WRAL will light the transmission tower for the 50th time on December 1st.
WRAL will mark 50 years as a beacon of holiday cheer on Dec. 1 when the lights go on at the transmission tower outside the WRAL-TV Studios, at 2619 Western Blvd. in Raleigh.
The annual event transforms the station’s 300-foot tower into a 300-foot Christmas tree. Three 5-foot stars adorn the top of the tower, and 2,805 colored lights keep it glowing through New Year’s Day.
To mark the half-century mark, Channel 5 will is inviting five special fans to participate in the tower lighting behind the scenes. WRAL is choosing the viewers from entries made on WRAL.com. The guests were notified on Nov 28th and were invited to the tower lighting, where they will tour the WRAL-TV studios, meet WRAL personalities, watch the newscast and tower lighting and possibly even see themselves on TV.
The tower will be lit at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 1 during the WRAL News.
50 Years in the Making
The tradition, the vision of A.J. Fletcher, the founder of WRAL’s parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Co., began in 1959. Each year, Fletcher would read “A Christmas Carol” to viewers before the tower was lit.
Since then, the original tradition has been embellished with new ones, including musical performances, aerial video from Sky 5 and streaming video to the Web and mobile phones.
This year, the North Carolina Central University Marching Sound Machine band will perform.
“The WRAL Tower Lighting is an annual tradition that we all look forward to,” said Leesa Moore Craigie, director of news operations and special projects. “It is our gift to the community and a wonderful way to start the holiday season. It is truly one of those feel-good TV moments of which I’m proud to be a part.”
The 2,800-plus lights stay on the tower year-round but are lighted only during the holiday season.
Thanks to WRAL.com for this capcom story & photo.