• Arts and Entertainment

    • Opera

      It may seem surprising, but a pioneering opera company played an important role in the history of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

      CBC founder A.J. Fletcher had a life-long love of opera that led him to start the Grass Roots Opera Company in 1948. Fletcher wanted to present opera in English to people who might not otherwise get a chance to experience it.

      Beginning in 1950 the Grass Roots Company toured North Carolina and surrounding states to stage performances at schools, civic centers and auditoriums. Much of the focus was on rural schools, and during the company’s first half century more than 1.7 million school children heard opera—many for the first time.

      The Grass Roots Company eventually evolved into the National Opera Company, but its overall mission never changed. The company gave aspiring singers a chance to practice their craft in front of audiences. Hundreds benefitted from the professional experience with the company and many more took advantage of the opera company’s educational outreach. In addition to programs in public schools, the company held master classes at local colleges and granted scholarships to talented music majors.

      The National Opera Company was based in Raleigh with headquarters in a stately house on Hillsborough Street. A.J. Fletcher even built an auditorium for performances adjacent to WRAL-TV’s studio building on Western Boulevard. It was a state-of-the-art performance hall that was later converted into the WRAL –TV newsroom.

      In 2001 the National Opera Company merged with the North Carolina School of the Arts graduate opera program to form the Fletcher Opera Institute. The institute carries on the mission that A.J. Fletcher started more than 60 years ago.

    • Outreach Projects

      CBC divisions have supported the community in many ways, often through special projects that benefit a specific cause.  This section of the archive contains a sample of those special projects.

    • Pops in the Park

      Pops in the Park is an annual Labor Day concert that quickly became one of Capitol Broadcasting Company’s signature community projects – a spectacular evening of music that proved perfect for television and radio.

      In 1981, WRAL-TV and WRAL-FM formed a partnership with The North Carolina Symphony and began broadcasting the concert live on location. That first broadcast originated from Raleigh’s Pullen Park, but the event was moved the next year to a larger outdoor venue at Meredith College’s McIver Amphitheatre.

      The live performances were simulcast in stereo on WRAL-FM, so audio quality was of extreme importance. WRAL producers and engineers spent weeks perfecting microphone placements, sound levels, camera-angles and in-depth knowledge of the musical score that ultimately yielded a first-rate broadcast.

      Over the years the concerts have grown in popularity and attendance climbed steadily; by the year 2000, an estimated 40,000 people attended the concert. Many thousands who couldn’t attend the events in person watched on Channel 5 and listened on WRAL-FM.

      WRAL news anchors and personalities have routinely hosted the festivities and guest musicians from around the state were given the opportunity to perform with the symphony, including WRAL’s resident composer/musician Bill Leslie.

      Various attractions for children were added over time, including soccer contests, pony rides, coloring books, free balloons and registration for the safety-oriented “Ident-a-Kid” program.

      Each and every year, Pops in the Park concludes with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” followed by a rousing rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” complete with fireworks and simulated cannon-fire. It’s always a crowd pleaser that leaves everyone smiling.

      In 2001, a final change of venue moved the concert from Meredith College to Cary’s Koka Booth Theater. The NC Symphony enjoys its Summer Concert Series at the Booth Theater to this day.

  • Historic Restoration

    Historic Restoration

    Capitol Broadcasting Company’s first major historic restoration project began in 2002 when the company purchased the abandoned American Tobacco factory in Durham. Over the next decade CBC would invest more than $200 million to complete the largest project of its kind in the state. The American Tobacco Historic District has been recognized nationally as the definitive example of redeveloping and repurposing historic properties.

    CBC views historic restoration as a way to conserve and protect historically-significant buildings while also creating economic growth and vitality in the surrounding community. The American Tobacco project is regarded as the catalyst that changed the economic trajectory of downtown Durham.

    CBC’s newest project is the restoration and redevelopment of the historic Rocky Mount Mills in Eastern North Carolina. CBC purchased the old textile mill in 2007 and now plans to transform it into the Rocky Mount Brewmill – an incubator for startup craft breweries along with production, sales and educational facilities associated with the craft beer industry.


    • Ray Wilkinson Little Known and Interesting Places in NC

      Ray Wilkinson, best known for his reporting on NC agriculture, was also interested in the history of North Carolina. Here are three stories about locations and people that made North Carolina unique and important in the larger history of America. The stories are separated by countdown leader.

    • CBC Lobby

      Lobby for the corporate administrative building in 1960

    • Rocky Mount Mills

      View of the historic Rocky Mount Mills along the Tar River in Rocky Mount, NC. CBC plans to restore the property and create Rocky Mount Brewmill, an incubator for craft brewers.

    • Old Beaufort Seaport and Tall Ships Celebration

      Host David Crabtree gives a tour of the Tall Ships event in Beaufort, N.C. Also included is a firsthand look at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut and its 19th century seafaring village, maritime exhibition gallery and active preservation shipyard. Mystic Seaport mirrors what Olde Beaufort Seaport will provide for North Carolinians and other tourists in the future. This locally produced special first aired in July 2006, following the Tall Ships event.

    • Lucky Strike smokestack

      One of American Tobacco’s most-recognizable structures rises above the complex before the CBC restoration is complete.

  • Sports in the Community

    Sports in the Community

    CBC’s coverage of sports goes well beyond high school football, the ACC or the professional teams that visit the region.  Major sporting festivals have come to our area and CBC has been there to cover the action and sponsor the activities.  Here is a sample of the sporting events that have made a difference in the community:


    • Dreams of Gold NC Olympic Festival 1987

      After several years of dreaming, North Carolina landed the Olympic Festival for 1987. The opening ceremonies took place on July 17, 1987 in Carter-Finley stadium in Raleigh. Athletic events were held in nearby cities. Greensboro hosted figure and speed skating. Durham was the site for track and field, soccer and wrestling. Chapel Hill hosted basketball, gymnastics, and swimming. Cary was home base for archery. Raleigh was tapped to host diving, boxing, and equestrian. Kerr Lake was the site for yachting.

      WRAL Sports anchors Tom Suiter and Bob Holliday host this special broadcast, Dreams of Gold, leading up to the festival.

      Capitol Broadcasting Company was a Grand Patron sponsor of the Festival.

      Aired: July 11, 1987

    • Last UNC Men’s Basketball Game in Carmichael Auditorium

      The last UNC Men’s Basketball game in Carmichael. UNC vs NCSU. January 6, 1985.

      Carmichael was known as one of the loudest arenas in the country while the Tar Heel men played there. The architecture of the building had a low roof and a student section that ringed the court.

      UNC Men’s Basketball coach Dean Smith led North Carolina to its arena-opening 82-68 victory over William & Mary in 1965. UNC player, Bob Lewis, made the first shot in Carmichael.

      On January 6, 1986 North Carolina Coach Dean Smith led his Tar Heels to finish its 20-year stay in Carmichael Auditorium the way it started – with a victory. The No. 1 and undefeated Tar Heels defeated rival North Carolina State 90-79. A few weeks later, January 19, the Tar Heels started playing in the Dean Smith Center, AKA “The Dean Dome.” That first game was against Duke.

      The Tar Heels record Carmichael Auditorium, AKA “Blue Heaven” was 169-20.

      Who made the final basket at Carmichael? *Spoiler Alert*
      NCSU basketball coach Jim Valvano made a lay-up basket after the game. He claimed bragging rights to be the last one to make a basket in Carmichael.

    • Extra Effort Award Winner Moses Farmer Western Harnett High School

      WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Tom Suiter started giving out the Extra Effort award on a weekly basis in September 1981 to area high school athletes who excelled in the classroom as well as their chosen sport. The tradition continued until Suiter retired in 2016.

      In this video, Moses Farmer, student at Western Harnett High School is presented the Extra Effort Award circa 1985-1986.

    • Extra Effort Award Cory Phillips student at Northern Nash High School

      WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Tom Suiter started giving out the Extra Effort award on a weekly basis in September 1981 to area high school athletes who excelled in the classroom as well as their chosen sport. The tradition continued until Suiter retired in 2016.

      In this video, Cory Phillips, student at Northern Nash High School is presented the Extra Effort Award circa 1985-’86.

    • Extra Effort Award Winner Curtis Whitley Smithfield Selma High School

      WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Tom Suiter started giving the Extra Effort award on a weekly basis in September 1981 to area high school athletes who excelled in the classroom as well as their chosen sport. The tradition continued until Suiter retired in 2016.

      In this video, Curtis Whitley, student at Smithfield/Selma High School is presented the Extra Effort Award circa 1985-’86.