It’s hard to believe, but WRAL-TV is 50 years old this year. The station signed on the air December 15, 1956 with “Miracle on 34th Street” as the first program broadcast. Today WRAL-TV is recognized as one of the best local television stations in the country with a national reputation in the industry for pioneering new technology and new techniques to inform and entertain its audience.
It all began when a visionary Raleigh lawyer named A.J. Fletcher formed Capitol Broadcasting Company in 1937 and established the 250-watt radio station WRAL-AM two years later. He followed that in 1946 with the 250,000-watt WRAL-FM and soon set his sights on television. The FCC awarded CBC a license for Channel 5 in 1956.
Over the last five decades WRAL-TV has earned many “firsts”:
- first local television station with a team of meteorologists,
- first station in North Carolina to have a news helicopter,
- first station in the state with a satellite truck, and
- in 2001 the first station in the world to gather and broadcast all its news in high definition.
This one-hour documentary walks you through WRAL-TV’s rich history with rare video clips of WRAL programming over the last five decades, including classic local programs and on-the-air bloopers. It includes personal stories from some of the station’s most beloved on-air personalities, including Charlie Gaddy, Bobbie Battista and Bob DeBardelaben. You’ll learn things you never knew about our hometown television station and its 50-year partnership with the community.
WRAL news anchor David Crabtree is the host of the documentary. Stay tuned to capcom for the air date of this very special program.
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.