Commonwealth Journal originally began airing in 1987. Due to lack of funding, production was suspended in 1992. It resumed in 1999 when WUMB Radio partnered with the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, and Commonwealth Journal became a weekly talk show in March 2000. Since 2008, the University of Massachusetts Boston has supported the show.
Since 2000, Commonwealth Journal has produced more than 500 talk segments with nearly 700 different guests.
Commonwealth Journal has won more than a dozen state and international awards from organizations that include:
- Massachusetts Broadcasters Association
- Associated Press
- American Cancer Society
- International Festivals of New York