WRAL-TV Launches All-News Channel

WRAL-TV Launches All-News Channel

WRAL-TV can add another first to its lengthy list of industry innovations. The Raleigh television station has launched the first full-time local news channel in North Carolina. “WRAL NewsChannel” premiered on the air via WRAL-DT in the last days of July. The full-time news station is available to Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville viewers on WRAL-DT digital channel 53.2 for those with HD receivers and on channel 256 for those with Time Warner’s digital cable service.

The seven-day a week news channel pools the resources of WRAL-TV, WRAL.com and the WRAL WeatherCenter. The on-screen look includes local news headlines from the Associated Press or WRAL.com on a bar

running down the right side of the screen. Weather information appears along the bottom. WRAL-TV’s channel 5 newscasts are simulcast and then replayed until the next live newscast. Programming also includes locally produced public affairs programs like “30 Minutes” & “NC Spin” and syndicated shows like “CBS MarketWatch” & “First Business.”

“WRAL-TV has been the digital television leader of our industry, and the WRAL NewsChannel is a logical extension of that strategy,” said WRAL Vice President & General Manager Bill Peterson. “It allows us to combine the strengths and resources of WRAL News and WRAL.com and use the unique capability of WRAL-DT (Channel 53) to provide a new service to our viewers.”

Bringing News To You
Behind-The-Scenes Making Things Happen

The creation of WRAL NewsChannel took more than compiling news information. The station had to come up with a way to get the information to the screen. Former WRAL OnLine Web Programmer John Clark worked to transfer the news to the audience.

John Clark
Clark, now an independent contractor for WRAL.com administrator, Internet Broadcast Systems (IBS), has worked countless hours on the project since mid-spring. He learned a new programming language, Visual Basic, then learned how to use Chryron’s programming

library with Visual Basic and then found a way to get requested information from WRAL.com to the TV screen. He explained, “We just took it one challenge at a time. Of course, some challenges were more difficult than others, but I suppose that is just a part of dealing with new technology. There are basically two systems running the automation of the news channel. I have several processes running a Linux machine at the station that periodically retrieves data from WRAL.com and passes it along to the Duet machine. The Duet machine reads in all that information a certain intervals and displays it on screen.”

Master Control works with broadcasting the video that appears in the central window of the screen. Clark said, “I was just responsible for putting the video that master control sends to the box together with data from WRAL.com in what you see on screen.”

“John Clark’s programming skills are at the heart of this new service,” said WRAL Director of Special Projects John Harris. “He has essentially figured out how to put information that appears on WRAL.com on the NewsChannel–in an automated fashion. He’s a brilliant programmer who has done some fine work on this.”

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