Starting next week, you’ll see and hear a new call sign for the Community Idea Stations.
The public broadcasting company is changing its name to VPM, which stands for Virginia’s home for Public Media.
On TV, that means Richmond’s WCVE PBS will be renamed VPM PBS. On the radio, WCVE News, 88.9 FM — which provides NPR, “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” — will become VPM News.
“We are changing our name to create one unified brand for all of our services in all of our markets to help audiences find us in a crowded media landscape,” said Lisa Tait, a spokesperson for the broadcasting company.
The change will go into effect Monday.
“I think it’s a good idea on their part,” said Kelly O’Keefe, a branding specialist and professor at the VCU Brandcenter. “A move to Virginia Public Media does a couple of things: It captures that it’s moving away from radio and TV to include digital, streaming and podcasts. I also think they’re wise to lay claim over Virginia. They have an expanding territory.”
The public broadcasting network, which started as WCVE, now has 14 stations in central Virginia.
The name change will affect all PBS stations in Richmond, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, as well as NPR stations in Richmond, Chase City and the Northern Neck.
Last year, WCVE added two new radio stations, 107.3 FM and 93.1 FM, to separate music from the news channel at 88.9 FM. Those sister radio channels will be called VPM Music under the name change.
In the past few years, the public broadcasting company has expanded radio service into the Northern Neck and Chase City areas. As the company has grown and the call signs have increased, keeping the brand consistent has been a challenge.
While the network has used the Community Idea Stations brand for almost 20 years, O’Keefe said he doesn’t think the company is throwing much equity away with the name change.
“I don’t know if the brand Community Idea Stations ever took hold as they hoped it would. People were used to calling it WCVE. It’s a moniker that’s tough to break. Community Idea Stations, while provocative, lacks the public term, like PBS or NPR,” O’Keefe said.
WCVW PBS, an alternate PBS TV station that provides repeats of the main PBS station and educational programming, will become VPM Plus. The PBS KIDS 24/7 channel will become VPM PBS Kids.
Beginning Monday, VPM’s newly redesigned website can be found at www.vpm.org. On social media, the company can be followed at @myVPM.