• Light for Living

     

    “Light for Living” was a long-running series of devotional messages presented on WRAL-TV by Raleigh minister Jimmy Morriss.  Reverend Morriss was pastor at St. John’s Baptist Church.  In the 1970s he also hosted an inspirational program called “Light Unto My Path” that aired Sunday mornings on Channel 5.

     

    • Coach John Wooden and Reverend Jimmy Morriss

      Legendary UCLA basketball coach Wooden being interviewed by Reverend Morriss at the 1973 Campbell basketball camp. Morriss was a well-known host of religious programs on WRAL-TV.

    • Jimmy Morriss on WRAL-AM

      Announcer Jimmy Morriss broadcasts his popular Mail Bag program on WRAL-AM in the early 1940s. Morriss went on to become a minister who produced religious programs on WRAL-TV, including Church of Our Fathers, Light Unto My Path and Light For Living.

    • Light for Living

      Rev. Jimmy Morriss, pastor at St. John’s Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, provided homilies through his short broadcasts called “Light for Living.” Here are a few examples of his broadcasts taped in October, 1985.

    • Giving Thanks Always with Jimmy Morriss

      Dr. Jimmy Morriss presents a Thanksgiving program with music by New Hope Baptist Church and guitarist Bill Kiele.

  • Sister Gary

     

    The Sister Gary Spiritual Program was a gospel music show on WRAL-FM that broke racial barriers and laid the groundwork for religious programs that would follow.

    The Sister Gary Program premiered as a weekly broadcast on WRAL-FM in in the 1940s. Host Mabel Gary Philpot, or “Sister Gary” as she was known in the pulpit, was the first African-American to host a regularly-scheduled radio show in Raleigh.

    Sister Gary came to Raleigh in 1936 to preach at Grace Chapel AME Zion Church in Raleigh. Her powerful preaching drew the attention of WRAL General Manager Fred Fletcher, who recognized her potential as a radio performer. Fletcher signed her up and the show began building an impressive following.

    After more than two decades of success on radio, “The Sister Gary Spiritual Program” changed venues and moved over to WRAL-TV in 1969. The new television program aired every Sunday morning from 7:30 – 8:00 and featured Gary’s sister Sandra Byrd and the Wesleyan TV Choir. The transition to television introduced Sister Gary to a larger audience and firmly established her place in the history of gospel music in North Carolina.

    Following her death, Sister Gary’s television program evolved into WRAL-TV’s award-winning “Spiritual Awakening.” That gospel music program carries on to this day and is a weekly reminder of the trail blazed by Sister Mabel Gary Philpot.

     

    • Random CBC History Trivia Questions

      1. Many well-known preachers had their programs produced in the studios of WRAL and/or WRAL radio. Which person did NOT broadcast from the studios of WRAL and/or WRAL radio? A) Sister Gary B) Oral Roberts C) Billy Graham D) Jimmy
    • Sister Gary

      Very early photo of Sister Mabel Gary, who hosted gospel programs on WRAL Radio and Television.

    • Sister Mabel Gary

      Sister Gary advertisement for her radio program on WRAL-AM and FM. Sister Garys program led to the current WRAL gospel program Spiritual Awakening.

    • Sandra Byrd and the Weslyan choir

      Sister Garys sister Sandra Byrd leads the Weslyan TV choir. Byrd and the choir performed weekly on the Sister Gary Spiritual program and later she hosted Spiritual Awakenings.

    • Sandra Byrd

      Former host of Spiritual Awakening gospel music program on WRAL-TV

  • Spiritual Awakening

     

    Spiritual Awakening is a locally-produced gospel music program that evolved out of the legendary “Sister Gary Spiritual Program.” It is one of the oldest continuously-running gospel music shows on the East Coast.

    The Sister Gary program began on WRAL Radio in 1942 and made its television debut on WRAL in 1969. After host Mabel Gary died in 1978, the program title changed to Spiritual Awakening, with hosting responsibilities going to Gary’s sister–Sandra Byrd.

    In 1989, Ms. Byrd passed the hosting baton to her son, Otis Byrd, a local pastor. Reverend Byrd hosted for more than a decade before giving way to Sonja Hamm, who hosted the show for some five years before turning it over to current host Terence Jenkins in late 2005.

    Spiritual Awakening has been produced since 1990 by Dona Anderson–a former programming assistant at WRAL-TV. Dona regularly schedules top regional and national talent to perform and minister to a weekly audience on WRAL-TV and sister station WRAZ-TV.

    The show focuses primarily on gospel music, but it has also featured segments on spiritual dance and breast-health awareness. The award winning program can be seen in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    Spiritual Awakening has won the Torchbearers Award for Excellence, presented by the Raleigh/Triangle Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and also a Community Service Award presented by the Capital City Academy in Raleigh.

     

    • Sonya Hamm

      Hamm was one of the hosts of WRAL gospel program Spiritual Awakening. The program grew out of the Sister Gary gospel radio and television programs.

    • Sandra Byrd and the Weslyan choir

      Sister Garys sister Sandra Byrd leads the Weslyan TV choir. Byrd and the choir performed weekly on the Sister Gary Spiritual program and later she hosted Spiritual Awakenings.

    • Spiritual Awakenings host

      Bishop Terence Jenkins is the current host of the gospel music program that grew out of the Sister Gary Spiritual program.

    • Sandra Byrd

      Former host of Spiritual Awakening gospel music program on WRAL-TV

    • Reverend Otis Byrd

      Reverend Otis Byrd was the host of “Spiritual Awakening,” a gospel music program on WRAL-TV