CBC Mourns Loss of Legendary WRAL-TV Anchor Bobbie Battista

Bobbie Battista

Bobbie Battista

Former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista has passed away at the age of 67, according to a family spokeswoman.

Battista passed away on Tuesday morning, March 3, 2020, after a four-year battle with cervical cancer, according to Wendy Guarisco, family spokeswoman.

Battista was one of the original CNN Headline News anchors when the network launched in 1981. But she began her broadcasting career with Capitol Broadcasting.

Anchoring WRAL-TV
Barbara Ann “Bobbie” Battista was a producer, on-air host and primary evening news anchor at WRAL-TV from 1974 to 1981.

Battista joined WRAL-TV in 1974 as a secretary, but she quickly convinced station management to put her on the air in 1976. She produced and anchored the WRAL morning news and other special programming until 1977, when she joined Charlie Gaddy on the station’s 6:00 and 11:00 o’clock news. Gaddy and Battista formed the first male-female anchor team in the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville television market.

Over the next four years WRAL achieved ratings dominance and in late 1981 Bobbie answered Ted Turner’s call to join a start-up cable network known as CNN. She was hired as one of the original anchors on CNN Headline News, but by 1986 Battista moved to CNN’s flagship cable channel where she became one of the network’s most recognizable stars.

During this time at CNN Battista also anchored a daily program for CNN International, making her the only anchor in CNN history to work at all three CNN networks. In 1998 Battista was chosen to host television’s first daily interactive talk show – Talkback Live.

David Crabtree & Bobbie BattistaCBC HISTORY VIDEO
Battista was interviewed by WRAL News anchor David Crabtree in 2006 for the 50th Anniversary of WRAL-TV. The video is “raw footage” from one camera angle and had not been edited showing the other camera angles. That is why you will see quick camera adjustments.

Working at CNN
Battista anchored several news programs on CNN including “TalkBack Live.”

“TalkBack Live” aired before a studio audience in the CNN Center in Atlanta featuring newsmakers and public participation.

In 2001, Battista said that in her 20 years at CNN she best remembered some of the difficult moments in history that she covered as an anchor

“Whether the Challenger explosion, the assassination attack on Reagan, the Gulf War, certainly this terrorist attack. Those were memorable from the anchor desk. As far as TalkBack, we’ve had some serious shows, and some fun shows. If I had to pick, I’d say I liked Free for All Fridays the best,” Battista said. 

In 1981, Battista was the writer and assistant producer for Fed up with Fear, a five-station documentary that won a George Foster Peabody Award.   She was nominated for an On Cable magazine award, an award voted on by cable viewers, as Outstanding News Personality of 1984.  Battista was voted Best Newscaster in Cable Guide magazine’s annual reader’s poll in 1986, and, in 1995, she was nominated for a CableACE award for Best Newscaster.  Battista also was featured on Home & Garden Television’s (HGTV) one-hour prime-time special that features the design styles of some of America’s most recognized and respected broadcast journalists.  Battista is a member of Women in Communications and Sigma Delta Chi.  She has been a guest lecturer at universities, organizations and conventions worldwide.

More From WRAL.com

Thanks to WRAL-TV and CNN for contributions to this capcom story.

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