As the second speaker of three in our University Speaker series, Shannon Vickery, the Director of Production for UNC-TV, gave us a good overall picture of public television in North Carolina.
Her talk drew a large crowd to the auditorium recently; she said that “television today remains a popular medium, despite technological advancements that offer expanding opportunities for reaching viewers in new ways.”
UNC-TV’s Shannon Vickery, left, with Carolina Meadows residents Don Stedman, Helen Stedman and Roy Carroll during this year’s Festival fund-raising campaign
To illustrate just how popular, she said 97 percent of all households in the U.S. have TV sets, and 84 percent have two or more. She also reported that 83 percent of all homes now have computers, and “more and more people are going online to watch television.”
Despite its popularity, UNC-TV is constantly fighting the budget battle, she said. Although UNC-TV is a part of the University of North Carolina system, it receives only 40 percent of its $26.5 million budget from the State. The federal government tosses in 13 percent, and corporate and private donors, including those at Carolina Meadows, contribute the largest percentage – 47 percent.
She thanked her audience for their support and noted that Carolina Meadows is a corporate sponsor and set a goal of $20,000 for this year’s contribution. Carolina Meadows volunteers manned phones in the studio on March 20 as a part of the station’s Festival 2012 on-air campaign. Donors are added to the mailing list for the UNC-TV monthly TV guide, CenterPiece.
UNC-TV’s mission is “to provide enriching, life-changing programs through unique programs and public media services.” UNC-TV studios are located in Research Triangle Park, but the network operates 12 stations, with 12 digital transmitters spanning the state. UNC-TV is the most powerful communications vehicle in the state.
Vickery described the viewing habits of Americans in several ways, noting that of the hundreds of channels that are now on the air, we watch only about 18 in large numbers. On average, women watch television about five and a half hours a day, while with men it’s about five.
Children between the ages of two and 17 watch three and a half hours daily. Vickery said more than four million viewers watch UNC-TV weekly!
From resident Public Relations Committee member Clarence Whitefield