CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon recently helped induct Rick and Dee Ray of RAYCOM renown into the North Carolina Broadcasters (NCAB) Hall of Fame. The Rays launched RAYCOM Sports in 1979, a company that quickly became the preeminent sports networker in the U.S. Before forming his visionary company, Rick Ray spent a couple of years at WRAL-TV.
Rick Ray served as program director at WRAL-TV from 1976-1978. A local TV programmer at heart, he saw a need for more college basketball games on television, believing that a networking company specializing in sports broadcasts would work. He and Dee, an advertising whiz, created RAYCOM and in their first year produced seven University of North Carolina basketball games and the Great Alaskan Shootout basketball tournament. In 15 short years RAYCOM became the nation’s largest producer of live college basketball and football events.
“RAYCOM’s explosive growth was based on a philosophy that should make all of us local broadcasters smile: Local teams playing on local television stations would generate larger audiences than regular network games,” said Goodmon. “That proved to be true.”
RAYCOM began their relationship with ACC basketball in 1982, a partnership that continues today. The Rays were a formidable team themselves, with Rick obtaining all the rights and Dee selling advertising.
“They left a huge mark on the broadcast and syndication industry and made a lot of friends along the way,” said Goodmon.
Goodmon himself received induction into the NCAB Hall of Fame in 2003. The 2016 awards banquet took place on June 13, in Greensboro, NC.
The Rays sold RAYCOM to Ellis Communications in 1994 and retired. Then in 2010, they co-founded NURAY Digital which “offers services to corporations and non-profits for the migration, preservation, search & retrieval, media storage and monetization of legacy content.”
One of their clients? Capitol Broadcasting. NURAY has helped with preserving archiving WRAL-TV news tapes for the CBC History project.
- From the CBC History Archives: Power Couple = RAYCOM
Thanks to NURAY Digital for this capcom photo.