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WQED gets a new identity

Friday, September 27, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Move over WQED Pittsburgh. Make room for WQED Multimedia.

Beginning in January, that will be the new name for the Oakland company that includes WQED-TV, WQED-FM and Pittsburgh Magazine.

At yesterday's annual meeting, the board of directors approved the name change, a branding initiative designed to be "more relevant, more hip and more interesting." The company's slogan will be "Stay Connected."

A new logo was also unveiled, but WQED executives would not release it publicly. It shows a purple "Q" with a red ball at either end of the arm through the letter.

Each WQED entity will get its own logo and the new look will be adopted on corporate stationery, company vehicles and direct mailings. A new music package that will be heard on television, on radio and on the company's Web site will also be developed.

WQED's senior vice president/station manager, B.J. Leber, said no cost for the new branding strategy had been determined, but The Branding Group, which designed the new logo, donated "a significant portion" of their services.

Leber said the new identity is "the next step in the evolution of WQED" that is intended to "communicate that we are a seamless multimedia organization."

The board also approved a $23.4 million budget for the new fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, through Sept. 30, 2003. The break-even budget reflects a 6.1 projected increase in revenue over this fiscal year. It includes a capital investment of $920,000 for technical facilities and building improvements, possibly the removal of the stairs at the front of the WQED complex "so this doesn't feel like a mausoleum," said WQED President George Miles.

The new budget does not include proceeds from the anticipated sale of WQEX.

Herbert Bennett Conner replaced outgoing board Chairman Thomas McGough Jr., who was named a trustee emeritus. James Abraham was named vice-chairman.

New members elected to the board were Ellen Brooks, William Byham, Carolyn Duronio, Hilda Fu, Daniel Lebish, John Schneider and Richard Stover.

The board also approved 15 new Community Advisory Board members: Greg Behr, Sandy Caffo, Debra Caplan, Louis Castelli, Aradhna Dhanda, James Droney, Steven Frank, Carolyn Leonard Carson, JoAnn McBride, Cynthia McCormick, Dee Jay Oshry, Renee Shaw, Aleina Smith, Elizabeth Swaim and Anthony Williams.

Former board members can now be voted to an honor board, whose members have nonvoting status. Honor board members named yesterday were Eva Blum, Carolyn Byham, Gwen Elliott, Brenda Gregg, Jack Isherwood, Diana Jannetta, Julius Jones, Lawrence Kaplan, Donald Korb, Mary Lou McLaughlin, Bill Rackoff and Herman Reid.

Rob Owen can be reached at 412-263-2582 or rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments about TV to www.post-gazette.com/tv under PG Online Talk.

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