WRAL’s Coats for the Children Telethon A Big Success Despite Challenges

WRAL-TV logo
Brian Shrader
WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Brian Shrader hosts one of the Coats for the Children Telethon specials.

WRAL-TV wrapped up the 24th Annual Coats for the Children Campaign on December 31, 2012, has already sorted the coats and begun distributing them to those in need.  The successful campaign raised $90,000, over 10,000 coats and 1,000 toys.   Many Triangle children in need enjoyed a wonderful Christmas morning and will be warm this winter thanks to the generosity of WRAL viewers.

The Capitol Broadcasting station kicked off the campaign with the WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade before Thanksgiving and ran it through the holidays. 

WRAL-TV Director of Local Production Phyllis Parish produced and coordinated the Coats for the Children Telethon held Friday, December 14, 2012.  This year’s telethon won’t soon be forgotten because of the national tragedy that happened that same day. 

Parish shared her thoughts with capcom:

We were preparing to go live with our 1pm Telethon special, when news of the Newtown massacre began to unfold.  Of course, WRAL stayed with CBS’ coverage throughout the afternoon.  All of us in Studio A, from our anchors/Telethon hosts, to the production team and our phone bank volunteers, remained in the studio on standby, waiting to go back live with our Telethon. 

Wool E, Santa & David Crabtree
Santa, WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree & Wool E. Bull share a lighter moment before the news of the tragedy in Newton unfolded.

I’ll never forget the somber feeling in the studio that afternoon.  We pulled in a TV monitor to watch CBS’ continuing coverage from Newtown.  As I looked around Studio A, there sat David Crabtree huddled close to the TV, listening to the breaking news.   Wool E. Bull had been in the studio all morning helping us keep ‘the fun element’ high as the telethon phones rang.  Suddenly, he pulled up a chair beside David.  There sat our Bulls mascot beside our veteran news anchor, both trying to comprehend the horror from Sandy Hook Elementary.  That’s one image that will always stand out for me from that sad day.

Obviously, our 1pm special was pre-empted, but the phones rang off the hook during our 7pm special.  It seemed our viewers, so devastated from the Newtown tragedy, were determined to reach out and help children in our area.  

To make up for our 1pm pre-emption, we added a half-hour special after our 11pm newscast Friday night.  There was such positive energy in Studio A that night!  Everyone was emotionally exhausted from the day, but we were thrilled with the continuous ringing of the phones. 

hats
One generous viewer donated winter hats she’d made.

Together with our viewers, we were helping to bring about positive change where we could…with the many Salvation Army families right here in our communities.   That’s what our Coats for the Children campaign is all about.

Thanks to all who so generously gave during the Coats for the Children Campaign!

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Phyllis Parish for some of these capcom photos.

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