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PBS Appalachia launches with three local series to highlight Southwest Virginia

PBS Appalachia Virginia logo PBS Appalachia Virginia launched the nation’s first all-digital public television station on June 10. The station, dedicated to Southwest Virginia, is available through local cable providers or through livestreaming on its website. A PBS Appalachia Virginia mobile app is also available for download.

PBS Appalachia has plans to construct a television studio in Hard Rock Bristol. The 4,000 square-foot studio will be glass-encased and hold a television studio, podcast studio and control room. People will be able to witness television productions in progress and watch programming on large screens.

“Partnering with Hard Rock is a perfect fit for PBS Appalachia because we are both community-minded companies who want to help move the region forward,” said Julie Newman, general manager of PBS Appalachia. “We are grateful for their partnership and support.”

Construction will take place over the next year, with anticipated opening in July 2024.

“Ever since Hard Rock’s founding, we have planted roots and thrived wherever we operate. We are proud to partner with PBS Appalachia,” said Allie Evangelista, president of Hard Rock Bristol.

Programming

In addition to broadcasting the full PBS schedule, PBS Appalachia will debut with three local series.

  • Every Monday, viewers can tune in to “French Magnolia Cooks,” a savory and inspirational exploration of Southwest Virginia. Prepared with warmth and humor, Chef Missy leads audiences on a culinary journey from hunt and farm to wine and table, shared with family and friends.
  • Thursdays belong to “Hometowns,” an off-the-beaten-path expedition through Southwest Virginia communities. The show delivers personal stories, and an authentic look at life in a small town. Audiences are treated to an immersive experience, guided by those who know the land and her history.
  • On Saturdays, “The Life of a Musician” delivers a stripped-down, authentic acoustic interview and performance show featuring some of the nation’s most talented guitarists. Hear unscripted one-on-one conversations, and gain insight into the musician’s life through personal anecdotes and trade secrets.

Funding for PBS Appalachia

  • Blue Ridge PBS operated two transmitters in Southwest Virginia, but it was challenging for viewers to access over-the-air signals due to the topography of the Appalachian Mountains. In 2013, following the de-funding of public media in Virginia, the decision was made to shut down these transmitters.
  • The funding for PBS Appalachia has been made possible through the restoration of state support. A budget amendment for Fiscal Year 2023 was passed to establish PBS Appalachia.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.