WRAL’s dominance in ratings started right-off-the-bat after The Big 5 signed-on in December, 1956. According to then WRAL General Manager Fred Fletcher in his book Tempus Fugit, “By July, 1958 – a year and a half after sign-on – we were able to claim that we had led in every Raleigh-Durham ARB survey, sign-on to sign-off.”
The November 1958 ARB television audience report continue to herald WRAL as the undisputed leader. The network was adding color programming on a regular basis. These figures were published in WRAL’s January, 1959 Tele-News Letter.
Sign-on to sign-off Monday through Sunday
WRAL: 48.1 Share.
WTVD: 39.5 Share
Station C (WNAO) 11.2 Share
Fast forward to the February 1982 rating period specific to news. Action News 5 was a 30 minute newscast. Preparations and rehearsals were already underway for the hour-long newscast that premiered June 14, 1982.
Bob Dylan once sang “the times they are a-changing,” and change they did. Back-in-the-day, slices of the broadcast pie were large. Typically there were three stations in a market and each station carried one of the three big networks: NBC, CBS, ABC. An independent station might show up as a blip on the ratings card.
Now there are many sources available to access news, sports, weather, entertainment, opinion, social, etc., and displayed on a variety of devices – mobile or immobile – and all of that continues to slice and dice the digital pie as well.
The brains and brawn, tenacity and determination that was baked into our DNA back in 1956 has served us well and continues to quicken our resolve to be a leader in the community and in the media industry.
Stay tuned and stay connected!
Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.