More Highlights for Dedication Ceremony
October 17, 1956 was ground breaking day for construction of the WRAL-TV studios and offices located at 2619 Western Boulevard in Raleigh, North Carolina. WRAL-FM carried the dedication ceremonies LIVE with Fred Fletcher, VP of Capitol Broadcasting introducing the guest speakers and providing commentary. George Geoghegan, VP of Wachovia Bank and Trust served as Master of Ceremonies. Other speakers included Charles Campbell, President of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wesley Williams, Secretary of the Raleigh Merchants Association.
The highlight of the event was Dorothy Collins, star of the NBC television program “Your Hit Parade,” joining CBC Founder and President AJ Fletcher to turn the soil with a gold color shovel. The day was rainy and gray, but everyone beamed with excitement. Dorothy Collins said, “I hope this station goes on forever and ever.”
The construction seen in the video occurred in the weeks and months after the dedication ceremony. WRAL-TV signed on the air December 15, 1956 and initially broadcasted from the transmitter building until the completion of the building on Western Boulevard.
The friendship between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and NC Senator Jesse Helms was special. Both fought for conservative principles in their countries. Helms stood by Thatcher and President Reagan as they fought to bring down the Iron Curtain. In April, 2001 Lady Margaret Thatcher served as the guest speaker at the grand opening the A.J. Fletcher Building, a 23,000 square-foot interactive museum that now serves as the headquarters for the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate, North Carolina. In his 2005 memoir “Here’s Where I Stand” Helms wrote, “From the beginning I knew she would be a leader like few the world has seen.”
The video features a meet and greet time with Thatcher and a Question and Answer session that took place April 27, 2001 at Quail Hollow Country Club, Charlotte, N.C. On April 28, 2001 Helms and Thatcher cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Jesse Helms Center, followed by a speech by Prime Minister Thatcher.
The Right Honorable Margaret Thatcher ends her speech by quoting poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
“Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
is hanging breathless on thy fate!”
May God always bless America!
Silent film footage of the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of the WRAL-TV studios on Western Boulevard in Raleigh, NC. Robert Sarnoff, president NBC television network, cut the ribbon.
WRAL became an ABC affiliate in 1962 and then in 1985 switched to CBS. On February 29, 2016 WRAL once again became an NBC affiliate.
WRAL-TV signed on the air the evening of December 15, 1956. In a small studio beneath the station’s 1100-foot transmission tower, CBC Founder A.J. Fletcher welcomed viewers to Channel 5 and its first program: Miracle on 34th Street.
NBC President Robert Sarnoff cuts the ribbon at newly-constructed WRAL-TV offices and studios. WRAL President and GM Fred Fletcher looks on.