WRAL’s “Football Friday” and “HighSchoolOT” Live are Back Starting Tonight

HighSchoolOT LiveHigh school football is back in its traditional season, and WRAL-TV and HighSchoolOT are ready to bring you all the highlights, scores and headlines.  Football Friday and HighSchoolOT Live kick off tonight, Friday, August 20, 2021.

HighSchoolOT Live starts at 7pm.  Watch on the HighSchoolOT app or wherever you stream WRAL.  Nick Stevens and his new co-host (stay tuned for the big announcement!) offer expert analysis, instant replays and live look-ins for the best high school football games across North Carolina. This year, fans also will have the option to listen to a live audio stream of the show from the HSOT app.

Football Friday airs at 11:35pm on WRAL-TV.

WRAL-TV Producer Kelly Riner serves as producer of both shows.

“We’ve been practicing and getting everything ready,” she told Capcom.  “We have a ton of updates and changes this year. It will be WRAL-TV Sports Anchor/Reporter Chris Lea’s first season as the host of Football Friday.  Hiring during the pandemic has been challenging but we are confident we have built a great team for FF and HSOT. We also have a new graphics system. Huge thanks to WRAL-TV Lead TV And Graphics Systems Designer John Renigar and WRAL-TV Visual Design Director Shan Zhong for an incredible graphics package. We will even have some AR style graphics we can use on the news set. This is exciting and something we’ve not done before.”

Football FridayOne new facet to the 2021 season is that WRAL-TV now has a 7pm newscast.

“For the first time, there will be a complete crew working on the 7pm news at the same time another control room will be fully staffed for a 7pm HSOT Live start,” explained Riner.

The CBC team is ready for whatever this season brings.

“We also have worked through some scenarios if there are needs for quarantines, etc,” explained Riner.  “Our engineers and crews are amazing and make even the most challenging proposals seem possible. We are looking forward to a fun and exciting season!!!”

Lea will only be the third host ever for Football Friday, which is now in its 41st season.  He replaces Jeff Gravley, who left WRAL at the end of 2019.  Gravley had followed the legendary Tom Suiter, the original host of the half-hour local program.

HighSchoolOT.com Senior Editor Nick Stevens hosts HSOT Live.  The show begins at 7pm, streaming, and stays on until the last game is over.

Both shows take quite the team to make them happen.

“In the control room for HSOT Live we have 2-3 directors (one for each hour), 2 graphics operators splitting the duties, 2 audio operators, an Associate Producer and me,” said Riner.  “There are 2 replay operators in the other studio and a floor director. In the field, we have at least 7 crews shooting games.”

“For Football Friday, we have 10 photographers, and a regular newscast-size control room,” she continued.

In total at least 3 dozen people come together to make the high school football programs happen each Friday night of the season.

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