|Broadcast area||Research Triangle and eastern North Carolina|
|Frequency||91.5 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Format||Public Radio (News, Information, Specialty Music)|
|Subchannels||HD2: Adult album alternative|
|Affiliations||National Public Radio (NPR)|
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
American Public Media (APM)
BBC World Service
First air date
|April 3, 1976|
Call sign meaning
|WUNC: University of North Carolina|
|HAAT||415 meters (1,362 ft)|
WUNC (91.5 MHz) is a listener-supported public radio station, serving the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. It is licensed to Chapel Hill and is operated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On weekdays, WUNC carries National Public Radio, American Public Media, Public Radio Exchange, and BBC programming in an "all-news-and-information" format, including shows such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Fresh Air. On weekends, in addition to NPR weekend shows, WUNC 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 holds periodic on-air fundraisers seeking listener contributions.
The station operates five full-service FM repeater stations, WFSS from Fayetteville on 91.9; WRQM from Rocky Mount on 90.9; WBUX from Buxton on 90.5; WUND-FM from Columbia on 88.9; and WUNW-FM from Welcome on 91.1. WUNC should not be confused with WXYC, which is UNC's student radio station.
As of December 2021, WUNC has the highest ratings of any station in the Raleigh–Durham radio market.
WUNC was originally on the air for a brief time as an AM station in the 1940s, 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.
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 a news and information format, the station was a multi-format station of NPR news, classical music, and jazz music.
WRQM began in 1992 as a separate NPR station under the call letters WESQ, licensed to North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount. NCWC set up the station to fill the void left by the closure of WVSP, an African-American public radio station licensed to Warrenton but which moved to Rocky Mount in 1985, shortly before it closed. WESQ offered a variety of music that included country and R&B. When Wesleyan opted to cut ties with the station in 1995, a group of Rocky Mount business leaders known as Friends of Down East Public Radio bought the station and relaunched it as WRQM on March 31, 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. In March 1999, it began airing most of WUNC's schedule; it became a full repeater of WUNC that October.
WUND-FM in Columbia 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 in December 2013, providing increased coverage of WUNC to suburban communities in Davidson County, located south of Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
On May 13, 2015, officials announced the acquisition of WFSS, a public radio station licensed to Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville. Simulcasting of WUNC began at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2015. The sale closed in November.
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. From 1999 to 2020, it also aired 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 radio 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. 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 airs 1A, The Takeaway, It's Been A Minute and Here and Now. Many of these shows are distributed nationally by American Public Media, Public Radio Exchange, or WNYC.
WUNC is the home station of the American Homefront Project, which reports on military life and veterans issues.
WUNC broadcasts in the HD radio format. Since the Summer of 2016, WUNC has aired WUNC Music on its HD2 digital subchannel. WUNC Music specializes in adult album alternative (AAA), indie rock, Americana, and music by North Carolina artists.
In 2005, to reflect its growth into a network, WUNC rebranded as "North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC". The call letters of the other stations are identified only during required station identifications 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 broadcasts from the PBS North Carolina tower on Terrells Mountain in Chatham County, five miles west of Chapel Hill. It covers the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill). It also provides a strong city-grade signal to the eastern Piedmont Triad, including Greensboro and High Point, giving that region a second choice for NPR programming alongside that market's primary NPR station, WFDD in Winston-Salem. Terrells Mountain is roughly halfway between the Triangle and the Triad, and WUNC has long claimed Greensboro as part of its primary coverage area.
WRQM serves the far eastern portion of the Triangle market, as well as Greenville. WUND serves northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks, with WBUX covering southern Dare County. WUNW covers portions of Davidson County that aren't served by WUNC's main signal. WFSS is heard in the Fayetteville area. Combined, the six stations reach just over half of North Carolina's population, providing at least secondary coverage from the fringes of the Charlotte suburbs to the Outer Banks.
|Call sign||Frequency||City of license||Facility ID||Class||ERP|
|WBUX||90.5 FM||Buxton, North Carolina||91800||A||5,900|
|WUNC||91.5 FM (HD)||Chapel Hill, North Carolina||66581||C||100,000|
|WUND-FM||88.9 FM||Manteo, North Carolina||89274||C0||50,000|
|WFSS||91.9 FM||Fayetteville, North Carolina||21241||C1||100,000|
|WRQM||90.9 FM (HD)||Rocky Mount, North Carolina||49158||C2||7,500|
|WUNW-FM||91.1 FM||Welcome, North Carolina||172306||A||180|
|City of license||Facility ID||Class||ERP
|W216BE||91.1||Buxton, North Carolina||89947||D||50||WCPE|
|W260CU||99.9||Southern Pines, North Carolina||147236||D||10||WUNC|
While W216BE's primary station is WBUX, it is used to rebroadcast WCPE. Prior to 2016, WUNC leased WBUX to WCPE to carry its classical music programming; at that time, WUNC moved to the higher-power signal and WCPE's feed to the translator.