Collection Summary

The WUNC Collection contains special radio programs produced by North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC that focused on North Carolina issues in depth. Two of the specific topics included here are the Civil War and poverty. The collection also includes news and public affairs programming on a variety of other topics.

The collection includes sixteen “family stories” recorded for North Carolina Voices: Civil War, which examined how the Civil War affects people in North Carolina 150 years after the start of the war. The series aired the weeks of June 13th and June 20th, 2011, and looked at the legacy of the war, how it is remembered, and how it shapes the identity of Southerners.

North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty is a series of forty-six reports, documentaries, and call-in programs that aired in April 2005. The series contains two documentaries, multiple The State of Things programs, over twenty features and audio portraits broadcast on Morning Edition, and twenty-three “What is Poverty?” audio shorts. The series asks: What is poverty? And how has poverty changed since the 1960s? The series looks back to the 1960s, beginning with the North Carolina Fund, a five-year initiative to fight poverty that was launched in 1963. North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty examines how times have changed. The series uses a variety of narrative forms to give listeners access to competing perspectives about what poverty is today and how and why poverty is changing.

The collection also includes more than 40 hours of long-format news and public affairs programming features produced between 1976 and 1988. The WUNC station format during this time span enabled producers to air in-depth interviews and host roundtable discussions on a number of topics of public interest, including state politics and government; diversity; economic development in the Triad (made up of the cities of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem) and Triangle (including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) regions of North Carolina; economic and educational opportunity; transportation and infrastructure; criminal justice; environment and ecosystem; public health; and the performing and fine arts. This coverage, notable for both its depth and its breadth, served as a platform for diverse voices from across North Carolina in addition to widening the audience for high-profile events taking place on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. The reporter and producer of many of these segments was Fay Mitchell Henderson, a Black graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and a native of Eastern North Carolina. The collection includes live music performances that are available on location at the Library of Congress and GBH.

Collection Background

WUNC began as a FM station staffed by students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1952 and continued to operate until the early 1970s, when the station shut down due to failing equipment and lack of funds. WUNC was revived as an NPR affiliate on April 3, 1976, with a mix of news, commentary, and music and is associated with UNC-Chapel Hill. It broadcast from Swain Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, in basement studios adjacent to its sister television station, WUNC-TV. WUNC broadcasts to the Research Triangle and Piedmont area of North Carolina and Eastern North Carolina and since 1998 has been available globally as an online stream. Its programming consists primarily of news with music and entertainment programs airing on the weekend, as well as programs from NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International and the BBC. This collection was digitized through the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The fellows involved in the realization of this project were Dena Schultz (2017 Spring Fellow), Steven Wilcer (2018 Summer Fellow), and Michelle Moriarity Witt (2022-23 Fellow).