As a part of the WGBH Educational Foundation, WCRB's broader mission is written on the side of our building in Brighton: "WGBH enriches people's lives through programs and services that educate, inspire, and entertain, fostering citizenship and culture, the joy of learning, and the power of diverse perspectives."
On a more specific level, WCRB's mission is to bring the joy and beauty of classical music to as many people as possible, and to bring as many people as possible into the world of classical music. We aim to make classical music accessible to all.
- WCRB staff program, produce, and host 167 out of 168 hours per week. That makes WCRB one of the most locally-grown classical music radio stations in the country.
- We can also promise to never air more than 6 minutes of "commercials" (underwriting) each hour - bringing you more music than we could if we were a commercially-operated station. We are able to be live and local so much of the time because of listener support, and we are so grateful to our members for allowing us to bring you this music.
- Listener support also enables roughly 45 live broadcasts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from Symphony Hall and Tanglewood each year, as well as weekly concert broadcasts of the Boston Pops and other ensembles and presenters like the Handel and Haydn Society, the Celebrity Series of Boston, Boston Early Music Festival, and many more through the In Concert series.
In 2009, WCRB became a listener-supported station, as part of the WGBH Educational Foundation. Previously, WCRB was a commercially-operated station, founded in 1948, with a history of classical music broadcasting dating back to the 1950s.
Meanwhile, in 1951, WGBH Radio went on the air for the first time, with a live broadcast of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from Symphony Hall. Composer Aaron Copland spoke from the stage, calling WGBH "a bright new hope among radio stations."
Classical music remained a cornerstone of WGBH's profile for decades, featuring iconic voices like those of William Pierce and Robert J. Lurtsema. The addition of WCRB to the WGBH family brought with it unprecedented growth in the public radio audience in Boston and around New England.
For more history of WGBH, view a detailed timeline here.