Another dip into the archives this week as we take a look back at the production of an educational program from the formative days on UNC-TV. There’s not a date on the photograph but it looks to be 1950s, perhaps early 1960s. Sadly, no idea as to the name of the program or the talent involved either. However, I’m pretty certain this was taken inside the original WUNC studios on the UNC campus (the old Swain Hall facilities).
I caught sight of these projections on floor of our main studio a while back. I’m not sure if they were experimentations or they were used during some project destined for broadcast or what the purpose was exactly. Regardless, these light projections were pretty neat. Check out the UNC-TV logo and our Rootle brand.
This week, we take another gaze into the deep past of UNC-TV – way back when it was just one channel based on the UNC campus. What you see below is the original remote truck out back at Swain Hall in Chapel Hill. The crew appears to be setting up equipment for a live broadcast. Honestly, I’m not sure what’s going on (we do things a little differently today, as you might well imagine). It appears to be from the 1950s, perhaps early 1960s. Regardless, this is a fascinating look into the beginnings of the statewide public broadcasting network you know and love today.
Public television viewers are well familiar with that regular occurrence, the on-air fundraiser. For years, the pledge drive has been a staple of the PBS revenue stream – that time of year when we come to viewers like you and ask for support. Often parodied, sometimes mocked, the fund drive is a necessary scheme to achieve our goals. However, what you see on your screen is only the tip of the iceberg. Hours of production, scheduling, meetings, planning – all of this goes into the final product. The station is often abuzz with excess activity during these pledge periods with talent and volunteers and special guests moving through our halls and into our studios. But behind the scenes … ah, that’s where much of the magic happens.
Here’s a shot of a white board used to plan an evening of on-air fundraising. What it all means, I can’t possibly say. But I guarantee that every scribble and every abbreviation means something to someone making pledge happen.
UNC-TV is currently located in the Research Triangle Park in the spacious Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Communications Center. The facility opened in 1989. Before that, we were a bit more spread out. We had studios on the UNC-CH and NCSU campuses. Master control was off in Chatham County. And our primary offices were in the UNC General Administration building.
Conglomerating all of our staff and broadcast facilities under one roof certainly helped streamline our production process. However, there are many who wistfully remember those days when UNC-TV was more diffuse. Below, you’ll see a lovely photo of our Chapel Hill production studios which was located in UNC’s Swain Hall. For those of us who got our start there, this sight prompts fond memories.
I spied these fine examples of ornamental pottery in our storage area some time back. I have no idea if they were ever used as set pieces or will ever be used but there they sit, awaiting any opportunity to enhance any on-air broadcast. Keep a lookout for them in upcoming UNC-TV original productions.
Note: I’ve been informed by a long-time production colleague that the pictured pottery was mostly likely used on the NORTH CAROLINA NOW set and perhaps even repurposed for our BIOGRAPHICAL CONVERSATION series.
Another dip into the archives for a look into UNC-TV’s past. This week, a vintage pic from the set of the UNC-TV original series ALMANAC GARDENER. I certainly recognize Mike Gray, host of the show. The others are not immediately known to me. One appears to be the host of a cooking segment and the others may be a producer, director or even a guest. I estimate the photograph to be from the early days of the series so this could be taken on a set from our old studios in Raleigh.