PBS brings digital, region-specific programming to southwest Virginia

The nation’s first all-digital public TV network, PBS Appalachia Virginia, made waves when it won a Capital Emmy and announced its new studio would be housed in Bristol’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino just days before launching in June 2023. The network brings four channels—one of them 100 percent region-dedicated—to 14 Southwest Virginia counties that lost access to PBS when former Gov. Bob McDonnell gutted funding in 2013. 


Joshua Deel (right), a senior producer for PBS Appalachia, films H “Bill” William Smith for an episode of Storytellers of Appalachia in Big Stone Gap.  Photo courtesy of PBS Appalachia

“Our programs reflect and celebrate our community with an authentic lens created by talented producers native to this region,” says PBS Appalachia vice president, Julie Newman, in a statement. “We want to give a positive voice to rural communities that have been abandoned by coal and forgotten by metropolitan America.”

The lifestyle cooking show French Magnolia Cooks is a perfect example. In a recent episode, Chef Missy Fraley takes viewers on a mountain pheasant hunt, shows them how to field-dress a bird, then prepare it as a centerpiece for a delicious meal. PBSAVirginia.org


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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