WRAL-TV Keeps Viewers Informed with New Traffic System

Brian Shrader

WRAL-TV’s Brian Shrader shows off the new traffic system on WRAL’s Morning News. (Photo courtesy of WRAL-TV’s Elizabeth Gardner)

WRAL-TV Anchor Reporter Brian Shrader recently unveiled a new traffic system on WRAL’s Morning News, with the help of some behind the scenes gurus.

“We launched successfully November 30, 2021, with the invaluable help of Shan Zhong, who helped build new graphics, and engineer Richard Danchi, who made sure all the cables were plugged into the right places!” explained Shrader.

The WRAL team is now using traffic software from Baron Services, which is the provider for the station’s weather software.  WRAL-TV Studio Broadcast Engineer Richard Danchi coordinated with Baron on the traffic data service and NCDOT on the traffic camera video sources for the new traffic system.  He installed the new traffic computer hardware and worked with Baron on software installation.

“One of the more challenging tasks was to climb up a tall ladder in studio A and install a new receiver for the handheld ‘clicker’, explained Danchi. “The clicker is a handheld remote control used by Brian to advance the traffic graphics during his presentation on the air.”

WRAL-TV Visual Design Director Shan Zhong is responsible for the graphics.

“I built our traffic graphics when we did graphics redesign back in 2017,” said Zhong.  “At that time, we were using WSI system. With switching from WSI to Baron system this year, based on our current traffic graphics, I created new graphics elements (Banners, Live bug, Background, Live cameras templates, Drive time templates, highway shields, traffic icons, etc.).”

WRAL-TV New Traffic System

For the new WRAL Traffic System, the team built out templates for all of our Live cameras on major interstates and highways in our area. (Screen capture courtesy of WRAL-TV’s Shan Zhong)

He worked with the Baron team to integrate the new graphics elements and templates to the Baron traffic system.

“It was a short deadline project, Brian, [WRAL-TV Weather Executive Producer] Aimee Wilmoth, and I worked closely with the Baron team to make sure we launch the system on time,” said Zhong.

Shrader is excited about the new and improved system and graphics he can now use to keep WRAL viewers informed about the latest traffic updates.

“The biggest change viewers will notice is our new traffic map!” said Shrader.  “We tweaked the colors on the background and the traffic flow data to make it easier to see.”

He continued, “The system gives us some other new features – the best of which is automatic calculation of delays along major road segments.  Instead of saying that it will take you 15 minutes to drive along 40 West from NC-42 to the Beltline, our new system tells you that you’ll encounter a 6-minute delay. I think that’s more useful information for the viewer who needs to know how much earlier they need to leave the house to get through those delays.  We do the math for them!”

The system is now up and running and helping the WRAL team help viewers get the best information for their morning, and evening, drives.

“It is wonderful working day to day with Brian and all of the weather staff,” said Danchi.  “They are very thoughtful and make my job much easier!”

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Shan Zhong and WRAL-TV’s Elizabeth Gardner for these Capcom graphics.

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