations. In 2020, the station rebranded as GBH.

1st ID (May 2, 1955-1956?)

Visuals: The ID consists of the following text on the lower center position of the screen:

Various lines of various sizes and angles can be seen in the background. The stacked text "LOWELL INSTITUTE COOPERATIVE BROADCASTING STATION" can be seen on the left center of the screen.

Technique: Unknown. Probably none.

Audio: Unknown, but it may have an announcer.

Availability: The only known remains of this ID comes from a Logopedia page.

2nd ID (October 11, 1956-1971)

Visuals: The ID consists of an "X" connected to a triangle on the bottom and a vertical line throughout the center. Circles are on both the left and right side of the symbol. Next to the symbol is the number "2" with "WGBH-TV Cambridge/Boston" underneath.

Trivia: The symbol is actually an ancient Aztec symbol for "family." The triangle and vertical line represent a woman, the vertical line and top two portions of the "X" represent a man, and the circles represent children. The symbol is still in use as the logo for "WGBH Alumni."

Technique: Unknown. Probably still like before.

Audio: Unknown. Probably an announcer like before.

Availability: Same as the previous ID.

3rd ID (1979?-1982?)

Visuals: On a black background, there is a silver outline of the "2" with a flash of light on its top. To the left of the "2" is "WGBH TV" and to the right of it is "BOSTON".

Technique: None. [possible misuse]

Audio: A female announcer says "This is Channel 2, WGBH-TV Boston."

4th ID (1983?-1989)

Note: The ID can be seen at 0:04.

Visuals: Over a shot of the Boston skyline at night, a white colored "2" (with the extrusions filled and the "2" being a cutout) zooms back to the center of the screen. To the left of the "2" is the text "WGBH TV" and to the right of the "2" is the word "BOSTON." The "2" flashes similar to the 3rd ID, turning the background black, the "2" white, and the outline orange.

Variant: In December, a Christmas ID where Santa Claus and eight reindeer between him do a dance as snowflakes fall from the top was shown. After 20 seconds, the "2" logo emerges from the top right corner and zooms into the middle, settling above Santa and the reindeer. "WGBH-TV" and "BOSTON" appear on both sides of the "2".

Technique: Backlit cel animation and chroma-key effects.

Audio: A mellow synth theme with a synthesized whoosh as the logo zooms out. There is a "ping" as the logo flashes and a drumbeat afterwards. Throughout the logo, William Pierce says "This is viewer supported television from Boston. WGBH TV."

Availability: Appeared before programs on WGBH.

5th ID (1986?-1989?)

Visuals: The screen fades into what appears to be space. The background is entirely black with the exception of a dark blue glowing semicircle that represents Earth. The "2" from the previous ID zooms out, but it's in a shade of gold rather than orange. As it stops zooming back, pinkish red, green, and blue comets come in from the top left of the screen and go through the cut-out "2" as they streak off to the right. The words "WGBH TV BOSTON" in spaced-letters appear below in a gray-white generic font. The animation loops a few more times before the ID ends.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: An excerpt of "Shadowdance" by "Shadowfax."

Availability: Appeared on Return of the Art Maker, which is long gone from TV and never made an official home media release. Also used as a station ID at the time.

6th ID (1990-Early 1990s?)

Visuals: On an orange sky background is the 2 from the previous IDs, made out of glass, tilt and zoom out, ending in the centre of the screen. The words "WGBH" and "TV" appear at the top of the 2, while "BOSTON" is on the bottom. These words fade in when the 2 is in place. The 2 shines afterwards.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: An 8-note trumpet theme, with a string holding a "C" note throughout. At the end, we hear a 3 note tinkle from a vibraphone.

7th ID (1999?-2002?)

Visuals: On a rendered platform featuring Greek Temple-like columns, monitors of at least six WGBH programs are present (such as Masterpiece theater, Frontline, Antiques Roadshow, and NOVA), as the camera moves forward until the Boston skyline can be seen in the background. As it does, a blue circle appears with the words "GBH 2" carved in it, with "2" in the same font as the previous IDs. Underneath the circle is "WGBH Boston" also in blue.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A tribal kind of song with an announcer saying "You're watching the best television on television, Boston's PBS station: GBH 2."

8th ID (January 22, 2001-20??)

Visuals: A brief flash shows us uncolored pipes. Suddenly, gold beams fly through them, as the camera pans around, following it. The camera then pans and zooms outward, revealing the now-completed WGBH logo in a neon format as it flashes brightly. The logo goes dim as a neon number "2" [the channel number] lights up in a bluish-white color for about 3 seconds and goes out.


  • Also seen with affiliate stations in a black typeface on the bottom of the logo.
  • A short version exists beginning where the screen zooms out to show the logo lighting up.
  • Another shorter version cuts off the first two seconds of the logo.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A slightly extended version of the infamous WGBH synth theme containing both the long and short versions of the theme (the change happens at the zooming out). When the WGBH logo flashes, Jim Birdsall, who has done work for CNBC and NBC stations KING and KGW in Seattle and Portland, says "WGBH Boston". Finally, a humming sound is heard when the "2" appears.

9th ID (October 31, 2013, November 25, 2013-2010s)

Visuals: On a black background, orange neon lights start to trace out the inner part of the WGBH logo, with the top coming first, followed by the bottom part, the 2 holes on the "B", and finally the part that makes part of the "G". The light then draws out the full outline as another line starts to draw the "shadow" part. When the inner outline is complete, the rest of the ID flickers on and flashes, revealing "WGBH-TV BOSTON" on the bottom. The logo then glows, then shortens out in a similar matter.

Variant An in-credit version exists on "Wallander on Masterpiece" where the logo's flash and burn-out animation is superimposed over the end screen. This was the first appearance of this logo.

Trivia: This ID was created by Paul Sanni (sound and video editing) and Elias Mallette (animation), both of which also did work for the previous ID. You can read more about the making here.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: An ominous hum is heard first, followed by a series of snippets of the infamous theme when the neon traces the logo, but the computer blips are now terribly out of tune. The logo then plays the full theme with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH 2, Boston.", followed with the same humming sound from the previous ID. The in-credit version featured the ending theme with faint electrical sounds.

Availability: The in-credit version may still exist on episodes of "Wallander on Masterpiece" should PBS rebroadcast them. Despite its retirement, the ID itself can be seen on GBH's YouTube channel.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.