Sunday night, January 28, 2001 was a big night for WRAL-TV. Not only did the station broadcast both the SuperBowl XXXV in HD and the premiere of Survivor II: The Australian Outback, WRAL opened the doors on its new all-digital newsroom. The 11 o’clock newscast unveiled its state of the art, all-digital studio.
With this newscast WRAL became the world’s first news operation to gather and present high definition local news on a continuous basis. At that time, John Harris, WRAL’s Director of Special Projects, said, “The 11:00pm newscast will mark our move into the new facility, so it’s the official start of the new era.”
Everything from the furniture to the state-of-the-art set changed for WRAL in the new 24,000 square foot all-digital facility, part of a building expansion project started in 1998. The studio cameras and the field cameras were brand new, 89 pieces of Panasonic DVCPRO HD equipment in all. The Devlin Group in San Diego, who created the cutting-edge design for WRAL, featured the station’s new virtual set on their website.
At that time, WRAL-TV Vice President and General Manager Bill Peterson said, “This conversion to HD has, quite frankly, never been done before. Virtually every piece of equipment we use in putting together a newscast… has completely changed. What viewers will see, even those with standard sets, is truly one-of-a-kind news operation. They’ll see a clearer picture, more detail and a greatly enhanced newsroom designed to function at the highest possible standard.”
WRAL News continues to broadcast its award winning newscast from this space. The news set undergoes updates as the need arises.