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NC Department of Information Technology, Capitol Broadcasting/WRAL-TV & UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina
First Successful Test Using ATSC 3.0 Next-Gen Broadcast Standard To Relay Statewide Emergency Notifications

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 – The first successful emergency announcement from a 911-dispatch center via the new ATSC 3.0 system was broadcast over-the-air Thursday, May 17, in Raleigh. UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina (PMNC), North Carolina’s only statewide broadcasting network, is exploring methods to create a more efficient and effective means of communication for emergency service providers. Emergency dispatchers will reach first responders faster by utilizing available capacity within the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) next generation broadcast technology. In life or death situations, a matter of seconds can literally be a matter of life or death; reducing response time saves lives.

This proof of concept, from an alliance between North Carolina state government and commercial and public media, consisted of a non-public facing experiment to ascertain the technical ability and agility of the ATSC 3.0 Next-Gen broadcast standard. As evidenced by this breakthrough, ATSC 3.0 offers new capabilities through advanced transmission and audio/visual coding techniques that extend its functionality beyond consumer uses to include the public safety community.

Over the last 18 months, commercial broadcaster Capitol Broadcasting/WRAL-TV Company, public broadcaster UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (DIT) have collaborated on this effort. Red Grasso, the North Carolina FirstNet Single Point of Contact, and his predecessor Allan Sadowski, presented the original concept to UNC-TV. Observed Grasso, “Working with UNC-TV, WRAL and others in the first responder community, along with several vendor partners, these first test announcements will be the basis for further development of the concept which seeks to deliver critical dispatch information to first responders in a far more expedient fashion utilizing the capabilities of ATSC 3.0.”

North Carolina Department of Information Technology Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Eric Boyette stated that, “DIT is happy to support the work and efforts by UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina to provide our first responders with new technology. The new digital television standard will serve the public in innovative ways and it is exciting to see that the first responder community will have a place in this vision right from the start.”

“We are thrilled to continue to work with NC DIT, Capitol Broadcasting/WRAL-TV and our vendor partners to enhance the capabilities of all North Carolina First Responders via ATSC 3.0,” said Fred Engel, PMNC’s senior director of technology. “Exploring new and more reliable ways to communicate with the first responder network perfectly aligns with PMNC’s mission of connecting North Carolinians for the greater good.”

UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina (PMNC) provides people of all ages with enriching media through a distinctive array of programs and services. This statewide public media network is comprised of four over-the-air channels—UNC-TV PBS & More Channel, North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel and Explorer Channel—as well as online content delivery and in-person engagement.

Storytelling is what drives Public Media North Carolina. By listening to, learning from and telling the stories of North Carolinians working tirelessly to improve their communities, PMNC fulfills its promise and meets its responsibility as stewards of public media. On-air, online and in-person, PMNC connects its audience, communities and partners to each other, the world and endless possibilities by providing content and services that educate, engage and inspire.

Public Media North Carolina’s 12 stations comprise North Carolina’s only statewide television network, made possible through a unique partnership of public investment and private support. PMNC is committed to producing, broadcasting and sharing content for and about North Carolina. Additionally, PMNC provides emergency services support for the state and free educational services and resources for teachers. Visit and join the conversation by connecting with us at, and @publicmediaNC on Twitter.

UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina Contacts:
  • Fred Engel CPBE, Senior Director of Technology:
  • Rebekah Radisch, Assistant Director Marketing Communications, Editorial Services:
    919-549-7177 or