March 2019

Celebrating 64 years of public service across North Carolina, UNC-Public TV signed on as North Carolina’s first “educational station” in January 1955. Today, UNC-TV is a valuable source of education and entertainment. Its varied programming, including news and commentary, has propelled it into a major media presence across the state.

North Carolinians are rabid basketball fans. That love affair finds it roots in the fabled “Dixie Classic” (1949-1960), during the days when Everett Case was the coach at North Carolina State University. I found it interesting to learn that on the station’s inaugural broadcasting day, evening programming included the UNC vs. Wake Forest basketball game! For my readers who are new arrivals to the area, North Carolina is consumed by college basketball this time of year. March Madness is upon us once again. I even thought the phrase “March Madness” originated in North Carolina until I did a little research several years ago. I wrote about March Madness and Tobacco Road in the March 2017 newsletter. Click here to learn more about this Tarheel passion.

But back to UNC-TV....

UNC-TV’s mission is as follows: Television has the power to change lives. Public television has the responsibility to change lives for the better. UNC-TV’s unique programs provide people of all ages with enriching, life-changing television.

Three visionaries – Billie Carmichael, UNC VP of finance, Kay Kyser, dedicated Carolina alumnus and famous band leader, and Bill Friday, who became president of the university system – spearheaded efforts to bring educational television to the state. In the 1950s, the consolidated University of North Carolina system consisted of three institutions – the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University in Raleigh (known as State College), and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (known as Woman’s College). UNC-TV programming originated in studios on each of the campuses.

However the story of UNC-TV’s early beginnings wouldn’t be complete without mention of the generosity of Joseph Bryan, a former Greensboro businessman and president of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting. Mr. Bryan planned to apply for the license for one of the limited number of channels reserved by the FCC for educational use, with the goal of growing his media presence in the Triangle. When he learned of the university’s interest, he withdrew his application, fully supporting UNC’s efforts to secure the license for “educational TV’ in North Carolina.

The vision of using television to provide enriching, life-changing educational opportunities for North Carolinians continued to grow in the ensuing decades. In the early 1960s, the General Assembly appropriated funds to expand the university’s program to a statewide network of stations. In 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was established to encourage and foster development of public broadcasting. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted in 1968 and Sesame Street followed in 1969.

During the early 1990s, UNC President C.D. Spangler, Jr. initiated a focus to make local programming a top priority. In 1997, the FCC required all television stations to convert to digital technology. It is a testament to then UNC President Molly Broad’s leadership that the General Assembly included funding for UNC-TV’s digital conversion in the 2000 Higher Education Improvement Bond. The referendum passed with the support of 73% of the electorate.

Today, with 12 stations reaching all North Carolinians, UNC-TV’s unique programs and services continue to provide people of all ages and backgrounds enriching, life-changing television. I encourage you to explore the varied programming offered. I am especially drawn to Thursday night programming with the emphasis on local programs exploring North Carolina’s rich history, geography and culture. There is much to be learned about our great state on Exploring North Carolina, North Carolina Weekend, Our State, NC Spin and others.

And I do hope you will also consider exploring North Carolina with me! We are excited to offer many tours this year that highlight all this great state has to offer.

Won’t you join us?

Don’t just see North Carolina. Experience it!

(919) 302-0574

North Carolina's State Symbols

Did you know North Carolina has an official state historical boat? In tribute to the historic boatbuilding legacy of the coast, the General Assembly designated the Shad boat as the official state historical boat in 1987. Built to easily maneuver the shallow water and rapidly changing weather conditions of the inner banks, this small sailing craft was ideal for fishermen pursuing the shad that travel from the ocean into the sounds, rivers and creeks each spring to spawn. The first shad boat was built by George Washington Creef in 1880 on Roanoke Island. We’ll have the opportunity to see a replica of that boat at the George Washington Creef Boathouse when we travel to Manteo June 4-6, 2019.

Illustration of Shad boat; image from North Carolina Secretary of State (fair use; educational, nonprofit).

Join us in New Bern!

There's still time left! Travel east with us on March 27th to New Bern, North Carolina’s colonial capital, and see “where American independence took root and the state of North Carolina was born.” Visit the North Carolina History Center; have lunch at Lawson’s Landing; and see the state’s royal colonial history come alive through costumed interpreters during a tour of Tryon Palace. Take time to visit the Tryon Palace gardens and additional historical buildings associated with the site before boarding our deluxe motorcoach for the return trip to Raleigh. The first five people who enter the promotional code NEWBERN20 will receive $20 off their tour ticket!

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What Our Guests are Saying About Us

"The trip to the North Carolina High Country provided an opportunity for us to learn about the Ben Long frescoes, Grandfather Mountain beauty, Elliott Daingerfield art and Eseeola Lodge’s history. Mary Esther’s planning and attention to detail provided us an incredible experience."

"I am a frequent traveler with Mary Esther and Visit NC Concierge. Each trip is well planned, very organized and provides experiences I could never create on my own. I highly recommend Visit NC Concierge if you seek to experience, learn and have all the planning done for you while visiting sites in North Carolina."

"Mary Esther is always available to answer any questions you may have and with great patience. She also is very willing to help solve any problem you may have. She is an excellent planner, director and tour guide. Her trips have been super!"

"Just a short note to tell you how much we enjoyed our curated trip to the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit yesterday. It was truly first class ... It was our first trip with you and certainly will not be our last."

"We were very well educated as to what we would be doing and what we needed to do to make it all happen. Everything flowed as expected."

"We loved the carriage tour through the historic district. The homes and buildings were beautiful. We loved everything we did and thought each stop was delightful. Exceeded expectations."

"What I appreciate is that you provide guests an opportunity to learn and experience a part of NC while you take care of all the logistics and details!"

Contact us to book your tour today! 
visit NC concierge is a premier hospitality company dedicated to providing the discriminating traveler unique experiences savoring North Carolina’s history, geography, and culture at a leisurely travel pace while enjoying the state’s finest sites, cuisine, and lodgings. Itineraries are subject to change at the discretion of the company. Group size: minimum 10; maximum 30. Registration for each tour closes 30 days prior to tour start date. For more information, visit us at
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