It's something you hear nearly every day, but do you know the origin of the term "SouthCoast?" We spoke with the man who played an enormous part in naming the region where we all live today.

His name is Todd Gross.  He was a meteorologist for decades on WHDH, channel 7 in Boston. He told us the story about how "the SouthCoast" came to be. Gross told us that in meteorological circles, the term SouthCoast had been regularly used while discussing weather in the late '70s and early '80s. It was an insider reference. "At the time, I had no idea that you guys hadn't used that term in a formal way," he said.

Listen to Todd Gross on Michael and Maddie

As Todd's career grew, he latched onto the SouthCoast name and really started implementing it on a nightly basis during his forecasts. "I wanted to give the term 'SouthCoast' life and an identity," said Gross. "I really liked the distinction. I liked that I could go on the air in Boston and segment different areas in different ways. There was the North Shore, the South Shore and the Cape, but you guys needed an identity. In my opinion, 'SouthCoast' needed to be highlighted over and over and over again, so I did."

Photo courtesy of Todd Gross
Photo courtesy of Todd Gross

First Use in Mainstream Culture

I asked Gross if it was fair to say that he was the first person to use the term "SouthCoast" in mainstream culture. Modestly, Gross dismissed the idea. "I didn't just conjure that term up in my brain; it was being used in inner circle discussions about weather," he said. He did admit, however, that he recognized "SouthCoast" as a term that could and should be universally used to describe our area. Gross believes he was the first person to use the term 'SouthCoast' in mainstream discussion.

As names for regions go, the SouthCoast is a relatively new moniker. I distinctly remember reading The Standard-Times newspaper on November 30th, 1996. The publisher of the newspaper, Bill Kennedy, wrote an article with a big announcement.

Beginning today The Standard-Times will be using that term to describe the towns and cities between Rhode Island and Cape Cod that are on or near the Atlantic Ocean or Buzzards Bay. --Bill Kennedy, Standard Times Publisher

This announcement came just six months after the merger of the three independent hospitals in the region: Tobey Hospital in Wareham, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Charlton Memorial in Fall River. When the three organizations decided to merge to form a stronger entity, they had the incredible foresight to name it Southcoast Hospitals Group. That is still the legal name to this day (Southcoast Health is just the name that is used for marketing and branding).

Insiders at Southcoast Health who were there at the time offered credit to a "Boston meteorologist" for making the name "SouthCoast" familiar. The Standard-Times announcement also referenced "one Boston TV weatherman" who had been "using the term for some years."

Taking the lead from the newly formed hospital group, The Standard-Times also decided to start referring to this region as the SouthCoast. Fun 107 became the SouthCoast's Number One Hit Music Station. The local high school sports conference became the SouthCoast Conference, and countless businesses and organizations adopted the term. It stuck!

Quite the influencer!

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