The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

UNC Asheville provides 24-hour educational programming through its public access channel

Aarionna Clackler
The control room in the video production lab where UNCAET is made.
Kent Thompson shows his current programming schedule. (Aarionna Clackler)

Since 1999, UNC Asheville has provided programming for public educational television. Today this tradition continues as UNCA Educational Television, from the bottom floor of Ramsey Library.

UNCAET is a public access television channel and a streaming channel that runs on a 24-hour cycle. 

The channel streams many school-related events such as events, lectures, concert videos provided by the music department and student-made films. 

“Over the years, it has been two things: a great way for us to share cool things that are happening on campus, we certainly will air graduation, speakers, performances, sometimes lectures of our own faculties lectures and visiting lectures, as well as student-created videos and theater performances,” said Brandy Bourne, university librarian. 

Behind UNCAET is Kent Thompson, who has been with the channel since its beginning. Thompson is the video production manager and oversees UNCAET. He has kept the channel afloat throughout various changes in ownership and status, even finding funding recently which he said will help create a sustainable operation. 

The video production lab, which contains a TV studio and control room, is where UNCAET is run out of. Student employees are involved in the filming and editing of the channel. This provides hands-on experience with high-quality production tools.

“The students who have worked with Kent have gone on to do some really cool things. He has a list of cool professions, cool places that students have ended up. They’ve gone to Cartoon Network, they’ve gone to lots of cool jobs. So yeah, I think it’s really valuable,” said Bourne. 

UNCA student Emma Perrotta works in the video lab as the Graphics/Motion Designer. She also believes that UNCAET is a great resource for students. 

“It’s really accessible and easy to use, as well as the news channel and stuff, putting out information and seeing it is really nice because it’s student based, and it’s students who work on the projects, as well as the YouTube stuff,” said Perrotta. “It’s all geared for students to see. So it’s just a really nice resource and accessible for students to look at.”

Not only does it provide students with experience, but it is also a way for students to broadcast the videos they create in production classes or otherwise. 

“It’s just one of those things where it’s just a good way to distribute your work and get your work out there that’s not just you and your YouTube channel, right. So that’s how I think it’s good for the students, and then you know, and they can put links to their profile on their portfolios,” said Anne Slatton, professor of the Department of Mass Communication. 

Thompson has hopes for even more student involvement in UNCAET.

“A student news show, we’re talking to some of the mass comm professors and I think they’re somewhat on board,” said Thompson. “So we’re thinking of transitioning right here in the studio to recording and producing that news show and playing that on UNCAET. And eventually, maybe hopefully, getting to the point where we could do live news on UNCAET that would be great.”

UNCAET began as a consortium composed of Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, AB-Tech and UNCA. This consortium ran Asheville Educational Television. All of these educational institutions provided educational content for the channel.

In 2018 all institutions besides UNCA had stopped providing programming for the channel. In 2021 all equipment was moved to UNCA’s campus and in 2022 the consortium dissolved. Since then, UNCAET has been established on its own and began broadcasting on December 1, 2023. 

Now, UNCAET can be found on Spectrum Cable Channel 188, and the live streaming site. This information along with the weekly schedule can be found on the Ramsey Library website. 


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