Radio-TV Broadcast History
Wikipedia This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Miscellaneous unorganized material/WRAL-TV. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Radio-TV Broadcast History, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).
This page needs to be organized in accordance with the Radio-TV Broadcast History Wiki standards.
The information on this page has not been formatted in accordance with the standards of this Wiki.
It would be appreciated if someone could modify the arrangement of the material to conform with the general format of pages in this Wiki.
File:WRAL-TV logo.gif
Raleigh - Durham -
Fayetteville, North Carolina
BrandingWRAL-TV 5
SloganCoverage You
Can Count On
Channels Analog: 5 (VHF)

Digital: 53 (UHF)

Owner Capitol Broadcasting Company
FoundedDecember 15, 1956
Call letters’ meaningRALeigh
Sister station(s)WCMC-FM
Former affiliationsNBC (1956-1962)
ABC (1959-1985, secondary until 1962)
Transmitter Power100 kW (analog)
1,000 kW (digital)
Height604 m (analog)
629 m (digital)
Facility ID8688
Transmitter Coordinates[ 35_40_35.1_N_78_32_7.2_W_type:landmark_scale:2000 35°40′35.1″N, 78°32′7.2″W]

WRAL-TV, channel 5, is a television station in Raleigh, North Carolina. It has been owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Company since its inception, and currently serves as the CBS affiliate for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill-Fayetteville area, known collectively as the Triangle. WRAL-TV has its office and studio facilities in downtown Raleigh, with transmitter located in Auburn, North Carolina.

WRAL-TV is co-owned with radio stations WRAL-FM (101.5 MHz.) and WCMC-FM (99.9 MHz.), and Fox affiliate WRAZ (channel 50). Though most of WRAZ's operational functions are based in Raleigh, the latter has its own facilities in downtown Durham. WRAL-TV is available on cable channel 3 in most of the Triangle, except in outlying areas of the market, where it is available on channel 5. It is also available on cable in large portions of eastern areas of the state.


File:WRAL Station1.JPG

WRAL building

The station's first broadcast was on December 15, 1956 that was an airing of the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street. Capitol Broadcasting had won the license in something of an upset over the much larger Durham Life Insurance Company owners of the Triangle's oldest radio station, WPTF. Channel 5 was originally an NBC affiliate. When WNAO-TV went dark in 1959, WRAL shared ABC with WTVD until 1962 when it took the ABC affiliation full-time. This was somewhat unusual for a two-station market and the reason for this is still not clear to this day. ABC was not on an equal footing with NBC and CBS, in terms of both ratings and affiliated stations, until the early-1970s. WTVD shoehorned NBC and CBS programming onto its schedule until 1971 when WRDU-TV, which had signed on in 1968, finally got the exclusive NBC affiliation. Ironically, Durham Life bought WRDU in 1978 and changed the calls to WPTF-TV (it is now MyNetworkTV affiliate WRDC-TV, owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group).

From 1960 until his election to the United States Senate in 1972, Jesse Helms was a regular editorial commentator on WRAL-TV's news broadcasts. In fact, because his politically conservative commentaries became so popular, WRAL began pre-empting the last ten minutes of the ABC evening network newscasts (then anchored by Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds or Harry Reasoner), giving Helms a ten-minute nightly program to himself.

In 1985, WTVD's owner, Capital Cities Communications, purchased ABC, resulting in WTVD becoming an ABC owned and operated station. The CBS affiliation moved to WRAL-TV on August 4, 1985. Within six months of the switch, WRAL had become one of the strongest CBS affiliates in the network's chain.

A severe ice storm in December of 1989 caused the station's 2,000-foot (610 m) tower to collapse forcing WRAL off the air. Within hours, channel 5 cut a deal with with then-struggling Fayetteville station WKFT-TV (now WUVC-TV) allowing WRAL to return to the air in only three hours. WKFT ran the entire WRAL schedule during this time. The station's new, stronger tower was launched on October 25, 1990, at which point WKFT reverted to airing its own programming.

In the early-1990s, WRAL broadcasted its programming via C-Band satellite as part of the Primetime 24 package. That offered network affiliates to viewers in the Caribbean, Latin America and rural areas where local signals were not available. It was replaced in the late-1990s with fellow CBS affiliate WSEE-TV from Erie, Pennsylvania.

Digital television[]

In June 1996, the Federal Communications Commission awarded WRAL-TV with the first experimental high-definition television license in the United States. The station, known originally as WRAL-HD, began digital television operations on channel 32 less than a month later, on July 9, 1996. The station moved to channel 53 in March 2000.

WRAL-TV stakes claim to have produced the first live sports program in high-definition (on September 6, 1997), as well as the first HD newscast (on October 28, 1998). CBS utilized WRAL-HD in testing its own high-definition programming some time later, and starting in 1999 began providing the station with a regular schedule of primetime programs in HD. WRAL-TV's pioneering efforts in digital television has won wide recognition from within the television industry.

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Subchannel Programming
5.1 / 53.1 main WRAL-TV/CBS programming
5.2 / 53.2 WRAL NewsChannel
5.3 / 53.3 ABC Family

Analog-to-digital conversion[]

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009 [1], WRAL-TV will move its digital broadcasts to channel 48. [2] However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display WRAL-TV's virtual channel as 5.


WRAL airs the entire CBS program schedule as it has since the late-1990s. The only exception involves ACC football and basketball from Raycom Sports. Also, Cupid, a 2003 reality show was not aired, as were some controversial shows on sister station WRAZ. WRAL is one of the few CBS affiliates that shows The Young and the Restless from 4 to 5 P.M. as a lead in to their 5 o'clock newscast. Most CBS stations air Y&R from 12:30 to 1:30, but in the case of WRAL, the timeslot switch occurred in January of 1993. This happened because the station's sitcom reruns (the show being run at the time was an hour block of The Golden Girls) were having no luck against The Oprah Winfrey Show on WTVD.

WRAL has broadcast memorable locally-produced children's programming throughout its storied history. However, its most famous and longest-running is Time for Uncle Paul (1961-1981) starring Paul Montgomery. HE had played various other characters on other local shows before getting his own program. He voluntarily ended his program after station management suggested a change to an educational format.

Soon after, WRAL continued to produce acclaimed kids' shows with an educational slant including: Frog Hollow, Sparks, and The Androgena Show. Today, WRAL continues to produce quality children's educational programs with such shows as Smart Start Kids and Brain Game.

WRAL announced on February 1, 2006 that it would begin to simulcast all of its programming on the web to computer users in the Triangle. This signified the latest advance in technology-driven delivery of product by a local television station. A few months later, WRAL was selected to serve as the flagship station for the North Carolina Education Lottery which includes nightly drawings and the twice-a-week national Powerball lottery. On December 3, 2007, WRAL became the first local television station to stream live video to mobile phones. This event coincided with the 48th Annual WRAL tower lighting.

News operation[]

WRAL has the highest rated television news organizations in the area[3] winning numerous regional Emmys. Most recently, WRAL and were nominated 29 times for Mid South Regional Emmys.[4] The station has been the highest-rated station in the Triangle for most of the time since the 1970s. At one point, Charlie Gaddy's 6 P.M. newscast drew a 56 share in the Raleigh / Durham market.Template:Fact

Until his retirement on July 1, 1994, Gaddy co-anchored newscasts alongside Bobbie Battista, Adele Arakawa (now with KUSA-TV in Denver), Donna Gregory (who now works for NBC), and Pam Saulsby. Today Saulsby, along with current co-anchor David Crabtree (who replaced Gaddy in 1994), chief meteorologist Greg Fishel (who took over for retiring Bob DeBardelaben in 1989), and popular sportcaster Tom Suiter, is a part of the longest-running on-air news team (news, weather, and sports) in the Triangle and one of the longest-running news teams in the state.

In August of 1998, WRAL began to produce newscasts on WRAZ. That station usually simulcasts local breaking news coverage from WRAL. For national breaking news, WRAZ carries Fox News coverage while WRAL carries CBS News. Otherwise, WRAZ may broadcast CBS programming in case WRAL cannot do so as in news-related emergencies. The WRAZ broadcasts include weekday mornings at 7 for two hours and half-hour broadcasts at 10 on weeknights as well as weekends. The newscasts are simulcasted on WRAL's second digital subchannel.

In 2000, WRAL aired the world's first high definition newscast on October 13. In January of 2001, WRAL converted all of its local news broadcasts to high definition.Template:Fact The WRAZ newscasts are broadcasted in high definition as well. On November 17, 2006, WRAL had a special "reunion" newscast at 6 o'clock with Gaddy, Battista, DeBardelaben, and Suiter reprising their roles once again. This commemorated the station's 50th anniversary. On October 10, 2007, the WRAL sports department launched a sports talk radio station, WCMC-FM (known as 99.9 The Fan). It is now is the only FM sports talk station in the area and broadcasts in high definition. This station was previously known as 99.9 Genuine Country.

WRAL operates a 24-hour news channel on its second digital subchannel. Known as the WRAL NewsChannel, is is also offered on Time Warner digital cable channel 256. The station airs simulcasts and rebroadcasts of local news that airs on the main WRAL channel. There is also live news provided on the weekdays presented in a cable news channel format. WRAL operates a 24-hour local weather channel on WRAZ's third digital subchannel. Known as the WRAL Weather Center Channel, it can also be seen on Time Warner digital cable channel 252. WRAL's newscasts are simulcast with local weather inserts on another sister station, WILM-LP in Wilmington.

Sky 5[]

In 1979, the station became the state's first to begin using a helicopter, known as "Sky 5" for newsgathering. The current Bell 407 helicopter, tail number Template:Airreg was purchased for $2 million in 2000. The tail number represents the station's channel, that this is the 3rd news gathering helicopter for the station and WRAL's role in pioneering high definition broadcasting. The aircraft is piloted by Steve Wiley, who has flown for the station for 21 years. The aircraft is normally stored at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport but a helipad is available on the roof of one of the WRAL buildings.[5] The helicopter is equiped with $600,000 worth of video equipment including cameras installed on the tail, 2 in the cabin and a gyroscope controled high definition camera under the nose, all of which can be controled from the rear of the aircraft by a videographer. WRAL modified the helicopter to reach speeds of 130 miles per hour.[3]

News team[]

File:Wral anchors.png

David Crabtree and Pam Saulsby anchor on weeknights at 5 and 6.

File:Wral weather.png

WRAL's weeknight 5:30 and 10 o'clock meteorologist.


  • Valonda Calloway - weekday mornings
  • Bill Leslie - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Lynda Loveland - weekdays at Noon
  • David Crabtree - weeknights at 5 and 6
  • Pam Saulsby - weeknights at 5 and 6
  • Cullen Browder - weeknights at 5:30
    • reporter
  • Debra Morgan - weeknights at 5:30, 10, 11
  • Gerald Owens - weeknights at 10 and 11
  • Renee Chou - weekend mornings
    • reporter
  • Kelcey Carlson - weekend evenings
    • reporter
  • Ken Smith - weekend evenings
    • reporter


  • Greg Fishel (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - Chief seen on weeknights at 5, 6, and 11
  • Mike Maze (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weeknights at 5:30 and 10
  • Elizabeth Gardner (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - weekday mornings and Noon
  • Mike Moss (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) - weekend mornings
  • Chris Thompson (AMS Seal of Approval) - Saturday nights
  • Kim Deaner (AMS Seal of Approval) - Sunday nights
  • Nate Johnson (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and NWA Seal of Approval) - weeknight producer
    • administrator


  • Bob Holliday - Director seen on weekend evenings
  • Tom Suiter - weeknights at 5:30 and 6
  • "Football Friday" segment producer
  • Jeff Gravley - weeknights at 10 and 11
  • Jason Jennings - sports reporter
  • Ken Medlin - sports reporter
    • fill-in sports anchor
  • Dane Huffman - Sports Managing Editor
  • Ryan Craig - website sports editor
  • Brad Simmons - producer
  • Josh Hailey - sports photographer
    • sports assistant


  • Brian Shrader - traffic
    • website
  • Monica Laliberte - consumer
  • Dr. Allen Mask - health
  • Scott Mason - documentary producer
  • Rick Armstrong
  • Dan Bowens
  • Cullen Browder
  • Mike Charbonneau
  • Erin Coleman
  • Kim Dean
  • Erin Hartness
  • Sloane Heffernan
  • Amanda Lamb
  • Julia Lewis
  • Christi Lowe
  • Bruce Mildwurf
  • Bryan Mims
  • Beau Minnick
  • Adam Owens

Notable alumni[]

  • Adele Arakawa - former co-anchor (1983-1989, now at KUSA-TV in Denver)
  • Curt Autry - weekend anchor/reporter (1991-1994, now at WWBT in Richmond)
  • Jim Axelrod - political reporter (1993-1996, now Chief White House Correspondent, CBS News)
  • Bobbie Battista - former co-anchor (1976-1981, joined CNN in 1982)
  • John Bachman - anchor/reporter (2003-2007, now at WSB-TV in Atlanta)
  • Gilbert Baez - Fayetteville bureau reporter/weather anchor (now at WTVD)
  • Sam Beard - news anchor during the 1960s and early 1970s(deceased)
  • Sandra Bookman - weekend anchor/reporter (1985-1989, now at WABC-TV in New York)
  • Denice Boyer - anchor/reporter (1980's)
  • Rich Brenner - Sports Anchor (1970's-1982)
  • Susan Brozek - reporter (1985-1988, now Senior Producer/Local Programming at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh)
  • Dale Cardwell - reporter (1985-1991, now at WSB-TV in Atlanta)
  • Bob Caudle - news and weather anchor/wrestling announcer
  • Laurie Clowers - morning anchor/reporter (1998-2006, now PR director at Wake Technical Community College)
  • Ned Colt - (now an NBC News Correspondent)
  • Paul Crawley - reporter (1976-1978, now at WXIA-TV in Atlanta)
  • Susan Dahlin - PM Magazine host/entertainment reporter (1980-1998)
  • Ann Devlin - reporter/anchor (1981-1983)
  • Bob DeBardelaben - former off-camera announcer and weather anchor (1963-1989)
  • David Eichorn - reporter (1985-1989)
  • Bette Elliott - longtime host of women's program Femme Fare (1962-1975, deceased)
  • Charlie Gaddy - legendary anchorman (1970-1994)
  • Donna Gregory - originated WRAL's 5:30 p.m. newscast (1988-1995, now with NBC News)
  • Terri Gruca - reporter (1994-1997), now anchor/reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis
  • Don Griffin - consumer reporter/weekend anchor (1976-1982, now at WSOC-TV in Charlotte)
  • Angela Hampton - reporter (1993-1994, now at WTVD)
  • Jesse Helms - conservative political commentator (1960-1972)
  • John Hudson - morning/noon anchor (1983-1988, deceased)
  • Bob Johnston- anchor/reporter (1970's)
  • Shelley Kofler - reporter (1981-1985)
  • Lauren Krause - weekend anchor/reporter (1994-2000)
  • Tom Lawrence - off-camera announcer/technology reporter (1980s through early 2000s)
  • J.D. Lewis - host of Teenage Frolics and editorialist (1958-1983, deceased)
  • Todd Lewis - reporter (1996-1999)
  • Emily Lopez - reporter
  • Ed McIntyre - anchor/reporter (1970's)
  • Paul Montgomery - star of Time for Uncle Paul (1956-1981,deceased)
  • Renee McCoy - former reporter and morning/noon anchor (1982-2002, now does some freelance work in market)
  • Faith Murphy - reporter (1987-1992)
  • Joe Oliver - anchor/reporter (1984-1988)
  • Nick Pond - sports anchor/wrestling announcer(1960s & 1970s)
  • Ray Reeve - sportscaster(deceased)
  • Mark Roberts - morning traffic reporter/Host of Brain Game (1990-September 2007)
  • Stuart Scott (1988-1990, now with ESPN)
  • Bill Schmidt - meteorologist (1980s)
  • Glenn Schwartz - meteorologist (now with WCAU-TV in Philadelphia)
  • Carol Sbarge - reporter (1986-1992, now with WSB-TV in Atlanta)
  • Rick Sullivan - sports reporter/anchor (1984-1995)
  • Larry Stogner - reporter (1973-1976, now at WTVD)
  • Betsy Sykes - weekend anchor/reporter(1990's)
  • Nina Szlosberg - reporter circa 1980s, now a member of the N.C. Board of Transportation
  • Fred Taylor - reporter/anchor (1970-2007)
  • Bob Vernon - 5:30 anchor (1989-1995)
  • Franc White - host of The Southern Sportsman (1978-1996)
  • Ray Wilkinson - farm news (1963-1995, deceased)
  • Dan Wilkinson - son of Ray Wilkinson, farm news (deceased)
  • Kelly Wright - reporter and weekend anchor (mid-1990s, now with FOX News Channel)


File:WRAL Garden.JPG

Entrance to the WRAL-TV Azalea Garden

The station building, shared by WRAL-TV and Fox50, and located at 2619 Western Blvd in Raleigh, adjacent to the North Carolina State campus, is a modern and open-designed structure and grounds. The property features a fountain visible from the roadway near the building entrance, and a large garden in the back of the property, including many varieties of azaleas and other flowering plants including several types of dogwoods. The garden is a popular public attraction, especially during April when the flowers are at the peak of blooming.


  3. 3.0 3.1 Cox, Jonathan B. (25-FEB-04). "Airborne Newsroom Carries Latest Technology for Raleigh, N.C., TV Station.", News and Observer. Retrieved on 2008-06-07. Archived from the original on 2013-01-10. 
  4. "22nd ANNUAL NOMINATIONS", MIDSOUTH REGIONAL EMMY AWARDS. Retrieved on 2008-06-07. 
  5. "People of WRAL", WRAL. Retrieved on 2008-06-07. 

External links[]

Template:Raleigh-Durham TV Template:CBS North Carolina Template:Capital Broadcasting

de:WRAL-Sendemast pl:WRAL HDTV Mast