WRAL’s Bill Leslie Named Tarheel of the Week

WRAL-TV logo WRAL’s Bill Leslie Named Tarheel of the Week

WRAL-TV’s Bill Leslie, the N&O’s Tarheel of the Week.

Bill Leslie’s solo album ranked #3 on the world music charts for November 2004.

The News & Observer has selected WRAL-TV Anchor Bill Leslie as its “Tarheel of the Week” for the week of December 19, 2004.  Entitled “TV anchor displays his musical side,” the feature article delves into Leslie’s interest and experiences with writing & performing music. 

“Leslie, 54, isn’t some ego-stuffed TV guy who decided to make a record just because he’s a local celebrity,” writes N&O Staff Writer Matt Ehlers.  “He’s an accomplished musician, having written his first (semi) hit song while still in high school.”

Ehlers goes on to recount Leslie’s contemplating a musical career during high school but how his father’s sudden death made Leslie choose a different path.  Leslie graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1972 with a degree in Radio Television & Motion Pictures and then embarked on a life in broadcasting.

Leslie has continued to dabble in music, learning the Celtic flute and other instruments, as well as writing.  Most recently he published a CD entitled “Peaceful Journey:  A Celebration of North Carolina” through Capitol Broadcasting.

“With its home-state focus, Leslie figured that the album, released in December 2003, would have mostly a local appeal,” wrote Ehlers.  “‘The last thought I had was someone outside the state showing interest in it.’ But a couple of months ago, he got a call from Ed Bonk, a Canadian radio promoter who specializes in New Age music. Bonk pitched Leslie the idea of promoting the record to a broader audience.

“Leslie was surprised at the proposition,” continued Ehlers.  He writes that Leslie thought the album, with its local focus, would only have local appeal.  However, Leslie decided to give Bonk a chance.

“Bonk supplied names and addresses of New Age disc jockeys all over the world,” Ehlers explained.   “Leslie sent them CDs, along with personal notes. Within a month, “Peaceful Journey” went from 96th on New Age Reporter’s World 100 Radio Charts to its spot today at No. 3.

“’He’s in very good company’ says Bonk, pointing out that No. 1 is George Winston and No. 2 is Blackmore’s Night, the New Age project from Deep Purple guitar hero Ritchie Blackmore. Leslie’s CD has fans all over the United States as well as the Netherlands and Spain .

“Bonk said of Leslie: ‘He’s got a wonderful sound, there’s no question about it,’ he says.  ‘He’ll probably stay on the charts for months.'”

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