WRAL Beginnings! October 17, 1956

Throwback Thursday: CBC History

Our “Throwback Thursday” article for today is a bit of a rerun from a previous article, but is very timely. Monday, October 17 marks the 60th anniversary of the ground breaking for the WRAL studios on Western Boulevard.

Dorothy Collins, star of the NBC show “The Lucky Strike Hit Parade,” and A.J. Fletcher break ground on the WRAL-TV studios on October 17, 1956.

Dorothy Collins, star of the NBC show “The Lucky Strike Hit Parade,” and A.J. Fletcher break ground on the WRAL-TV studios on October 17, 1956.

We are familiar with the iconic picture of the rainy ground breaking ceremony featuring AJ Fletcher and NBC television star Dorothy Collins turning the soggy soil under a tent, but we didn’t know what was said; now we do.

Even with dismal weather, hopes were high about Channel 5 becoming a part of the community. At the ground breaking ceremonies we hear Fred Fletcher, VP of Capitol Broadcasting Company, introduce George Geoghegan, VP of Wachovia Bank and Trust, who served as Master of Ceremonies. Other speakers included Charles Campbell, President of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wesley Williams, Secretary of the Raleigh Merchants Association.

Dorothy Collins, NBC star of “Your Hit Parade,” noted that the anticipated day of WRAL to sign-on would be Saturday, December 15, and that her program would be part of the debut since her show airs on Saturday evening as well. Obviously she was a promoter as well as a singer!  She also expressed “I hope this station goes on forever and ever.”

You can listen to the 10 minute dedication ceremony posted on the CBC History website by clicking:

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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