Standing Room Only for a Night of Productions at WRAL

“It was quite a night … as only WRAL can do.”
–WRAL-TV Director of New Operations/Sport/Special Projects Leesa Moore

WRAL Master Control

WRAL-TV’s Michelle McNeil and WRAL-TV’s Andy Christensen help man Master Control on a very busy Friday, August 19, 2016.

On Friday, August 19, 2016, WRAL-TV and company pulled off nothing short of a miracle.  During the launch of the brand new HSOT Live, the crew also produced the second to the last Olympic Zone.  WRAL-TV Director of Engineering & Operations Pete Sockett summed it up best with his post:

Ok…cool night:
7 live remote crews at 7 different local High school games
1 live remote crew in Rio
2 live productions
3 full control rooms
2 active production studios
46 people all in wide open status at the same time…

…just another Friday night at the Big5!

And I completely skipped the live Durham Bulls Baseball game in yet another control room with another 20+ people on the air on WRAZ 50.2!!

He told Capcom, “Basically, we threw everything we had at productions that night!”

WRAL Control Room

The Control Rooms at WRAL-TV are hopping with The Olympic Zone and the first-ever HSOT Live on Friday, August 19, 2016.

WRAL-TV News Producer Stephanie Beck was producing the lucky 13th Olympic Zone that night.  Over the course of the Olympics WRAL produced 14 half-hour specials before the NBC Olympic prime time coverage.  The special included live reports from the WRAL crew on location in Rio.

“Two control rooms hopping at once,” Beck posted on social media about the full night.  “High School OT’s new streaming coverage from one, and my Olympic Zone from the other. Woo hoo!”

She told Capcom, “I feel like our side of things was exciting, yet calm.  The other control room was the one buzzing with the creative juices of launching something new.”


HighSchoolOT Live debut – August 19, 2016 at WRAL
Debut of HighSchoolOT Live from the WRAL station! Behind the scenes look at the production and support staff for the broadcast with (l to r) WRAL-TV’s Pete Sockett, Jim Rothschild, Tony Gupton & Kelly Riner. Photo by: Suzie Wolf

WRAL-TV Assignment Editor Kelly Riner worked on the other side to produce the first HSOT Live.  She share her experience of the night with Capcom:

What an exciting night! As the evening approached, we were, of course, a little nervous, but we were ready! It felt great as the countdown clock finally got to 0:00! Our team did a great job of doing everything we had rehearsed and reacting to everything we couldn’t have rehearsed. We had rain and lightning delays in some games, we had close ones, and we had blowouts! A little bit of everything in week #1 made for a good debut, and I think it prepared us for the rest of the season. I learned what it was like to be in the control room for nearly 4 hours straight, and Nick and his co-host, Wayne, felt what it was like to be constantly on-air for that long! It truly was like a marathon. But, the time passed quickly, and it was well after 10pm before we knew it. Views for the show exceeded expectations, and we can’t wait to see what the next weeks hold! We hope everyone will tune in and see what an awesome job HSOT Live is doing at showcasing area high school football. It’s a great concept, and we just hope to execute it well every week and keep the momentum going.

HSOT Senior Editor Nick Stevens, also host of the show, agreed:

Our first night was a lot of fun for all of us involved in the project. Months of work and preparation culminated in a successful debut of ‘HighSchoolOT Live,’ and we are excited about where this project could go. We were live for 3.5 hours on Friday night, taking people across the region for live looks and instant replays at some of the areas top games. It took a lot of coordination, but our crew was able to make it happen, despite lightning delays and rain. We’ve not seen another media outlet in the country attempting to do what we did on Friday night. To set the bar in such a high place is special.

With the Olympics over, the WRAL Rio on its way back to the States, the control room will be slightly less crowded this Friday night.  But the fun will continue with HSOT Live, every Friday of football season beginning at 6:55pm on  And Football Friday will return to its rightful 11:35pm slot on WRAL-TV with Bob Costas and company back in the NBC studios in New York.

Thanks to Suzie Wolf and, from WRAL-TV, Kelly Riner, Leesa Moore, Pete Sockett, and Stephanie Beck for these capcom photos.


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