WUNC (FM)

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WUNC-FM
2010-WUNC-Logo.jpg
City of license Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Broadcast area Research Triangle and eastern North Carolina
Slogan Bringing the world home to you
Frequency 91.5 MHz
First air date April 3, 1976 [1]
Format News Talk Information
Power
Callsign meaning
Owner University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Webcast 152.2.63.68:8000/wunc128.m3u
152.2.63.68:8000/wunc64.m3u
Website wunc.org

WUNC-FM is the flagship National Public Radio member station for the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, broadcasting on the FM band at 91.5 MHz. Based in Chapel Hill and operated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it airs NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International, and BBC programming in an "all-news-and-information" format. On the weekends, the network broadcasts locally-produced folk music programming; the longest-running continuously-produced program offered by the station is Back Porch Music, a weekly folk and traditional music program.

WUNC should not be confused with WXYC, which is UNC's student radio station.

The station also operates three full-service FM repeater stations, WRQM, from Rocky Mount on 90.9; WUND-FM, from Manteo on 88.9; and WUNW-FM, from Welcome on 91.1.

Transmitters and programming[edit]

The network consists of four stations with WUNC being the primary station broadcasting from Chapel Hill on 91.5 FM.

All stations were referred to simply as "WUNC" until 2005. In that year, the station rebranded as "North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC", ostensibly to allow transition time between the two names. The call letters of the other stations are identified only during required station IDs at the start of each hour. However, in recent years, it has largely reverted to using "WUNC" as its main on-air name, with "North Carolina Public Radio" as a secondary brand.

WUNC's 100,000-watt signal not only covers Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle, but also covers much of the eastern portion of the Piedmont Triad, including Greensboro and High Point. This is because its transmitter is located on Terrell's Mountain in Chatham County, roughly halfway between Raleigh and Greensboro. WRQM serves the far eastern portion of the Triangle market, while WUND serves northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks. Combined, the three stations reach just over half of the state's population. WUNW signed on in December 2013, providing additional coverage to the suburban Winston-Salem communities of Welcome and Midway in the western portion of the Piedmont Triad.

Aside from Back Porch Music, WUNC also produces The People's Pharmacy with Joe and Terry Graedon, a nationally syndicated program first broadcast on WUNC in the early 1980s; and The State of Things, a regionally-syndicated local affairs show. The network began offering podcasts for The State of Things and other locally-produced news stories in September 2005.

WUNC's main studios are located in Chapel Hill near the Friday Center; in 2005, a second broadcast facility was opened in Durham's American Tobacco Historic District. On October 17, 2005, The State of Things began production at the new Durham location and broadcasts live about once a month remotely from Triad Stage in Greensboro. Other programs continue production in the Chapel Hill studios.

Dick Gordon, former host of WBUR's The Connection, began hosting a new interview show called The Story with Dick Gordon on February 16, 2006 that was co-produced with and nationally syndicated by American Public Media. The show's final program aired on WUNC on October 11, 2013. [2] Talk of the Nation had been dropped by WUNC-FM earlier in the year. Today, in addition to the aforementioned current programs plus NPR staples such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air with Terry Gross and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, WUNC-FM also is home to The Diane Rehm Show, Radio Times with Marty Moss-Cone, Car Talk reruns, Whad'Ya Know?, On The Media, This American Life, The Splendid Table, The Thistle & Shamrock, Mountain Stage and, of course, A Prairie Home Companion. Many of these shows are distributed nationally by American Public Media, Public Radio International or WNYC.

History[edit]

WUNC had originally been on the air for a brief time as an AM station in the 1940s[citation needed], then returned to the air in 1952 as a student-run FM station with equipment from Jefferson Standard Broadcasting, which had operated WBT-FM for several years. The original station stayed on the air until a lightning strike in 1970.[3]

WUNC signed on in its current incarnation on April 3, 1976. It immediately became the state's second NPR member. One of its earliest shows was Gary Shivers on Jazz, a jazz program produced by the station and syndicated regionally. (Shivers was the station's first program director and second General Manager.) WUNC had studios in Swain Hall on the UNC campus; it moved to a state-of-the-art studio near the Friday Center in 1999. Prior to its switch to its news and information format, the station was a multi-format station of NPR news, classical music and jazz music.[citation needed]

WRQM began as a separate NPR station in the early 1990s with the call letters WESQ, licensed to North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount. At one time, this was an African-American public radio station called WVSP and licensed to Warrenton. WESQ offered a variety of music that included country and R & B. The city of Rocky Mount bought the station and operated it with the on-air name "Down East Public Radio."[3] It was renamed WRQM in 1996. The station floundered for most of its existence, as there were just barely enough listeners in that area of the market for the station to be viable on its own. This caused a chronic shortage of financial support even after the city of Rocky Mount bought the station. In March 1999, it began airing portions of WUNC's schedule. It became a full repeater of WUNC that October.

WUND-FM in Manteo signed on March 24, 1999, bringing NPR programming to one of the few areas of North Carolina without a clear signal from a full-fledged NPR station.

WUNW-FM in Welcome signed on as a full-service FM station on 91.1 FM[4] in December 2013, providing increased coverage of WUNC to suburban communities in Davidson County, located south of Winston-Salem.

References[edit]

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