Inside WRAL

Newsroom 'sparkles and shines' with new facelift

Posted September 27, 2011
Updated September 28, 2011

"That's a wrap, boys!" With those words, WRAL anchor Bill Leslie helped tear down the temporary news set the station has been using the past two weeks while the newsroom underwent a major renovation.

WRAL-TV's former news set Photos: WRAL's renovated newsroom

Leslie and co-anchor Pam Saulsby unveiled the new set during the noon news Tuesday, along with updated graphics, music and a 3D weather system.

"I like the way (the set) sparkles and shines," Leslie said. "We've always been on the leading edge of technology ... This is a major step forward."

Would you like to visit WRAL and see the new set? Post a comment on our Facebook page telling us why you'd like to visit. We'll pick the best story and announce a winner Wednesday. 

The new set, designed by FX Group in Florida, incorporates more technology in the design, including several flat screen TVs – the largest of which is 82 inches. The centerpiece of the set, and probably the most noticeable change for viewers, is the addition of the Raleigh skyline on plexiglass behind the anchors, along with 73-inch TVs on each side.

On the previous set, launched in 2001, viewers could see the newsroom in the background, including people walking around and working at their desks.

"We felt (the set) needed to get a face lift, to be more contemporary," said Jim Rothschild, WRAL's operations director. "It was time to reinvest in the most important, most visible product we put on air."

The set is predominantly blue, because "our people look really nice on a blue background," Rothschild said, noting that many network shows use the same color palette.

During the two-week renovation, on-air staff moved to another studio in the station, where a temporary set was erected to resemble the one that was torn down. WRAL donated the old desk to Fayetteville State University's communications program.

To recreate the old set, WRAL enlisted the help of a company in Sweden, which printed a picture of the newsroom on a 14x7 piece of fabric, which hung behind the anchors. The fake anchor desk was created by printing a picture of the desk on a foam board. 

"We didn't want it to be jarring for viewers," Rothschild said. "I dare say, most viewers had no idea."

More changes happened behind the scenes as well, with a new high-definition control room, where producers, directors and crew members work to get the newscasts on air. Down the hall, engineers overhauled the heart of the TV station, known as Master Control, where technicians monitor everything viewers see and hear on WRAL-TV.

Below, watch a timelapse of WRAL's makeover, see Bill Leslie tear down the temporary set and get a behind-the-scenes look at the set with Brian Shrader.

WRAL-TV's renovated newsroom Timelapse of WRAL's makeover

Bill Leslie tears down temporary WRAL set Bill Leslie tears down temporary WRAL set

Brian Shrader's behind-the-scenes look at the new set Brian Shrader's behind-the-scenes look at the new set






















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  • missymaiorano2 Oct 5, 2011

    I still see NO comments from WRAL on this site. ARE YOU READING WHAT YOUR VIEWERS (or used-to-be-viewers) ARE POSTING????? Where are the answers? What about Pam? What about Cullen? What about those horrific cylinders? Please respond. NBC-17 is looking better and better every day. WRAL made some huge mistakes. It's time to answer for them. Seriously. Just post on your own site!~Melissa Maiorano

  • YipesStripes Oct 4, 2011

    The new set is atrocious. It's cold, impersonal and, quite frankly, looks cheap. WRAL has always had a personal feel - it tied in with their "Here To Help" campaign and really just felt "homey." Someone lost their focus and became more interested in competing instead of placing their efforts on doing what they know best. Not to mention, getting rid of Pam Saulsby was a huge mistake. HUGE. Those commercials a few months ago about how she and David Crabtree had worked together for years and "some things just work" - where'd that go? Huh? Seriously, now WRAL is an absolute JOKE. Goodbye.

  • jettyd Oct 4, 2011

    I like the new set, but the yellow reflections directly above the newscasters' heads (looks like a reflection of doors and windows that are behind the camera) are driving me NUTS!!! Please, please, please get rid of those reflections! I can't stand to watch the news because I'm so distracted by the yellow blobs.

  • bissette Oct 4, 2011

    Thank You Carolinagirl for the information.
    Going to another Channel for the news too.

  • wmckinney Oct 4, 2011

    I'm not a fan of the new set. It has a cold, impersonal feel about it. The previous set was cozy and warm. This change seems like a step back to me, not forward. The new set looks like it was cranked out of a mold and only distracts from the newscast. I know you can't please everybody; just count me among the displeased!

  • dorisnjo Oct 3, 2011

    Well this is one viewer that's had enough.... That must have been the morning crew that was laughing at their viewers judgeing from the time on Carolinagirls note.... I will get my news from the computer or on news 14 from now on.... Bye WRAL

  • carolinagirl1976 Oct 3, 2011

    bissette, they really didn't give an explanation for the "cylinder graphics", just that they had had a lot of questions, so they were explaining to confused viewers that these cylinders do not depict water, meaning rain every day. They were all laughing. I assure WRAL that your viewers are NOT amused! And I'm pretty sure Pam Saulsby did not leave of her own free will -- she was fired. Would love to see WTVD hire Pam. We are starting to view the news at WTVD more and more.

  • bissette Oct 3, 2011

    Please excuse my mistakes.
    Carolinagirl....really curious about what explanation they had for the cylinders.......I hope you will let me know.

  • bissette Oct 3, 2011

    So how did they explain the cyliders?
    If they lauged at people being confused about the forecast being on a cylinder then they really have a problem and are so arrogant. Goodbye Channel 5 for good after 30 years. I was one of the ones questioning the cylinders that looks like water and makes you think there is rain in the forecast. Seriously, I think most people do. I've asked a lot of people and they think the same. But, when you laugh at your viewers............well............I'm going to WTVD from now on. Low class and ignorant to be on camera and laugh at your viewers. If you continue Channel 5 you will not be on air for long from losing all of your audience. I can see why Pam Saulsby left. She had too much class for those nerds and arrogant co-workers.

  • It Starts Today Oct 3, 2011

    The weather anchor's desk being so far away from the news anchor's desk is rediculous... Last night during the 10 PM news the camera was panned way out so you could see both Renee Chou and Kim Deaner and you could hardly hear the conversation they were having..




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