VERY Humble Beginnings 1956-57

Throwback Thursday: CBC History

It is hard to believe, as we walk through the state-of-the-art WRAL newsroom/studio today, that our first news set was more akin to the Saturday Night Live skit “Wayne’s World.” The only difference is the characters portrayed by Dana Carvey and Mike Myers had their make-shift studio in the basement of Wayne’s parents’ basement. WRAL’s first humble studio was in the garage of the transmitter building in Auburn, east of Raleigh.

First WRAL studio

The first WRAL news studio, located in the garage at the transmitter building.

The soil of the future site of WRAL-TV on Western Boulevard had barely been turned when WRAL signed on the air December 15, 1956. It would be almost a year before the broadcast building would be ready for television production.

Take a closer look at the picture. Four flats and a map served as the weather set. A few fill lights, key lights and backlights illuminated this tiny space. RCA black and white cameras with lens turrets ready to show the action. Bob Knapp, weatherman, is prepping the set to go LIVE on WRAL-TV, a fledgling new television station that would in time lead the nation in many television firsts.

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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