Partners Auction was a unique blend of live telethon and auction that raised money for a local non-profit organization that matched disadvantaged youth in Wake County with caring adults.
The annual Partners Auction provided a high-energy, rapid-fire broadcast that enticed viewers to bid on items ranging from boats to blenders to a rotor blade from SKY 5. You name it; it was there. If you can imagine a blend of QVC and eBay with WRAL personalities coaxing viewers to call in a bid—that was the Partners Auction!
WRAL-TV converted the Kerr Scott building at the State Fairgrounds into a large studio for each year’s auction. A phone bank was staffed with volunteers to field the many bids from viewers. Members of WRAL’s on-air staff took turns “auctioning” the items and asking for donations.
The Partners organization received the bulk of its yearly operating funds from the auction. Local businesses graciously donated goods and services to be featured on the live televised auction.
WRAL-TV first began producing the Partners Auction in the late 1970’s when Fred Barber was the station’s General Manager. The auctions continued annually under the leadership of GM John Greene until the last broadcast in 1989.