Sets Were Simple in ‘63

Throwback Thursday: CBC History

Take a look at this picture of Ray Wilkinson, WRAL Farm Director, seated at the Farm News set in 1963. Nothing fancy schmancy here!

Ray Wilkinson

Ray Wilkinson at his Farm News desk in 1963.

Ray Wilkinson joined the WRAL-TV staff as farm news director November 29, 1963. Of course he would need an appropriate desk that could readily communicate to viewers that it was time for farm news.  A simple sign on the front of a plywood desk accomplished that task. The background was a basic sky blue cyclorama, making it a tad better to look at than a stark studio wall. That was all that was needed: desk, background, microphone, camera, anchor/reporter, and a sign. No special music jingle intro. No animated open. No special graphic. Just tell the farmers what’s happening at the Chicago Board of Trade and with North Carolina tobacco and hog sales at Pink Hill, Pine Level, Chadburn, Ayden, Laurinburg and Benson.

In 1990, Ray – who became a Vice President at Capitol Broadcasting – shared his memory about his humble farm set saying, “That old farm news desk was on wheels, and if you weren’t careful, it would give you the feeling that things were slipping away from you from time to time.”

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.

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