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As the affable host of UNC-TV’s longest-running program, William Friday welcomed a range of interesting North Carolinians, engaging the Tar Heel State’s best thinkers, writers, politicians, educators, athletes, entertainers and other newsmakers in one-on-one interviews.
"What makes North Carolina special is its people. We’ve never had a wealthy state…but what’s so wonderful here is we have an atmosphere of open and free discussion. We are so blessed with all of our state’s natural endowments…but most of all it’s the spirit of our people," Friday has said. "It’s important to know what’s happening and to be a part of that. I want to make a difference because that’s what we’re here for."
Millions know William Friday from his 30 years as a UNC president. During his tenure he helped establish North Carolina as a home to one of the preeminent university systems in the country. Friday’s North Carolina People has been delighting viewers for over 40 years.
Few television programs last more than four decades, but every edition of Friday’s weekly conversation with people making a difference in North Carolina was special. The secret ingredient is Friday himself. "He has a phenomenal memory and a wide range of references. He’s a watchful person, who sees and knows a good deal," noted renowned author and professor Reynolds Price. "I tell my students that Friday’s a brilliant reporter because he is constantly reading, observing and thinking."
To Bill Friday, the rewards were all his: "North Carolina People has been an interesting and educational journey for me because I have learned so much from this talented array of citizens of our state. It is indeed a privilege to be a part of a program whose guests have provided so much inspiration and personal experience in their visits with our viewers. Each of them has been interesting, entertaining and instructive."
You can learn more about Bill Friday and his presidency at the university in Biographical Conversations With...William Friday.
Read the transcript of an the interview conducted with Mr. Friday after he won the prestigious Caldwell award. In the interview, Mr. Friday talks about growing up in North Carolina, going to war and returning to begin his career in the University of North Carolina system.
Special Thanks to the Underwriter of North Carolina People!