The Team Behind the WRAL Fish Tank: Weather in Ice

Bill Burch

The designer extradordinaire of the 2017 Ice Sculpture: WRAL Fish Tank: WRAL-TV’s Bill Burch.

In the winter of 2014, it was an ice desk during the bitter cold.  Then an ice logo in a kiddie pool during the summer of 2015.  Last summer WRAL counted down to the Rio Olympics with an ice sculpture logo and torch.  But the creative team went all out last week with a fish tank worthy of WRAL-TV Chief Meteorologist Greg “The Fish” Fishel and his weather crew.

When the team started thinking ice, WRAL-TV Corporate Producer Anita Normanly came up with the idea for the WRAL Fish Tank.  Then she, WRAL-TV Print & Online Lead Designer Bill Burch and WRAL-TV Social Media Manager Wend Gatlin sat down with Todd Dawson from Ice Occasions to brainstorm the idea.

“After working with Todd Dawson on past ice projects, we knew he was the man for the job,” said Burch.

Burch mocked up the visual design and Dawson told him that the fish tank would be a doable sculpture.

They set the date of Thursday, August 10, 2017, to unveil the WRAL Fish Tank.

“On the very early morning of August 10, we watched Todd Dawson and his crew install the fish tank in less than 2 hours and, by 5:45am, the fish tank was up and beginning to melt.”

WRAL-TV Marketing Director Jay Yovanovich provided a time-lapse video of the assembly for online and mobile viewers on and the WRAL news department provided a live stream video as well.

The WRAL Fish Tank weighed 3,900 pounds pre-melt and took Dawson three days to make.  The brightly colored fish inside the tank were painted by Burch, each one bearing the name of a WRAL-TV Meteorologist.

CBC staffers and WRAL viewers stopped by for a photo with the fish tank and shared via #WRALfishtank.

“In the end, Todd created a wonderful WRAL Fish Tank which made everybody smile and talk about,” said Burch.

What will they think of next?  Maybe next year we can get Vanilla Ice to sing for the unveiling?!?

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Bill Burch, Wendy Gatlin, Elizabeth Gardner, Julia Sims, Nate Johnson & Miriam Melvin for these capcom photos.

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