Departure of UNC-TV director leaves 'tough shoes to fill'
Posted October 7, 2013
Research Triangle Park, N.C. — At the UNC-TV studios in Research Triangle Park, editors are putting together a Tift Merritt concert recorded earlier this year in Raleigh.
It's an example of the kind of local programming Tom Howe has championed as general manager and director of North Carolina's public television system. Howe, the longest-serving GM, plans to step down Feb. 1.
“He came there in 1992, and immediately he started to increase the amount of local programming,” said Robb Teer, chairman of the UNC-TV Board of Trustees.
He said Howe also guided the system's conversion to digital television. UNC-TV now airs four separate channels of 24-hour programming.
“Our viewers are able to get more services and more programming from UNC-TV than ever before,” said Shannon Vickery with the operation.
Howe also completed UNC-TV's mission of building a 12-station network to cover the state with free, over-the-air public television service. He did all of it during tough times, Teer said. Budget cuts, especially at the state level, have hit UNC-TV hard, and viewer support now is more important than ever.
“Our viewers have stepped up and made up a lot of the money the state has cut from our budget,” he said.
Howe didn't want to be interviewed for this story. He's not the type to talk about his accomplishments.
But Teer said Howe's legacy gives UNC-TV a solid foundation for the future.
“His shoes are going be tough to fill,” he said. “Whoever comes in, though, is coming into a job where all the heavy lifting has been done.”