Today, just about everyone in the sports broadcasting biz has heard of RAYCOM. It was formed in 1979 by Rick and Dee Ray. So, what does this have to do with CBC history? Let’s rewind to an article that appeared in the September 27, 1984 edition of CAPCOM.
In last months’ CAPCOM CBC President Jim Goodmon announced in his column that RAYCOM of Charlotte, in association with CBC, would be producing this year’s football and basketball networks for the Southwest Conference. This news prompted a question from several CBCers; what is RAYCOM?
RAYCOM, Inc. is a regional networking company which was formed in 1979 by Rick Ray and his wife Dee. Rick was program director at WRAL-TV from 1976-1978. Because of his TV experience, Rick thought a networking company specializing in sports broadcasts was a good idea. With $5,000 borrowed from a bank, Rick and Dee set up shop in 1979. That first year they produced a total of seven University of North Carolina basketball games on a small regional network plus 10 games on a 10-station network from the Great Alaskan Shootout basketball tournament.
In 1983 RAYCOM produced a total of 255 events and this year will, in addition to the Southwest Network, produce 40 ACC basketball games. RAYCOM will also provide ESPN with 35 percent of its 1984-85 collegiate basketball schedule.
Today (1984), RAYCOM is considered the preeminent sports networker in the country.
RAYCOM quickly became synonymous with television sports coverage and Rick was on the receiving end of many accolades as a leader. College Sports magazine in 1994-95 recognized Rick Ray as the 8th most influential person in college sports. This is just a smidgeon of the mighty influence Rick and Dee had on the collegiate sports broadcasting industry. They were a powerhouse couple with a powerhouse company.
Fast forward to today. What is Rick Ray doing now? Hint. Remember all the WRAL-TV news tapes that disappeared for a few weeks in 2015? They were shipped to a company in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina named Nuray Digital. Yep! Partners again! Rick was a part of WRAL back-in-the-day and is preserving our archives today.
For more information about Nuray, check out this link. http://www.nuraydigital.com/index.html
*Additional information for this article gathered from:
Most Influential People in College Sports,” College Sports Magazine, 1994-95
Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.