The station's first
broadcast was on December 15, 1956;
an airing of the 1947 movie Miracle
on 34th Street. From its
inception, the station was an NBC
affiliate until 1962, when it began
a 23-year affiliation to ABC.
During the 1960s, future North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms was a regular editorial commentator on WRAL's news broadcasts.
In 1979, the station became the state's first to begin using a helicopter for newsgathering (Sky 5).
In 1985, Capital Cities Communications merged with the ABC network, making WTVD-TV an ABC owned and operated station. As a result, the CBS affiliation moved to WRAL-TV.
A severe ice storm in December 1989 caused the station's 2,000-foot tower to collapse, forcing WRAL off the air. By cooperation with Fayetteville station WKFT-TV Channel 40 (which at the time was under severe financial problems), it was back on the air in 3 hours. WKFT ran the entire WRAL schedule during this time. The station's new, stronger tower was launched on October 25, 1990, at which point WKFT reverted to airing its own programming.
In 1996, WRAL-TV was granted the first experimental high-definition television license in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission. In 2000, WRAL-HD aired the world's first all-HDTV newscast on October 13. In January 2001, WRAL converted all of its local news broadcasts to high-definition. Today, WRAL-TV airs the entire CBS program schedule, as it has since the late 1990s. Announced on February 1, 2006, WRAL is now going to simulcast all programming (CBS, News, and Syndicated) on wral.com. (If you do not live in the Raleigh-Durham DMA, you cannot see this. It is free of charge, but you must subscribe to view it.) (Source: Wikipedia)
Well as I was commenting on oldrebel's blog pertaining to Jesse Helms, Uncle Paul came to mind and I mentioned that Jesse, along with Uncle Paul and of course wrestling, were staples of the history of WRAL. I remember them all quite well: as a child I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in the summer . . . LINK
He (Tommy Bland) and his father also came to see “Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling” which was taped in Studio A at the time. LINK
From 1959-1979, Phlegar was the producer / director behind successful programs such as The Uncle Paul Show and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling for WRAL-TV 5. LINK
Doctor Steve from
Tennessee wrote: I worked at
WRAL-TV in the '70s and we taped Wide
World of Wrestling and
Wrestling there every Wednesday.
The Crocketts had contracted to have
Brute Bernard come and do a show
with us, and I was full of
trepidation, having watched him as a
kid decimate his enemies, never
uttering a word other than a
guttural growl. I knew this guy
would just be scary and probably a
lot of trouble.
So there I was at the bottom of the dressing room stairs, waiting for Brute Bernard to come down to the studio; I was nervous, not knowing what to expect, when he emerged from the dressing room door. And what a sight! He had on a silk smoking jacket, thick reading glasses, and was reading the Wall Street Journal. He greeted me with a "hi, son, nice to meet you" and entered the studio. He was the nicest wrestler I ever met (and I met a lot of them). That night, of course, he was the same old Brute that I remembered as a kid but I had a completely different opinion of him, having seen his "other" side. LINK
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MMA on CBS
By Jeff Gravley WRAL.com - June 2, 2008 LINK
On January 31, 1959 professional wrestling made its debut on WRAL-TV. From the early 60's through the 70's the matches were filmed in a studio here at the station and shown on Saturday night at 11:30.
The Nature Boy--Blackjack Mulligan--Wahoo McDaniel. Those were the names that were synonymous with pro wrestling and those were the guys who would come to the station for their Wednesday night filmings.
Former news anchor Charlie Gaddy joked that he would be reading the news about a house fire in one studio while the wrestlers were applying headlocks and dropping a back suplex in the other studio.
WRAL weatherman Bob Caudle hosted Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with help from WRAL sportscasters Ray Reeve and Nick Pond.
I give you this little history lesson as a backdrop to CBS's decision to show Mixed Martial Arts in prime time this past Saturday...... (read the entire article)
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Article originally published in
2005. Updated in 2010, 2012.