On Thursday November 8, 2012 Hickory Rotary Club welcomed Tom Howe, director and general manager of UNC-TV as the featured speaker. As the chief executive responsible for UNC-TV’s 12-station public television network, Tom manages a budget of $26.5 million and a staff of 160 employees.
Since 1992 Tom has overseen improved transmission statewide, as well as UNC-TV’s conversion to digital television. This also led to UNC-TV’s expansion from a single program service to four full-time services. During his tenure, statewide viewership has increased significantly, and now more than four million viewers watch UNC-TV weekly. This, along with a variety of new series and specials and a significant increase in original local productions, makes UNC-TV a very active network.
A graduate of San Diego State University, where he earned both a bachelor of science and master’s degrees, Tom has devoted more than 40 years to public television. Before coming to North Carolina, Tom spent ten years at KCTS in Seattle, and prior to Seattle, he served in positions in Albuquerque, New Mexico; in Nebraska; in Hawaii; and in San Diego, California. During his career he has supervised programs that have won numerous program awards, including a national Emmy, a Peabody Award, and more than 40 local Emmys.
Fast Facts about UNC-TV
- UNC-TV went on the air January 8, 1955, broadcasting as educational television station WUNC-TV in Chapel Hill.
- Today, UNC-TV is a 12-station network licensed to the University of North Carolina that provides statewide public television service. Funding for UNC-TV’s conversion to digital broadcasting technology, as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, resulted from voter passage of the Higher Education Improvement Bond referendum passed by North Carolina voters in November 2000.
- UNC-TV’s digital channels can all be received over the air with the proper equipment in the home. In addition, UNC-TV is available through all cable television providers in the state and from direct broadcast satellite providers.
- UNC-TV currently provides all 100 counties of North Carolina with four full-time broadcast digital program channels:
- UNC-TV – flagship channel in high definition
- UNC-KD – a children’s service for preschoolers and young school-age children
- UNC-EX – the Explorer Channel
- UNC-MX – an eclectic mix of informational programming available from select cable providers
- UNC-TV was one of the first public television providers of Web-streaming content, with a multitude of original series and programs available at unctv.org, as well as through the iTunes store. UNC-TV content is also available on YouTube, and there are UNC-TV pages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. UNC-TV online video players offer a growing variety of both PBS and UNC-TV original productions.
- North Carolina People with William Friday was UNC-TV’s longest-running program. It went on the air in 1971.
- Some 40% of UNC-TV’s program schedule features commercial-free and educational programming for children. Parents know that UNC-TV provides a safe haven for children.
- The focus on the need for local control of communications media is alive on UNC-TV. During 2010-2011, UNC-TV and its partners produced 357 hours of original local programming, making it a leader in the public television industry.
To find out more or to offer a pledge of support, visit the UNC-TV Website.