Since its beginnings in 1955, WGBH has played a vital role in the evolution of noncommercial television in the United States, as America's preeminent public broadcasting producer. WGBH is the source of nearly one–third of PBS's prime–time lineup including ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre, Nova, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Arthur, and Zoom. While WGBH doesn't interrupt its programming for commercials, that doesn't mean there isn't an important role for corporate sponsors. The costs of production for these and other programs are underwritten by a wide range of public–spirited corporations, and FileMaker Pro is a vital tool in bringing both underwriters and programs together.
Back in 1997 PBS formed the National Sponsorship Group, the national salesgroup for most PBS programs. It involves several PBS affiliates including WGBH and its creation meant that different stations using different data–management technologies suddenly needed a way to exchange information efficiently and effectively. "Collaboration of the sales effort vastly increased opportunity by extending each team's network of business contacts to every other team," explains WGBH Software Development Director Dave Varon. "And the Sponsorship Group database had to be accessible anywhere in the country. The group had originally deployed an ACT! contact management system to facilitate collaboration and centralization, and a tremendous amount of time was spent by third–party consultants trying to customize the software —– but the consultants failed."