WRAL News Sets Through the Years

Throwback Thursday: CBC History

Our WRAL/Action News 5 news sets have morphed from a simple curtain backdrop to a high tech news gathering center. We’ve come a long way.

Bill Armstrong

WRAL News anchor Bill Armstrong. Early 60’s

Charlie Gaddy

WRAL News anchor Charlie Gaddy. Circa 1976.

During the ‘70s, many stations introduced the curved “gull wing” anchor desk and sleek architecture.
The “gull wing” created better camera angles to transition from one anchor to another and a cozier
cover shot of the entire news, weather, and sports anchors.

Charlie Gaddy & Bobbie Battista

Charlie Gaddy and Bobbie Battista behind the anchor desk. Mid-70’s

WRAL News with Charlie Gaddy and Bobbie Battista. Bobbie was the first female news anchor on WRAL-TV and in the Raleigh/Durham market.

WRAL news set

WRAL News set in Studio B during the late 70’s to 1981.

The “gull wing” desk continued in a new setting. Note the addition of the monitor between Gaddy and Battista. Microwave remote trucks were introduced in the mid-70’s which created opportunities to report LIVE from the field. The monitor allowed interaction between the anchors and the reporter. Sports anchor Rich Brenner and the “biggest name in weather” – Bob Debardelaben – join Bobbie and Charlie on the set here.

WRAL newsroom

WRAL News set and working newsroom combination premiered in early 1982.

The news set moved from studio B to an open newsroom concept.  For the first time, viewers were able to see the hustle and bustle of the assignment desk, reporters, and producers working in the background.

WRAL WeatherCenter

WRAL WeatherCenter premiered in early 1982 as part of the working newsroom.

WRAL news set

1983 WRAL News set with anchors Adele Arakawa and Charlie Gaddy.
Note the strategic location of the logo in the background.

WRAL news set

5:30 First News. 1988. It was a small set just a few feet away from the main anchor desk seen in the next photo.

WRAL new set

The WRAL News set used the same footprint as the original open concept newsroom from 1982. It received a needed update in the late 80’s to take it into the next decade.

WRAL HD news set

HDTV newscast debut with anchors on set

Everything changed in 2001 with the advent of HD. The concept of delivering news directly from the newsroom remained the same. The HD cameras provided a clearer picture with more detail. However, greater detail resulted in the background appearing in focus as well. The walls in the background of the newsroom had to be repainted to create greater visual depth of field (blur the background) for the viewer.

Lynda Loveland & Bill Leslie

Lynda Loveland and Bill Leslie on set. 2013.

The news set continued to evolve and be refined. It received another face-lift in 2013 that essentially ended the open newsroom concept by placing a curved background wall behind the anchor desk.  Viewers could no longer see the newsroom behind the set.

WRAL news set 2015

“Great wall” of monitors 2015

Just in time for Christmas, 2015, the “great wall” of monitors appeared behind the anchor desk.

Stay tuned!

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.

SLIDESHOW:  WRAL News Sets Through the Years

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