RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, June 25, 2019 — UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina (UNC-TV) will receive nearly $400,000 to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic in North Carolina through unique, creative public programming telling the stories of those affected. This funding, from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), will allow UNC-TV to use production capabilities and its statewide reach to create and distribute timely content concerning this unprecedented public health concern.

As part of its three-year initiative, UNC-TV will collaborate with Blue Cross NC to gather data, resources and information about the opioid epidemic. As North Carolina’s only statewide television network, UNC-TV can not only produce and distribute content around the crisis, it can reach virtually the entire state, and communities in border states.

“Using the strength of our tremendous storytelling expertise—and our powerful statewide reach—UNC-TV will create an information initiative for all North Carolinians,” said UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina Senior Director and Chief Content Officer Travis Mitchell. “The initiative will also focus on key audiences affected by the opioid epidemic.”

UNC-TV will produce 25 digital short-form segments to be distributed on-air and through social media. This three-year initiative will also include the production and broadcast of three full-length features. Additionally, 12 podcasts targeting youth and content for accompanying webpages will be created.

“Almost all North Carolina families and communities have felt the impact of the opioid epidemic,” said Anuradha Rao-Patel, MD, lead medical director at Blue Cross NC and head of the company’s opioids workgroup. “We are making progress in North Carolina, but still have more work to do. Our collaboration with UNC-TV will bring to life powerful stories to help health professionals, community leaders and others address the devastating impact of opioids and substance use disorder.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) improves the health and well-being of its customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, Blue Cross NC has worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through its support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

On air, online and in person, UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina connects North Carolinians to each other, the world and endless possibilities. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—UNC-TV PBS & More, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS and the Explorer Channel. Additionally, UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina provides emergency services support for the state and free educational services and resources for teachers. Visit and join the conversation by connecting with UNC-TV at, and @publicmediaNC on Twitter.


CONTACT Rebekah Radisch, UNC-TV Marketing Communications: 919-549-7177