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PBS North Carolina

University of North Carolina Center for Public Media
TypeNon-commercial educational broadcast television network
BrandingPBS North Carolina
United States
Availabilitystatewide North Carolina
TV stationsSee § Stations
TV transmitters12
Headquarters10 UNC-TV Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC
OwnerUniversity of North Carolina
Launch date
January 8, 1955; 69 years ago (1955-01-08)
Picture format
Affiliation(s)PBS, APT
NET (1955–1970)
Official website

The University of North Carolina Center for Public Media, branded on-air as PBS North Carolina or commonly PBS NC, is a public television network serving the state of North Carolina. It is operated by the University of North Carolina system, which holds the licenses for all but one of the thirteen PBS member television stations licensed in the state—WTVI (channel 42) in Charlotte is owned by Central Piedmont Community College. The broadcast signals of the twelve television stations cover almost all of the state, as well as parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The network's operations are located at the UNC Center for Public Television at Research Triangle Park between Raleigh and Durham.



WUNC-TV in Chapel Hill, the state network's flagship station, first signed on the air on January 8, 1955, as the second non-commercial educational television station located south of Washington, D.C.—one day after Cheaha, Alabama–licensed WCIQ-TV. Over the next twelve years, four more satellite stations signed on. WUND-TV in Edenton (originally WUNB-TV, licensed to Columbia) was the first of these satellites to debut on September 10, 1965, followed by the launches of WUNE-TV in Linville, WUNF-TV in Asheville, and WUNG-TV in Concord—all on September 11, 1967, and WUNJ-TV in Wilmington on June 4, 1971. This was supplemented with a network of translator stations in the Appalachian Mountains that also allowed the network's programming to reach across the entire state.

Logo under the "UNC-TV" brand, used from 1995 to January 11, 2021; the circular "hurricane" emblem had been used in some capacity since 1978.

Five additional satellites debuted afterward: WUNK-TV in Greenville in May 1972, WUNL-TV in Winston-Salem in February 1973, WUNM-TV in Jacksonville in November 1982, WUNP-TV in Roanoke Rapids in October 1986, and WUNU-TV in Lumberton in September 1996. The state network's youngest station, WUNW in Canton, signed on in July 2010 to replace a translator that had served the area since the 1980s. The state network was branded on-air as North Carolina Public Television from 1979 to the mid-1990s, when it rebranded itself as University of North Carolina Television. It simplified the brand name to UNC-TV later in the 1990s; it had previously used that brand for most of the 1970s. On January 12, 2021, in recognition of PBS' growing online content delivery, the state network rebranded itself as "PBS North Carolina," while continuing to acknowledge its ties to the university system as being "Powered by the UNC System".[1]



The state network produces many programs of local interest, including the weeknightly public affairs program North Carolina Now, Our State, Carolina Outdoor Journal, Exploring North Carolina, North Carolina Bookwatch with D. G. Martin, and special programs about the state's history and culture. It also produces The Woodwright's Shop, Growing a Greener World, The Zula Patrol, and Song of the Mountains for national distribution. In addition to PBS and American Public Television programs and local productions, the station also runs programming from the United Kingdom, including "Britcoms" on Saturday evenings and the soap opera EastEnders on Sunday evenings. In the 1990s, UNC-TV introduced "Read-A-Roo," a kangaroo used as the mascot for the network's children's programming. PBS North Carolina airs its own public affairs programming on Sunday mornings.



PBS NC operates twelve stations that relay its programming across the entire state as well as into portions of Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Each station's callsign consists of "UN" for the University of North Carolina, followed by a letter assigned sequentially in the order in which it was activated, except for the first station.

Station City of license[a]
Facility ID ERP HAAT Transmitter coordinates First air date Public license information
WUNC-TV Chapel Hill 4 (20) 69080 1,000 kW 461.9 m (1,515 ft) 35°51′59″N 79°10′0.5″W / 35.86639°N 79.166806°W / 35.86639; -79.166806 (WUNC-TV) January 8, 1955
WUND-TV Edenton[b] 2 (29) 69292 657 kW 489.8 m (1,607 ft) 35°54′1″N 76°20′44″W / 35.90028°N 76.34556°W / 35.90028; -76.34556 (WUND-TV) September 10, 1965[c]
WUNE-TV Linville 17 (36) 69114 1,000 kW 546.9 m (1,794 ft) 36°3′50″N 81°50′32″W / 36.06389°N 81.84222°W / 36.06389; -81.84222 (WUNE-TV) September 11, 1967[d]
WUNF-TV Asheville 33 (20) 69300 125 kW 816 m (2,677 ft) 35°25′32″N 82°45′24″W / 35.42556°N 82.75667°W / 35.42556; -82.75667 (WUNF-TV) September 11, 1967[e]
1,000 kW 550.7 m (1,807 ft) 35°13′20″N 82°32′58″W / 35.22222°N 82.54944°W / 35.22222; -82.54944 (WUNF-TV)
1.73 kW −144.8 m (−475 ft) 35°28′25.4″N 83°19′22.5″W / 35.473722°N 83.322917°W / 35.473722; -83.322917 (WUNF=TV)
WUNG-TV Concord 58 (21) 69124 260 kW 416.7 m (1,367 ft) 35°21′30.7″N 80°36′36.4″W / 35.358528°N 80.610111°W / 35.358528; -80.610111 (WUNG-TV) September 11, 1967
WUNJ-TV Wilmington 39 (21) 69332 1,000 kW 294.5 m (966 ft) 34°19′17.2″N 78°13′41.4″W / 34.321444°N 78.228167°W / 34.321444; -78.228167 (WUNJ-TV) June 4, 1971
WUNK-TV Greenville 25 (25) 69149 1,000 kW 348 m (1,142 ft) 35°33′11″N 77°36′4.8″W / 35.55306°N 77.601333°W / 35.55306; -77.601333 (WUNK-TV) May 7, 1972
WUNL-TV Winston-Salem 26 (33) 69360 1,000 kW 500.2 m (1,641 ft) 36°22′31.7″N 80°22′17.5″W / 36.375472°N 80.371528°W / 36.375472; -80.371528 (WUNL-TV) February 22, 1973
WUNM-TV Jacksonville 19 (28) 69444 700 kW 562.1 m (1,844 ft) 35°6′16″N 77°20′11″W / 35.10444°N 77.33639°W / 35.10444; -77.33639 (WUNM-TV) November 16, 1982
WUNP-TV Roanoke Rapids 36 (27) 69397 248 kW 364 m (1,194 ft) 36°17′29.2″N 77°50′9.4″W / 36.291444°N 77.835944°W / 36.291444; -77.835944 (WUNP-TV) October 16, 1986
WUNU Lumberton 31 (30) 69416 329 kW 317.1 m (1,040 ft) 34°47′51″N 79°2′41″W / 34.79750°N 79.04472°W / 34.79750; -79.04472 (WUNU) September 23, 1996
WUNW Canton 27 (27) 83822 115 kW 504.9 m (1,656 ft) 35°34′7″N 82°54′26.2″W / 35.56861°N 82.907278°W / 35.56861; -82.907278 (WUNW) July 21, 2010
0.9 kW 429.2 m (1,408 ft) 35°10′36.4″N 82°40′53.5″W / 35.176778°N 82.681528°W / 35.176778; -82.681528 (WUNW)
0.94 kW 320.7 m (1,052 ft) 36°2′0.4″N 82°12′8.5″W / 36.033444°N 82.202361°W / 36.033444; -82.202361 (WUNW)
0.88 kW 570.2 m (1,871 ft) 35°7′56.7″N 82°59′0.6″W / 35.132417°N 82.983500°W / 35.132417; -82.983500 (WUNW)
0.94 kW 279.5 m (917 ft) 35°24′47″N 83°30′2″W / 35.41306°N 83.50056°W / 35.41306; -83.50056 (WUNW)
0.94 kW −146 m (−479 ft) 35°18′12.4″N 83°10′39.5″W / 35.303444°N 83.177639°W / 35.303444; -83.177639 (WUNW)


  1. ^ Aside from their transmitters, the network's stations (except WUNC-TV) do not maintain any physical presence in their cities of license.
  2. ^ WUND-TV was originally licensed to Columbia; the license was moved to Edenton in 2005, effectively gaining must-carry rights in the Norfolk–Newport News–Portsmouth television market, which includes several northeastern North Carolina counties.[2]
  3. ^ WUND-TV formerly used the callsign WUNB-TV from its 1965 inception to 1967.
  4. ^ WUNE-TV formerly used the callsign WUND-TV during its construction permit from 1966 to 1967.[3]
  5. ^ WUNF-TV formerly used the callsign WVLE during its construction permit from 1966 to 1967.[4]

Digital television




PBS NC's current over-the-air digital configuration, which is multiplexed among three subchannels, was introduced on September 25, 2008. On that date, UNC-TV revised its subchannel lineup on its stations, reducing the number of channels to three: UNC-TV (the main channel of each station, which now carries high definition programming), and the standard definition-only services UNC-KD and UNC-EX ("The Explorer Channel"). UNC-TV HD and UNC-EX are also available to DirecTV customers with MPEG4-compatible receivers. Prior to February 1, 2016, Time Warner Cable customers also received UNC-MX (described as "an eclectic mix of programming for adults") in standard definition; the North Carolina Channel has since replaced UNC-MX on Time Warner Cable systems.[5] Prior to November 1, 2009, the third subchannel was named UNC-NC.[6]

This configuration is used for WUNC, WUND, WUNF, WUNG, WUNJ, WUNK, WUNL, and WUNU:

PBS NC multiplex[7]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
xx.1 1080i 16:9 PBS NC PBS
xx.2 480i ROOTLE PBS Kids Channel
xx.3 UNC-EX The Explorer Channel[8]
xx.4 NCCHL The North Carolina Channel

An alternate configuration is used for WUNE, WUNM, WUNP, and WUNW. The original purpose for this was to obtain must-carry status for UNC-KD since those are secondary stations in their respective markets.[9] On June 15, 2010, UNC-KD switched subchannels with UNC-EX on the four stations previously mentioned, which transferred UNC-KD's must-carry status to UNC-EX.[10]

Subchannels of WUNE, WUNM, WUNP, and WUNW[11]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
xx.1 480i 16:9 UNC-EX The Explorer Channel
xx.2 1080i PBS NC PBS
xx.3 480i ROOTLE PBS Kids Channel
xx.4 NCCHL The North Carolina Channel

Subscribers of Charter Spectrum, the major cable provider in the state, have direct-fiber optic versions of each of PBS North Carolina's networks rather than an antenna feed of their local station, as Spectrum forerunner company Time Warner Cable built out a direct connection to PBS NC's studios at the RTP, a connection inherited by Spectrum parent Charter Communications when it merged with Time Warner Cable in 2016.

Cable providers with a direct fiber optic link to UNC-TV (including Spectrum) formerly had exclusivity in carrying UNC-MX (formerly UNC-ED) on their digital tiers. UNC-MX featured a mix of how-to and public affairs programs, along with encore presentations of programs originally broadcast on main UNC-TV service. On February 1, 2016, UNC-MX was renamed UNC-NC "The North Carolina Channel" and was added over-the-air on DT-4, allowing full access to the service by over-the-air and non-Spectrum viewers.[12] On July 2, 2016, UNC-KD was rebranded as ROOTLE.[13]

Prior to September 25, 2008, UNC-TV formerly operated four digital channels: in addition to the main signal on the primary channel, the second digital subchannel of each station carried UNC-HD (which carried PBS and regional programming in high-definition), the third subchannel carried UNC-KD (which carried children's programs), the fourth subchannel carried UNC-ED (an educational television service) and the fifth subchannel carried UNC-NC (centering on North Carolina public affairs and original local productions). Due to bandwidth limitations at the time, the over-the-air feed of UNC-HD was only available between 8-11 p.m., during which UNC-ED and UNC-NC ceased transmission in the interim. Cable systems with a direct fiber link to UNC-TV facilities aired all five channels on a 24-hour schedule.

On April 16, 2018, WRAY-TV and WLXI were merged onto WUNC's spectrum, after parent company Tri-State Christian Television (TCT) sold the stations' individual bandwidth in the 2016 FCC incentive auction.[14][15] WUNC is the only station in the 12-station network that has a channel sharing agreement.[16]

Analog-to-digital conversion


UNC-TV's stations ended regular programming on their analog signals on June 12, 2009, the official date on which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital channel allocations pre- and post-transition are as follows:[17]

Call sign Analog
digital channel
digital channel
FCC Repack
Plan (2017)[18]
WUNC 4 59 25 20
WUND 2 20 20 29
WUNE 17 54 17 36
WUNF 33 25 25 20
WUNG 58 44 44 21
WUNJ 39 29 29 21
WUNK 25 23 23 25
WUNL 26 32 32 33
WUNM 19 18 19 28
WUNP 36 39 36 27
WUNU 31 25 31 30
WUNW 27 27

All channels retained their original numbering for display to viewers via PSIP.

UNC-TV opted not to join other broadcasters in the Wilmington market in an early switch to digital-only broadcasts on September 8, 2008, nine months ahead of the national transition deadline.[19] Following that date, WUNJ-TV became only full-power station in Wilmington that continued to broadcast an analog signal until the national digital transition on June 12, 2009.

As part of the SAFER Act, WUND and WUNF kept its analog signal on the air until July 12 (for WUND) and June 26 (for WUNF) to inform viewers of the digital television transition through a loop of public service announcements from the National Association of Broadcasters.[20]

ATSC 3.0


On March 22, 2021, WUNC-TV began broadcasting in ATSC 3.0, with a 1080p stream (virtual channel 4.11) on Capitol Broadcasting Company's host station WARZ-CD (now WNGT-CD).[21] On June 29, 2021, WUNK-TV was converted to ATSC 3.0 with all sub-channels included. While a simulcast of WUNK-TV is shared on WUNM-TV, areas outside WUNM-TV are covered by other nearby network stations, thus the conversion did not result in any loss of over-the-air PBS service.[22][23]



PBS NC operates 19 translators. Each translator is assigned to the license of a parent PBS NC full-power station, all of which simulcast the same network signal. Two directly repeat WUNC-TV, two directly repeat WUNE-TV, two directly repeat WUNG-TV, three directly repeat WUNL-TV, and 10 directly repeat WUNF-TV.

The 17 mountain-based translators serve as low-power, limited-area repeaters that bring the network's signal to towns in deep mountain valleys where the parent signal is blocked by the surrounding terrain. The translators of WUNC-TV act as digital replacement translators serving the few areas of the Triangle where WUNC-TV lost over-the-air coverage during the analog-digital conversion in 2009.

The following digital replacement translators rebroadcast WUNC-TV:

The following translators rebroadcast WUNE-TV:

The following translators rebroadcast WUNF-TV:

The following translators rebroadcast WUNG-TV:

The following translators rebroadcast WUNL-TV:

The licenses for translators in Bakersville (W42AX-D), Brevard (W19DD-D), Bryson City (W46AX-D), Cashiers (W42DF-D) and Cullowhee (W47DM-D) were surrendered to the Federal Communications Commission and cancelled on October 27, 2021. These were replaced with a distributed transmission system using the channel 27 frequency of WUNW.

Cable and satellite carriage


PBS NC is carried on all cable television providers in North Carolina. In Georgia, Kinetic TV carries WUNF in Blairsville. In South Carolina, Charter Spectrum carries WUNF in Greenville and Spartanburg, and WUNJ in Conway and Myrtle Beach. In Tennessee, Charter Spectrum carries WUNE and SkyBest TV carries WUNL, in Mountain City. In Virginia, WUND is carried by Cox Communications and Xfinity in the southern portion of the Hampton Roads market, WUNL is carried by Chatmoss Cablevision and Xfinity in Danville, and WUNP is carried on Xfinity in South Boston and South Hill.

On AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, and Dish Network, WUNC-TV, WUNG, WUNL, WUNF, WUND, WUNJ, and WUNU are carried on the respective local feeds for the Research Triangle, Charlotte, the Piedmont Triad, Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, Hampton Roads, Wilmington, and Florence/Myrtle Beach markets. In previous years, WUNL has also been carried on the Roanoke DirecTV feed;[26] the Piedmont Triad market includes portions of western Virginia.

See also



  1. ^ "New Name. Same Public Media You Trust. Coming January 2021". UNC-TV. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  2. ^ "UNC-TV ONLINE: About Us: Pressroom". Archived from the original on December 19, 2005. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "FCC History Cards for WUNE-TV".
  4. ^ "FCC History Cards for WUNF-TV" (PDF).
  5. ^ "The North Carolina Channel | UNC-TV — Life-changing television". Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  6. ^ "Exclusive News for Facebook Fans like April Green: UNC-TV Announces an Exciting New Service Coming on November 1...UNC-EX". Facebook. October 2, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  7. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WUNC".
  8. ^ UNC-TV Presents...UNC-EX The Explorer Channel Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  9. ^ "Charlotte, NC - OTA". Archived from the original on February 7, 2013.
  10. ^ "Power Outage Problem - Help". DBSTalk Community.
  11. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for WUNE".
  12. ^ "Ask SAM: Are chickens allowed in the city?". Winston-Salem Journal. January 23, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Caine, Brooke (July 1, 2016). "UNC-TV launches Rootle, a new statewide 24-hour channel for kids". News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "Channel Sharing Transition PSA and Crawl Regarding WRAY, Channel 42, Wilson, NC" (PDF). FCC. April 16, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "Channel Sharing Transition PSA and Crawl Regarding WLXI, Channel 43, Randleman, NC" (PDF). FCC. April 16, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "UNCTV - FAQs". UNCTV. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  17. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  18. ^ "RabbitEars.Info: Repack Plan for UNC-TV". April 13, 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "UPDATED List of Participants in the Analog Nightlight Program" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. June 12, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  21. ^ Miller, Mark (March 25, 2021). "PBS North Carolina Launches NextGen TV". TV News Check. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  22. ^ "Modification to License (Next Gen) - LMS File No. 0000124910". FCC LMS. April 7, 2021.
  23. ^ Restauro, Dennis (June 28, 2021). "NextGen TV: What TV Viewers Need to Know About ATSC 3.0". Grounded Reason. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  24. ^ "Licensing and Management System". Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  25. ^ "Licensing and Management System". Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  26. ^ "SVTV Stations - the things you care that others won't". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
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PBS North Carolina
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