More than 30 years of full-time broadcast news experience. Helped pay way through college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by working as a radio news reporter. Served as news director of large radio operations in Norfolk, Va., and Houston and for WRAL-FM in Raleigh and the North Carolina News Network. Joined WRAL-TV in 1984 as managing editor and later became anchor and environmental reporter.
Awards & Recognition:
More than 75 major awards. Bill is the only two-time Peabody Award winner (the top award in broadcasting) from North Carolina; five-time Emmy winner. Other awards include: Society of Professional Journalists National Distinguished Public Service Award (beating network competition); Robert F. Kennedy Award; National Headliner Award; North Carolina Journalist of the Year (twice); Gavel Award; Edward R. Murrow Award; Charles Kuralt Award, UPI National Award for Features
To be fearless in the pursuit of truth.
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hobbies, Interests & Community Involvement:
Author of the book Blue Ridge Reunion. Composer, producer, arranger and performer on eight highly acclaimed Celtic fusion CDs, including: "Simple Beauty," "Christmas in Mitford," "I Am a River," "Peaceful Journey: A Celebration of North Carolina," "Christmas in Carolina" and "Grace and Stone," along with "The Hunt" from the Bragh Adair collection. Named "2005 Best New Artist' by New Age Reporter and "Best Holiday Album in 2005." Albums that have topped the charts in 2004, 2005 and 2006 can be purchased at BillLeslie.com; composer of "Tall Ships," the official song of the 2006 America’s Sail Maritime Festival. Performs with Bill Leslie & Lorica at major venues; playing guitar, Celtic flutes, singing, hiking, touring national parks. Elder at Cary Presbyterian Church. Active in programs for Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Nature Conservancy.
Family & Pets:
Wife, Cindy; daughter, Lauren; and son, William; pet, Rufus (best dog in the world!)
Favorite Books & Movies:
Books: "Cold Mountain," "Sacred Journey," "Out of Solitude;" movies: "Braveheart," "Rob Roy," "Charlotte Gray,” The Green Mile" and "Gladiator"
billleslie.com and Inside Carolina
Likes Best About North Carolina:
Warm and friendly people and the benefit of being able to get easily to the mountains and coast.
Most Memorable Assignments:
Overall environmental reporting from 1989 to 1993, the most rewarding period of my professional career. Reporting of Navy dumping garbage off the North Carolina coast led to a congressional investigation and new rules forcing the Navy to install recycling gear on ships. Environmental reporting in 1991 led to corrective action in the North Carolina General Assembly to prosecute people who pollute. Broke story of pfisteria, a micro-organism that is responsible for killing millions of fish. I also narrated the 1987 Olympic Festival opening ceremonies before 50,000 people at Carter-Finley Stadium. I also emceed the massive salute to Gulf War troops in 1991 in Raleigh. Interviewing President George Bush on a train in 1991; Barbara Bush in Houston in 1991; Charles Kuralt just weeks before his death in 1997; the Rev. Billy Graham at his mountain home in 1996.
More About Bill:
I was the creator of WRAL's Tar Heel Trivia and Hometown Hello segments. My father wrote a column in the local newspaper in Morganton before owning and operating the Book Store, where I first worked for 45 cents an hour sweeping floors and framing pictures. My father was a first cousin to Margaret Ervin, wife of Sen. Sam Ervin. I roomed with John Tesh, just after college, at Meredith Village apartments. We worked together in radio. In 1996 I played guitar with John's band on stage at Walnut Creek in Raleigh. Rick Dees, the most successful radio air personality in America, was my best friend in college at UNC. Rick helped me get my first radio news job in Winston-Salem. Rick played the records and I wrote and read the news on weekends. My family roots in North Carolina run back before the Revolutionary War to the McDowell family at Quaker Meadows in Morganton.