Helms Makes Announcement Not To Run Again On WRAL-TV

Helms Makes Announcement Not To Run Again On WRAL-TV

All eyes were on WRAL-TV on Wednesday, August 22, as U.S. Senator Jesse Helms (NC) made his announcement not to seek reelection in 2002. Satellite trucks lined Western Boulevard as national and statewide media watched Senator Helms enter the station to tape his statement. A former WRAL personality, Helms came home to tell his constituents he is currently in his last term.

Helms’ statement kicked off WRAL’s 6:00pm newscast. The special one-hour edition also featured interviews with NC Governors Jim Hunt and Mike Easley, reports on possible candidates for Helms’ seat in 2002, and stories about Helms’ career.

Helms said he will devote his time to his family at the end of his current term; he will be 81 when he gives up his seat in Congress. He thanked North Carolina for “letting me have my say.” Overall, Helms expressed his gratitude, to his staff, to those who voted for him, and to the young people with whom he met and worked.

WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree interviewed Helms for a special “Helms: The Decision” that WRAL ran at 8:00pm. The interview also aired on CSPAN later in the evening and the following morning. Crabtree described the aura around the event, “Senator Helms was very cordial… in wonderful spirits… not somber but a little emotional. There were lots of tears from his friends and staff members who were in the studio with him.”

Helms has served North Carolina as a U.S. Senator for five terms, 30 years when he ends his last stint in 2002.

Helms’ announcement led off WRAL’s 6:00pm newscast.

WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree (left) interviewed Helms.

CBC’s Scottie Stephenson, a colleague of Helms’ in his WRAL radio & television days, shared a moment with the Senator when he arrived at the studio.

Helms presented nightly editorials on WRAL-TV’s news for 12 years. He left directly from that job to go the Senate in 1972.

Crabtree concluded saying, “It was an honor to help cover the event… it was an honor to help chronicle history… and yesterday was an historic day.”

CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon (left) shares a word with the Senator before the tape rolls.

Senator Jesse Helms stopped by WRAL-TV to tape his announcement.

WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Tom Suiter shows Helms a treasure, the letter of recommendation Helms wrote for Suiter to introduce him to WRAL-TV.

receives a call from Senator Bob Dole while preparing for taping.

Satellite trucks lined Western Boulevard.

Other CBC Subsidiaries Tap Into The Feed
WRAL-TV fed its signal nationally and statewide as Senator Helms made his statement, and several CBC subsidiaries were on the receiving end. As has become its weeknight standard, MIX 101.5 simulcast the entire 6:00pm newscast to its listeners.

Through the North Carolina News Network (NCNN), “Helms: The Decision” aired on 38 radio stations across the state. Matt Willoughby, Capitol Bureau Reporter hosted the program. NCNN also teamed up with WRAL-TV5 to
NCNN Reporter Matt Willoughby (left) led a panel discussion about Helms’ announcement with Ed Turlington, former Exec. Director of the NC Democratic Party and former Chief of Staff for Gov. Jim Hunt and Bill Peaslee, NC GOP Political Director.

cover “Helms: The Decision”. After Senator Helms’ statement, Matt Willoughby hosted a panel that discussed the ramifications of the decision. Willoughby also took calls from callers from throughout the state.

WILM-TV, CBC’s Wilmington CBS affiliate, cleared air time for the expanded WRAL newscast at 6:00pm. Additionally, WILM carried the WRAL special “Helms: The Decision” from 8:00-9:00pm.

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