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WGBX-TV, virtual channel 44.2 (UHF digital channel 32), branded on-air as GBH 44 since 2020, is the secondary Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation, it is sister to Boston's primary PBS member station and company flagship WGBH-TV (channel 2), Springfield, Massachusetts-based PBS member WGBY-TV (channel 57, operated by New England Public Media), Class A Biz TV affiliate WFXZ-CD (channel 24) and public radio stations WGBH (89.7 FM) and WCRB (99.5 FM) in the Boston area, and WCAI radio (and satellites WZAI and WNAN) on Cape Cod. WGBX-TV, WGBH-TV and the WGBH and WCRB radio stations share studios on Guest Street in northwest Boston's Brighton neighborhood; WGBX-TV's transmitter is located on Cedar Street (southwest of I-95/MA 128) in Needham, Massachusetts, which is shared with WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV, WBTS-CD (which itself shares spectrum with WGBX) and WSBK-TV.

The X in WGBX's callsign stands for "experimental", as WGBX (more primarily in the 1970s) was home to programming that was given a trial run on the lower-rated UHF signal before possibly moving onto the more-established WGBH-TV. Such Eastern Educational Network imports from the United Kingdom as Doctor Who were seen first or more frequently on WGBX, and one late 1970s local "nightclub"-style variety show, Club 44, proved popular enough to be moved over to WGBH and retitled The Club. The station airs PBS programs that are not aired by WGBH-TV as well as additional supplemental programming. Reruns of the previous night's programming either from WGBH-TV or from WGBX-TV itself also makes up part of channel 44's programming schedule.

WGBX also carries most of the national digital subchannel networks (except for World Channel) which are managed by the WGBH Educational Foundation (along with an additional station, as described below); this enables WGBH to maintain a high-bitrate 1080i high definition picture resolution on its main channel 2 signal, with little loss in visual quality

History[]

On December 11, 1963, the WGBH Educational Foundation applied for a construction permit to build a second station on channel 44; WGBX was approved on October 21, 1964. The station began broadcasting on September 25, 1967, and initially carried almost exclusively specialist programming, gradually turning into a second channel of educational and public programs. Since launching, its transmitter has been located in Needham (on a broadcast tower that is owned by CBS Corporation, and is used by some of the Boston market's commercial television stations, including CBS-owned WBZ-TV), WGBX's current digital transmitter shares the master antenna at the very top of the tower with the commercial stations. The now-defunct analog signal maintained a separate antenna on a lower portion of the tower that was shared with WGBH's digital transmitter.

WGBX shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 44, on April 23, 2009. The station's digital signal continued to be broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 43. Through the use of PSIP digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 44.

World Channel moved from digital subchannel 44.2 to 2.2 in the spring of 2012, replacing WGBH's standard definition simulcast.

On January 16, 2017, WGBX switched its DT4 subchannel from a locally programmed loop of children's programming (which looped twice a day) to the relaunched national PBS Kids channel.

On January 18, 2018, WGBX began a channel share with Nashua, New Hampshire-licensed WYCN-CD (channel 15, now WBTS-CD), which was acquired by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal. Despite WBTS-CD's low-power status, WGBX's transmitter acts as a full-market relay of WBTS-CD, a NBC O&O station, along with its Cozi TV subchannel; WGBX's multiplexer was then upgraded to handle WGBX's existing HD channel and two SD channels, along with WBTS-CD's HD channel and one subchannel as a result of the channel share.

In 2019, with WGBH moving to VHF 5, both station's channel maps were adapted, with WGBH handling both the 2.1 and 44.1 HD signals, and WGBX mainly carrying standard definition subchannels in order to provide appropriate bandwidth to WYCN-CD, which itself had its calls changed to WBTS-CD in the same period of time. This is equivalent to the channel distribution plan used by Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, which divides its subchannels among two existing stations (though all channels map to channel 2 rather than the second station's channel 17).

The station initially existed as a construction permit for WJDW-TV, a commercial station co-owned by television producer Jack Wrather and his business partner, Maria Helen Alvarez. In 1965, Wrather and Alvarez donated the license to WGBH Educational Foundation, in which WGBH used to launch its secondary educational station. WGBX-TV first signed on the air on September 25, 1967; its transmitter has been located in Needham (on a broadcast tower that is owned operated by CBS Corporation, and is used by some of the Boston markets' commercial television stations, including CBS-owned WBZ-TV), WGBX's current digital transmitter shares the master antenna at the very top of the tower with the commercial stations. The now defunct analog signal maintained a separate antenna on a lower portion of the tower that was shared with WGBH's digital transmitter.

WGBX shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 44, on April 23, 2009. The station's digital signal continued to be broadcast on its pre-transition UHF channel 43. Through the use of PSIP digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 44.

World moved from digital subchannel 44.2 to 2.2 in the spring of 2012, replacing WGBH's standard definition simulcast; the 44.2 subchannel is not currently mapped.

On January 16, 2017, WGBX switched its .4 subchannel from a locally programmed loop of children's programming (which looped twice a day) to the national resurrection of the national PBS Kids channel.

One year later on January 18, 2018, WGBX began a channel share with Nashua, New Hampshire-licensed WYCN-CD (channel 15), which was acquired by the NBC Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal. Despite WYCN's low-power status, WGBX's transmitter will act as a full-market relay of NBC O&O station WBTS-LD (channel 8) through WYCN-CD, along with its Cozi TV subchannel; WGBX's multiplexer was upgraded to handle WGBX's existing HD channel and two SD channels, along with WYCN-CD's HD channel and one subchannel as a result of the channel share.

Technical information[]

Subchannels[]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of WGBX-TV
Channel Video Aspect Short Name Programming
02.2 480i 16:9 World GBH World
02.3 WGBH-SD Simulcast of WGBH-TV
44.2 WGBX-SD Main WGBX programming / PBS
44.3 Create GBH Create
44.4 Kids PBS Kids

Former Subchannels[]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Former Subchannels of WGBX-TV
Channel Video Aspect Short Name Programming
44.1 1080i 16:9 WGBX-HD Main WGBX programming / PBS
44.3 480i Create GBH Create
44.4 Kids PBS Kids

See also[]

  • Channel 32 digital TV stations in the United States
  • Channel 44 virtual TV stations in the United States
  • List of television stations in Massachusetts
  • List of United States stations available in Canada


TV stations in New England
WEDH, Bridgeport/Hartford/New Haven/Norwich

WCBB, Augusta/Bangor/Biddeford/Calais/Presque Isle
WGBH/WGBX, Boston; WGBY, Springfield
WENH, Durham/Keene/Littleton
WSBE, Providence
WETK, Burlington/St. Johnsbury/Rutland/Windsor

TV Stations in Greater Boston and southern New Hampshire
English stations Spanish stations New Hampshire
WGBH 2 (PBS) WUTF 27 (UMas) WMUR 9 (ABC)
WHDT-LD 3 (Ind) WCEA-LD 58 (Ind) WENH 11 (PBS)
WBZ 4 (CBS) WUNI 66 (UNI) WYCN-CD 15 (NBC)
WCVB 5 (ABC) WPXG 21 (Court TV)
WHDH 7 (Ind) WLEK-LD 22 (DrTV)
WBTS-LD 8 (NBC) WWJE 50 (Justice)
WFXZ-CD 24 (Biz TV) WEKW 52 (PBS)
WFXT 25 (Fox) WNEU 60 (TLM)
WSBK 38 (MNTV)
WGBX 44 (PBS)
WWDP 46 (Evine Live)
WYDN 48 (Daystar)
WLVI 56 (CW)
WDPX 58 (Bounce TV)
WMFP 62 (SBN)
WBPX 68 (Ion)
Defunct stations
WHDH 5 (ABC/CBS)
WNAC 7 (CBS/ABC)
WJZB 14 (Ind)
WNHT 21 (Ind/CBS)
WXPO 50 (Ind)
WTAO 56 (ABC/DuMont)
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