UNC-TV will air a special block of "Biographical Conversations with Bill Friday" tonight from 7 to 10.
When the new season of his interview show debuted in August, Friday was excited about the work ahead, particularly about putting a focus on the issue of children in poverty in North Carolina. Friday had no plans to stop working.
“If I can do a little something by presenting people who really know what they’re talking about, that’s why I keep doing it,” he said.
Below is the statement issued this morning by Steve Volstad of UNC-TV:
UNC-TV expresses its deepest sympathy to Ida Friday and the entire Friday family on the passing this morning of President William Friday. It goes without saying that Mr. Friday was a giant in public education as the leader of the University of North Carolina from 1956 to 1986, overseeing the development of the consolidated 17-campus system in place today. More than that, he was an exemplary leader for North Carolina in a period of great transition from a difficult history to the dynamic and progressive state it is today.
With respect to UNC-TV, Mr. Friday was one of the people responsible for the establishment of public television in North Carolina, was the driving force behind the creation of today's statewide network, and, of course, was the host of UNC-TV's longest-running original production, North Carolina People With William Friday. North Carolina People went on the air in 1971, and Mr. Friday interviewed literally hundreds of North Carolinians from all walks of life during his 41 years of weekly programs, whether famous or ordinary, with grace, wisdom, and gentle humor. We are saddened by his passing, but we are grateful for his countless contributions to the state he loved and for his commitment to UNC-TV and public television. We will miss him terribly.
News & Observer file photo