GBH Reinventing Community - Annual Report 2021

COMING TOGETHER in NEW WAYS

GBH exists to serve our community, especially in difficult times. In 2020, amid a raging pandemic, a long-overdue reckoning on racial inequities and a divisive election, we all had to make dramatic changes in our daily lives and find new ways to engage with each other. Joining with our partners and audiences, GBH was part of reinventing what a community can and needs to be, as our shared worlds — our Town Squares — transformed into Zoom squares and computer, television and mobile screens. Together, we worked to break down barriers and create new opportunities for gathering and connection.

Innovation always has been at the heart of GBH.

But how we innovate, and for what purpose, evolves and changes. The social distancing challenges of 2020 demanded a new kind of creativity to connect and engage with our community. As the year unfolded, we listened and looked for what was missing and worked hard to help reinvent ways to share experiences together. Because our audiences are engaging with us across a range of media — no longer solely on television and radio — we updated our name and logo to drop the broadcast-centric W. We strive to ensure our content is available, where and when people want to consume it.

This annual report documents a year of GBH working to fulfill the needs we all have in common: to be heard and seen, to have a voice and to be connected.

Within days of the pandemic lockdown, GBH began to create new engagement with our communities:

  • For parents, teachers and students, we launched distance learning resources online, and on air for those without broadband access.
  • We expanded our digital community and invited everyone to join in our array of programming and events that engage, illuminate and inspire.
  • Across all our platforms and programming, we addressed systemic racism, polarization and disinformation, recognizing that inequities are deep and we need to do even more.
  • We created programs that put trust in science and scientific inquiry so people can understand our changing world.
  • We offered digital and broadcast platforms for diverse viewpoints and to help bridge divides.
  • We provided new and reinvented opportunities to experience music and art online.

The murder of George Floyd and the COVID-19 crisis have shown us how stark our society’s inequities are. As the country’s largest producer of public media programming, GBH has a responsibility as a content creator and presenter to stand against racism and inequity in both the work we do, and how we do it. Now more than ever, GBH is redoubling efforts to represent diverse voices and tell everyone’s stories. We continue to use our local programs, educational resources and national reach to deepen understanding, foster dialogue and create shared experiences. Our commitment is unequivocal: to be a public media organization that responds to, represents and includes the diversity of our community so that we all can grow. For GBH, it’s not just the work we do, but it’s also how we do it. We are striving for even greater diversity among our staff, our vendors and our storytellers — those on both sides of the cameras and microphones.

At a time when we are physically apart, GBH worked to strengthen the enduring bonds that unify us all as Americans and as citizens of the Commonwealth. No matter what challenges we face, GBH holds true to its mission, connecting people when we need it the most.

Jonathon C. Abbott signature Jonathan C. Abbott
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ann M. Fudge signature Ann M. Fudge
Board Chair

For GBH, it’s really about attending to what our community's needs are, what information is needed and how best to present it. What do we owe the community in order to make sure that we're putting out thoughtful, high-quality programming?

—Lynn Bay Dayton, GBH Board of Trustees
Arun Rath photo
GBH Host Arun Rath in his home studio

Journalism

2020 was arguably one of the most consequential years for journalists and citizens alike. Delivering trustworthy, in-depth reporting was even more essential during the unfolding global pandemic, protests over racial inequalities in the U.S. and a volatile presidential election season. GBH rose to the challenge, delivering broadcast programs, podcasts, virtual forums and radio reporting, connecting us all to each other and to the issues of the day. This year, GBH News was awarded five 2020 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including one for overall excellence. The National Association of Black Journalists awarded GBH's Callie Crossley a 2020 Salute to Excellence Award for her commentary and Basic Black for an episode on men of color and mental health. GBH News launched two pandemic specials, COVID and the Classroom, a year-long project following the journey of three high school seniors, and In It Together, a daily live call-in radio show that invites experts, doctors, patients and community leaders to explore and digest the day's COVID-19 news. Throughout 2020, we worked to ensure voters of all ages and ethnicities were informed on the candidates, the ballot questions and the issues. FRONTLINE, our flagship investigative journalism program that has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, produced more than 20 documentaries and nearly 30 podcast episodes. It is the fastest growing PBS series on YouTube, where millions of people sought its films, quadrupling streaming numbers in 2020. 

Headshot of Alok Patel.
Alok Patel, host of “NOVA Now”

Science

2020 made it abundantly clear that science and technology are both enhancing and disrupting our society and planet. NOVA, the most-watched science series on primetime television, continued to excel in telling the stories of scientists wrestling with the complexities of COVID-19, climate change and artificial intelligence. GBH’s science films, podcasts, digital series, along with live virtual events, demystified complex ideas that are impacting our lives. Polar Extremes revealed the bizarre history of the poles from warm polar forests to miles-thick ice sheets. In the companion digital series Antarctic Extremes, NOVA reporters joined scientists living and working in Antarctica  to discover the surprises of everyday life in one of the most extreme environments on the earth. The 10-part series has had more than 6 million views since launching in 2020. 

An elementary school-aged girl, seated in front of a computer screen featuring a math teacher and equations on a black board, looks over her shoulder and smiles.
Learning from home

Children's Media & Education

Arthur launched a new video for kids, families and educators on how to discuss racism.

GBH always has worked to increase access to quality educational programming and resources among all children, particularly those in underserved communities. This year, with schools closed and all communities in need of educational resources, GBH sprang into action. Answering the call from the Massachusetts Department of Education, we launched a distance learning resource center both online and on air. For students without devices or broadband access, we created the broadcast of a daily five-hour educational television block on GBH WORLD for middle and high school students. The programming had a reach of 1.4M viewers nationally, 172,000 of whom were youths ages 2-17. Our breakthrough multiplatform series Molly of Denali, the first nationally distributed children's series to feature an Alaska Native lead character, was recognized with the 2020 Television Critics Association award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming and the 2020 George Foster Peabody award in Children's Programming.

Headshot of Yo-Yo Ma clasping his bow and the head of his cello
Yo-Yo Ma at GBH Fraser Performance Studio

History, Arts & Culture

Music and arts touch the heart of public life, and GBH offers its audiences an unrivaled panorama of cultural delights. With entertainment venues darkened during the pandemic, GBH brought our communities' arts and culture scene into people's homes through virtual events, interviews and special concerts. On Memorial Day weekend, in the GBH Fraser Performance Studio, Yo-Yo Ma played an arresting, live, solo performance of the complete Bach Cello Suites — a tribute to lives lost to COVID-19 and the resilience of first responders — that was streamed worldwide. In a salute to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's The Vote charted American women's determined march to the ballot box. The film was accompanied by an ambitious community outreach and engagement campaign with multiple partners across the nation.

Financials

The year 2020 required all of us to regroup and recalibrate. The COVID-19 lockdown prompted a rapid pivot across all of our programs, events and services, and our nation’s reckoning with racism prompted us to deeply reflect and commit to making meaningful changes in our programming and how we operate. With donor and community support, we have retained our strength and stability in our role as the nation’s premier public media organization and the largest creator of educational and cultural content for PBS.

Continue to Financials

Leadership

  • Jonathan C. AbbottPresident and Chief Executive Officer
  • Claudia S PalmerChief Operating Officer
  • André AlexanderChief Financial Officer and Treasurer
  • Amy AxelrodChief of Staff and Senior Director, Board Relations
  • David BernsteinVice President and General Manager, GBH Enterprises
    Co-President, PBSd
  • John BredarVice President, National Programming
  • Tina CassidyChief Marketing Officer
  • Liz ChengGeneral Manager for Television
  • Ann DexterVice President, Human Resources
  • Terry FitzpatrickVice President, Children’s Media and Education
  • Pam JohnstonGeneral Manager for Radio and News
  • Susan L. KantrowitzVice President and General Counsel
  • Robert KempfVice President, Digital Services
  • Evie KintzerExecutive Director, Strategy and Business Development
  • Winifred LenihanVice President, Development
  • James LevyVice President, Financial Planning and Business Services
  • Shane MinerChief Technology Officer
  • Suzanne ZellnerVice President, Sponsorship and Membership

  • Ann M. FudgeChair
  • Henry P. Becton, Jr.Vice Chair
  • Marcia W. BlenkoVice Chair
  • Lynn Bay DaytonVice Chair
  • Cathy E. MinehanVice Chair
  • Jonathan C. Abbott
  • Mohamad S. Ali
  • Brian H. Chu
  • Pam Y. Eddinger
  • Juan Enriquez
  • Robert S. Feldman
  • Grace K. Fey
  • Benjamin A. Gomez
  • Rosemarie Torres Johnston
  • Andrea E. Kalyn
  • Susan B. Kaplan
  • Ann R. Klee
  • Paul W. Lee
  • William A. Lowell
  • Richard K. Lubin
  • Martha L. Minow
  • Elizabeth A. Morningstar
  • M. Lee Pelton
  • Melinda Alliker Rabb
  • Jeffrey F. Rayport
  • L. Rafael Reif
  • Carmichael S. Roberts
  • Cynthia L. Strauss
  • William N. Thorndike, Jr.
  • Stephen K. Wagner

  • Richard M. Burnes, Jr.Chair Emeritus
  • Edith L. DabneyChair Emerita
  • Amos B. Hostetter, Jr.Chair Emeritus
  • Amy Abrams
  • Enid L. Beal
  • Derek C. Bok
  • Frances H. Colburn
  • Nader F. Darehshori
  • Nelson J. Darling, Jr.
  • Laura A. DeBonis
  • Neal F. Finnegan
  • Bink Garrison
  • Richard Grubman
  • Gale R. Guild
  • Ann Gund
  • M Howard Jacobson
  • Anna Faith Jones
  • Marjie Kargman
  • Renée M. Landers
  • Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
  • Laurence Lesser
  • Oscar Malcolm
  • Pamela A. Mason, EdD
  • Christopher J. McKown
  • Richard S. Milstein, Esq.
  • David G. Mugar
  • Paul R. Murphy
  • Lawrence T. Perera
  • Lia G. Poorvu
  • William F. Pounds
  • Robert A. Radloff
  • John F. Reno
  • Maureen L. Ruettgers
  • Robert Sachs
  • Alan J. Strassman
  • Samuel O. Thier, MD
  • David Ting
  • Sidney Topol
  • Augustus A. White III, MD, PhD
  • Hans P. Ziegler

  • Elizabeth A. MorningstarChair
  • Red Barrett
  • Colin Campbell
  • Laura Cabot Carrigan
  • Janelle Chan
  • Ronald Chandler
  • Cecilia Chao
  • Francis Chin
  • Ingrid Chung
  • Chris Coburn
  • Philip Condon
  • Stacy Cowan
  • Elizabeth Coxe
  • Sally Currier
  • Mike Fanning
  • Ken Gabriel
  • Nan-Weo Gong
  • Winston Henderson
  • Renee Inomata
  • Michelle Julet
  • Arthur Krieg
  • Johanna Longnecker
  • Maria Loughlin
  • Eugene Mahr
  • Elise McDonald
  • Lisa McDonough
  • Alex Moot
  • Caroline Mortimer
  • Holly Muson
  • Ellen Nussbaum
  • Nicole Obi
  • Gillian O’Callaghan
  • Lili Palacios-Baldwin
  • Alex Panas
  • Heather Parsons
  • Anthony Pell
  • Lizette Pérez-Deisboeck
  • Jonathan Poorvu
  • Patti Quigley
  • Betsy Rosen
  • Ralph Sheridan
  • Geoffrey Stein
  • Tanisha Sullivan
  • Lisa Taffe
  • Bina Thompson
  • Donald Ware
  • David Weisner
  • Geoffrey Why
  • Suzanne Wright
  • Mariann Youniss

  • John J. Alam, MD
  • Maureen Alphonse-Charles
  • Joseph F. Azrack
  • Edye Baker
  • Hope Lincoln Baker
  • Kirstan Barnett
  • Aaron Bates
  • Penny Bragonier
  • Judith A. Brodkin
  • Helen Chin Schlichte
  • Anthony Corey
  • Stephanie Cornell
  • Mary L. Cornille
  • Joan Crowley
  • Martha H.W. Crowninshield
  • Thomas J. DeVesto
  • Jeffrey S. Dover, MD
  • Christine Dunn
  • Ruth Ellen Fitch
  • Janet B. Fitzgibbons
  • Robert Gallery
  • Miriam Gillitt
  • Steven J. S. Glick
  • Arthur Golden
  • Jonathan B. Green
  • Stephen A. Greyser
  • Jon L. Hagler
  • Daphne Hatsopoulos
  • Catherine E.C. Henn
  • William C.S. Hicks
  • Roy A. Hunt III
  • Susan Hunter
  • J. Atwood Ives
  • Mahmud S. Jafri
  • W. Garth Janes
  • Elizabeth B. Johnson
  • Laura A. Johnson
  • Paula A. Johnson, MD
  • Karen Kaufman
  • Stephen P. Kaufman
  • Omar H. Khudari
  • Ranch C. Kimball
  • Sandra T. King
  • Nancy Klavans
  • Edward H. Ladd
  • Rebecca A. Lee
  • Alexander D. Leventhal
  • Karen Levy
  • Chuck Longfield
  • Anne R. Lovett
  • Susan Luo
  • Peter S. Lynch
  • Mahmood Malihi
  • Chester R. Messer II
  • R.T. Paine Metcalf
  • E. Bradley Meyer
  • Jennifer L. Miller
  • Jane E. Owens
  • Jane M. Pappalardo
  • H. Bradlee Perry
  • Slocumb Hollis Perry
  • Beth K. Pfeiffer
  • Deirdre B. Phillips
  • Myrna Putziger
  • Roderick K. Randall
  • Doug Rauch
  • John R. Regier
  • Pamela G. Remis
  • Will Richmond
  • Elizabeth A. W. Rogers
  • Gloria Rose
  • Harvey Rosenthal
  • Roger Sametz
  • Ann Schwarz
  • Michelle A. Shell
  • Susan P. Stickells
  • May Takayanagi
  • Jason Talbot
  • W. Nicholas Thorndike Rosamond B. Vaule
  • Leverett L. Wing
  • Simone S. Winston
  • Nicholas T. Zervas, MD

  • Susan LuoChair
  • Kathleen Ames
  • Edye Baker
  • Michael Barza
  • Lyndsay Charron
  • Francis Chin
  • Anthony Corey
  • Joan Crowley
  • Sally W. Currier
  • John J. Doyle, Jr.
  • Janet B. Fitzgibbons
  • Edna Kaplan
  • Susan B. Kaplan
  • Marilyn K. Kucharski
  • Karen S. Levy
  • William A. Lowell
  • Oscar F. Malcolm
  • Stacey Marino
  • Rodrigo Martinez
  • Lisa McDonough
  • Caroline Mortimer
  • Holly Muson
  • Jane E. Owens
  • Melinda Alliker Rabb
  • Pamela G. Remis
  • Elizabeth A.W. Rogers
  • Gloria Rose
  • Ralph Sheridan
  • Karen Sirkin
  • Cynthia L. Strauss
  • David Weisner
  •  
  • Ex Officio
  • Ann M. Fudge
  • Elizabeth A. Morningstar

  • Steven R. Singer, ChairDana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Patricia AhernCare Dimensions
  • Jerry AldermanMarsh & McLennan Agency – Northeast
  • Dan AntonellisSuffolk Construction
  • Christine ArmstrongMorgan Stanley
  • Jane BellCabot Corporation
    Cabot Corporation Foundation, Inc.
  • Scott BernsteinMittcom
  • Carol BrennanMassachusetts Eye and Ear
  • Charlie CurtisWelch & Forbes, LLC
  • Michelle DavisWentworth Institute of Technology
  • Adrienne Davis-Brodyadb Marketing Communications
  • Bob DuffyMassachusetts Teachers Association
  • Jeff FreedmanSmall Army, A FINN Partners Company
  • Jasmine GeeArcadia
  • Jeffrey GlassHometap
  • Jennifer HarringtonHATCH Marketing, LLC
  • Steve HerskovitzMassachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Sally D. JacksonJackson & Co.
  • Mahmud JafriDover Rug & Home
  • Moira KellyExploration Learning (EXPLO)
  • Brian KennyHarvard Business School
  • Sandra T. KingSTKing Associates, LLC
  • Kathy KlinglerBlue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Michael LipsitzWells Fargo & Company
  • Sandy LishThe Castle Group, Inc.
  • John LooneyNewton-Wellesley Hospital
  • Benjamin MayerSunBug Solar
  • Terence McCourtGreenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Richard A. McKennaManage My Things
  • Wayne McWorterArtsEmerson, Emerson College Office of the Arts
  • Stephanie NorisNorbella
  • Christopher MurphyLahey Health
  • Karen NortonBunker Hill Community College
  • Rick O’ConnorHarvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Larry O’TooleGentle Giant Moving Company, Inc.
  • Gina PerilleBoston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Peter ProdromouBoston Digital
  • Lisa RodericksCambridge Savings Bank
  • Roger SametzSametz Blackstone Associates
  • Lawrence J. Smith, Jr.Wisdom4Hire
  • Todd SperryMuseum of Science
  • Amber StepperEvenflo, Inc.
  • Charlotte StreatLiberty Mutual
  • Liam SullivanPowerOptions
  • Kathy VarneyThe Annie Selke Companies
  • Megan WallaceComcast, NorthEast Division
  • Jack WrightCelebrity Series of Boston
  • Roddy YoungBoston Children’s Hospital

  • Steven BelecCo-Chair
  • Kirsten SimsCo-Chair
  • Sabrina Aviles
  • Anne Bailey Berman
  • Jean-Marie Bonofilio
  • Stacey Brandon
  • Jack Cheng
  • Danielle DeLuca
  • Tania Del Rio
  • Susan Fentin
  • R. Cheis Garrus
  • Jennifer Huer
  • Régine Jean-Charles
  • Leah Kelly
  • Caleb Nelson
  • Bharathi Patimalla-Dipali
  • Catherine Philip
  • Desmond Pope
  • Dustin Rennells
  • Amy Schectman
  • Clifford White
  • Emily Yu

  • Amy AbramsPresident, Abrams Foundation
  • Mark ColodnyManaging Director, Warburg Pincus
  • Laura DeBonisIndependent Consultant
  • Lisa Kaneb
  • Sabina MenschelPartner, President, and Chief Operating Officer, Nardello & Co.
  • Paul SaganSenior Advisor and Executive-in-Residence, General Catalyst Partners
  • Emily TowPresident, Tow Foundation

  • Norman R. AugustineRetired Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Henry Becton, Jr.Vice Chair, WGBH Educational Foundation
  • Joshua Boger, Ph.D.Retired Founder and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Dr. Michael S. BrownNobel Laureate and Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics, UT Southwestern
  • Ira EhrenpreisChair, World Energy Innovation Forum
  • Jonathan GoldsteinSenior Advisor, TA Associates
  • William R. Hearst, IIIChairman, Hearst Corporation
  • Dr. Howard L. MorganPartner, First Round Capital
  • Paul A. Offit, MDDivision of Infectious Diseases, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Anna RasmussenPrincipal Trustee, Neil and Anna Rasmussen Foundation
  • Neil RasmussenCo-Founder and Former CTO, American Power Conversion Corp.
  • Michael C. RuettgersRetired Chairman, EMC Board of Directors
  • Roger SantCo-Founder and Chairman Emeritus, The AES Corporation
  • Camilla SmithPresident and Trustee, LSB Leakey Foundation
  • Marshall TurnerFormer Chairman and CEO, Dupont Photomasks, Inc.