WRAL’s Out and About usually keeps track of the latest concerts and events, posting times and tickets information. COVID-19 has brought those outings to a screeching halt, but the CBC entity is working hard to pivot and support local businesses by helping share constantly updated information during these unprecedented times.
“Through running Out and About, I’ve met so many amazing people,” said WRAL Out & About Editor Kathy Hanrahan. “These local restaurant and business owners are the backbone of our culture here. My goal has always been to shine a light on these awesome people. Now more than ever, we need to rally around these businesses because if we don’t, they won’t be able to survive.”
Hanrahan and her team leapt into action when the coronavirus pandemic began affecting our community.
“When businesses started closing (before Gov. Cooper’s order to close all dining rooms), Out and About started compiling a list of businesses that are offering take out or delivery options,” she explained. “We decided to house that under the title ‘Support Local’ and include other coverage to help support local businesses and restaurants.”
WRAL’s Out and About team worked with the WRAL webmaster team to covert google form responses to this searchable table. Local businesses can submit their information to be included in that list via the “Support Local Business” page.
“I felt so helpless when I saw so many businesses closing temporarily,” said Hanrahan. “The Support Local initiative was my way of trying to use our platform to help these small business owners.”
Then around mid-March, the team began producing a daily Out and About podcast.
“Every weekday, I interview a business owner to find out how they are dealing with the coronavirus,” said Hanrahan. “I do everything remotely from my home office. It’s a great platform for local business owners to get the word out about their business and let people know they are still operating.”
WRAL’s Out and About was also involved with CBC’s first Here to Help Support Local fundraiser to raise money for the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. The team helped promote the initiative through a series of video interviews with local chefs, which appeared on TV, social media and WRAL.com.
The fundraiser, a team effort for CBC divisions, raised $350,000.