It’s hard to believe there was a time when television stations did not broadcast 24 hours a day. But for decades, TV stations would sign off overnight, often with a patriotic flair and some pageantry. UNC-TV is no exception, as the network (in the days before digital, we only broadcast the one signal, albeit statewide on many transmitters and translators) signed off at midnight. That time frame was extended until about 2am for a short while and then the full 24/7 experience that you’ve come to know and love.
But when did it happen?
If this sounds like a tough question, I assure you it is. I couldn’t recall the date or even the year. My supervisor didn’t remember. I even asked an engineer who has been with the organization even longer than I have (which is forever, it seems) and he didn’t know either. Eventually, a co-worker rummaged through some old Centerpiece magazines and found the answer.
So when did UNC-TV extend its broadcast schedule to 24 hours day? If you know the year, that’s impressive – but if you can remember the month as well then you have a far better memory than anyone who works here.
The answer? July of 2000. In fact, here is a pic of the rather unceremonious announcement in that month’s Centerpiece…
“For much of our history as a state and nation, streams and rivers were major impediments – and sources of power for grinding grain or sawing wood. Today, just the names in the form of signs harken back to the time in our history dominated by fords and mills.” – Tom Earnhardt, Exploring North Carolina (“Fords and Mills”)
A quick snap this week of some fridge magnets featuring old UNC-TV brands.
Just For Kids has been a part of our children’s programming since the 1990s but it will soon be phased out for our 24/7 Kids Channel brand, Rootle. And longtime viewers may recall the name North Carolina Public Television (NCPT). It’s what UNC-TV was called between the UNC Center For Public Television days and the current label.
Here’s a sight you honestly don’t see much anymore at a TV station – a videotape cassette. Specifically, one of Brain Maker with David Perlmutter, MD. If you’ve ever seen this pledge special, it’s entirely possible it was broadcast from this source.
In the early days of television, all programming was broadcast live but the introduction of magnetic tape in the broadcast industry allowed programs to be recorded and shown later. Over the years, the videotape sources have changed and this is probably one of the last to be used here at the station. Most of the shows you watch on the services of UNC-TV these days air from digital or satellite sources and not from tapes like the one seen above.
I noticed this bundle of fun located on a co-worker’s desk. It’s a clear backpack stuffed full of PBS Kids goodness. I did some digging and found out that the pack was to be given away as a prize to one of the attendees to the 2017 National Smart Start Conference in Greensboro.
The backpack includes a bevy of goods culled from the Community Engagement department (those folks have the coolest toys!). Among the items inside are: Continue reading →
I caught sight of this sign on a cabinet near one of the printers on my floor. As you can tell, it’s seen better days. That “UNC Center for Public Television” tag might give you a clue as to how old it is (we’ve gone through a few name changes since then). My guess is this sign was originally posted on one of our station vehicles as our crew worked on a remote shoot. Now, it’s just a tiny reminder that, yep, we work in television station.