The holidays are here! WRAL-TV provided coverage of the 2018 Raleigh Christmas Parade on Saturday, November 17, 2018, per our annual tradition. And the station provided a new fun addition with the first-ever WRAL Winter Wonderland held on the St. Mary’s campus near downtown right after the parade.
“This was the 45th year WRAL has broadcast the parade and it’s always special to be part of that tradition,” said WRAL-TV Producer Randy Mews. “It was a total team effort from the anchors, to the crew, to the engineers. Everybody did a great job making the parade come to life for our viewing audience.”
The WRAL crew set up on Hillsborough Street, bringing all the floats, dancers, music, balloons and much more to the folks at home. WRAL-TV Anchors Renee Chou and Jeff Hogan commentated the parade, with live reports from WRAL-TV Anchor Brian Shrader in the crowds lining the street.
“The new Campbell location looked amazing and the on-air talent were really engaging,” said WRAL-TV Newscast Producer/Director Keyetta Mangum who directed the parade coverage from the mobile master control.
“Campbell Law School was a wonderful host,” said Mews. “They provided us with a great location on Hillsborough Street, just a little over a block from the State Capitol. Our set, the production truck, our support vehicles and everybody on the crew had plenty of room to operate.”
Mews and Mangum’s parade partner-in-crime, WRAL-TV Director of Local Production Phyllis Parish, agreed about the new location.
“Campbell Law School on Hillsborough Street was a new location for us,” she said. “This site worked out very well, because our cameras could capture the lovely trees lining Hillsborough Street as the parade units marched by our cameras.”
Covering the parade takes a large number of staffers who have learned to work in tandem to share the event with viewers.
“Working with on the production team of the Christmas parade is something I look forward to every year,” said Mangum. “The crew is always on point and the communication went very well this year.”
“Producing a 2.5 hour, commercial-free broadcast definitely takes a village and we had the BEST village on WRAL’s parade project!” she said. “From the initial planning to the execution, our dedicated team provided creative ideas, strategic groundwork, and smart technical decisions.”
After the parade ended, WRAL expanded the holiday fun with a brand new event.
“We were thrilled with the turnout for our first ever WRAL Winter Wonderland…thousands of folks swung by to sled, bounce, play in snow, meet Santa and more,” said WRAL-TV Brand Director Heather Gray.
WRAL personalities had fun with the crowds who came by for the post-parade fun.
“Our friend from NBC’s American Ninja Warrior Matt Iseman, dressed in a colorful holiday suit, met hundreds of fans and autographed Ninja posters,” explained Gray. “Many of our WRAL anchors met and took photos with viewers as they handed out keepsake ornaments to our first 250 attendees.”
More than two dozen volunteers from the WRAL staff, including students from Explorer Post 5, helped with sleds and safety as we walked through a Winter Wonderland.
The event was such a hit that everyone is already looking forward to a repeat.
“We’ll be back next year bigger and better!” said Gray.
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Phyllis Parish, Keyetta Mangum, Renee Chou, Kelly Riner & Pete Sockett for these capcom photos.