WRAL-TV Launches New Weather Graphics System

Elizabeth Gardner

WRAL-TV Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner forecasts the weather on the WRAL news set with the new weather graphics.

The WRAL-TV Weather Team has put in many long hours already this winter and not only because of the stormy weather.  The weather gurus worked to change to a new graphical system.

“It’s been stressful, but we launched the graphics today successfully,” said WRAL-TV Weather Executive Producer Aimee Wilmoth on Friday, January 24, 2020.  “This is likely my biggest test since being promoted to the weather department manager about a year ago. I’m proud of our entire team’s efforts in making it a success!!”

The team worked closely with three contractors from Baron Services for two straight weeks to make the transition.

“While the look is much the same, it is a completely different system than we are accustomed to using and it took 2 full weeks of training,” explained Wilmoth.  “I am so proud of our meteorologists for working the long hours and for being totally dedicated in making this switch a success.”

The WRAL weather crew worked alongside WRAL engineers and graphic designers on the change.

Wilmoth and WRAL-TV Visual Design Director Shan Zhong had to compile all of WRAL’s current weather images to send to Baron before the Baron contractors arrived.

She explained, “That way, they could come to WRAL with many of our graphics already made and ready to go. This was quite the undertaking-making sure Baron got the look just right. Thanks to Shan for helping with this!!!”

WRAL Engineers also had to help prepare for the transition.

“I’m so proud of our engineering team, as well,” said Wilmoth.  “This was a big project for them to complete. They had to configure 4 new computers on the router and get our clickers installed as well. They also had to set up a Black Magic router so that we could continue to use all of our wonderful cameras. They also had to make sure our webcams would work with the new graphics so that our digital weather forecasts could continue as usual.”

Zach Maloch

WRAL-TV Meteorologist Zach Maloch forecasts the weather on the WRAL news set with the new weather graphics.

Wilmoth planned the launch for Friday, January 24, 2020.  The new graphics would make their debut on television, but she needed a safety net in case of a problem.

“Our engineers made sure we still had access to a couple of our old weather computers just in case something went wrong with the new ones,” she said.  “It made us all feel better knowing that there was a back-up plan!”

Beyond the television broadcasts, digital images needed to be created for use online.

“Nearly 200 digital images show up on our digital platforms and all of these had to be made within the new graphics, as well,” explained Wilmoth.

The team worked to complete those graphics in the days after the television launch.

Wilmoth is excited about the many opportunities available via the new weather graphics system.

“Baron has SO much to offer that wasn’t available on our old graphics: new model data, ground temperatures, and so much more!” she said. “We are the only team in town using Baron, and I think Baron will serve us and our viewers well.”

With the transition to the new graphics system a triumph, Wilmoth reiterated her appreciation for her WRAL colleagues.

“Bottom line, this was a HUGE team effort that took months to complete,” concluded Wilmoth.  “I couldn’t be more proud to work with such a dedicated team. We launched successfully, and I’m excited to dig in to the new graphics!

Thanks to WRAL-TV for these capcom graphics.

 

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