During UNC-TV’s long and storied history, our facilities have been housed in different locations. Currently, we are in the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Communications Center in the Research Triangle Park. In the past, we have had studios on the both the North Carolina State campus in Raleigh and the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill. The watercolor pictures below are by Chapel Hill artist Kip Gerard and showcase the present locale in RTP and the original UNC studios in Swain Hall – complete with the remote truck used for off-site productions at the time. They are most likely reproductions but I spotted them hanging in our technical operations center and thought they were very cool.
Of all the sets used for local productions here at UNC-TV, the most fascinating will always be that of The Woodwright’s Shop with Roy Underhill. It is chock full of interesting knickknacks from previous seasons and all sorts of woodworking bric-a-brac. For instance, here’s a shot of a wooden boot on a stool. Nothing more, nothing less … just a wooden boot. A pretty cool sight nonetheless.
The volunteer experience at UNC-TV is pretty sweet. You get to meet some of the folks who make the original programming here at the station and you may even get a behind the scenes glimpse of how said productions are put together. Sometimes you get to meet other volunteers and talk to folks who help make these programs possible (in short – “viewers like you”). And you get to wear one of these stylish and sporty lanyards, which are de rigueur among the vol set here. They hold your name so that others can greet you properly and basically just make any volunteer ensemble.
The shot above is a close up of a basket of these lavender beauties. Sign up to volunteer at UNC-TV and maybe you’ll be wearing one of them in your future.
Below is a picture of one of the many sets constructed for local programs here at UNC-TV. You may recognize it as the Carolina Outdoor Journal set (and if you don’t recognize it, the décor might give it away).
[Note: I accidentally erased some photos and this one was lost. I’ll trying to replace it as soon as I can.]
Carolina Outdoor Journal airs on UNC-TV as well as the North Carolina Channel and UNC-EX, the Explorer Channel.
Do you know what this is? Seriously, I’m asking because I wasn’t sure. It’s been out back behind our station for years, possibly decades, and I’ve always regarded it as a piece of equipment that serves a function yet what function that was escaped me.
It looks like a huge satellite dish and that’s what it is essentially. I asked one our veteran engineers for the scoop and here’s what he said:
It is used to bring feeds from non-PBS satellite. We have a 6.1 M antenna and a 5.5 M antenna that are the primary receiving antennas for non-PBS feeds. The “backyard” 3.7 M antenna is supplemental and has a limited view of satellite arc but it has been used in the past especially during election coverage.
So there you have it. Still slightly more tech-speak than I’m used to or capable of understanding (trust me – UNC-TV engineers are working on a completely different level than those of us who work in programming) but I get the basics. We have towers and dishes and all sorts of sending and receiving apparatus around here (after all it is a television station) so you can be certain any piece of equipment with which you are unfamiliar does indeed serve a vital purpose.
I was rummaging through our storage bay recently when I spotted these two signs marked for surplus. (Surplus, as I understand it, is another larger off-site storage where the stuff we haven’t been using here at the station gets categorized as “probably never gonna re-use ever again.”) The signs were created, I’d guess, as part of a program or series we recorded some time back but I’ve no idea where or when. There is a Tarheel Educators (plural) listed in our programming database but it has not been broadcast within the last few decades and I don’t recall it personally. The circus sign is more mysterious – possibly a children’s program from long before my tenure here at UNC-TV? I can’t say for certain. But these little signs sure have piqued my interest.