WRAL: The grinch that MIGHT kill Raleigh’s Christmas.

They’ve mastered butchery of the truth.  They’ve killed their own ratings by ditching CBS.  NOW they’re going after Christmas in our capital city: 

At a press conference yesterday in City Plaza, Shop Local Raleigh and ABC 11 announced a new partnership for the 44th annual Raleigh Christmas Parade, including exclusive broadcast rights for ABC 11 as part of the new agreement for 2017.

This didn’t go over so well with WRAL who immediately threatened to broadcast the parade anyway undermining the agreement that the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association had made with ABC 11.

From the News & Observer

““We are delighted that we are going to be broadcasting the Raleigh Christmas Parade for the 44th year,” Steve Hammel, WRAL vice president and general manager, said. “There is no way the hometown station would not broadcast this. We love connecting with our hometown, our owners live here and it was never even a question.” …

WRAL’s desire to broadcast the parade without sponsorship could put the future of the Christmas parade in jeopardy, Jennifer Martin, executive director of the merchants association, said Monday.“The exclusive media broadcast partnership is what helps pay for the cost of the parade,” said Martin. Martin said a sponsor’s contract promises it “exclusive rights” to broadcast. If another station broadcasts anyway, the sponsor could pay less money than it offered when it believed it had those exclusive broadcast rights.

“Without that exclusive media partnership – whoever it is – it actually puts the parade in jeopardy of not happening in Raleigh,” said Martin. “If we can’t guarantee exclusive anymore, what guarantees that sponsorship? Right now that’s what we’re selling. And then it becomes, how do we pay for the parade? I don’t know if WRAL realizes that they are essentially putting the future of Raleigh’s Christmas parade in jeopardy.””


Santa even ended up on the unemployment line over the issue. (Though event sponsors said that a new Santa would appear in the parade this year.)

The Triangle Business Journal ran an article speculating that the feud between ABC 11 and WRAL over the parade might be about larger issues involving money and an ongoing local news ratings war.


“Martin, however, said the contract with ABC11 is worth more than $50,000 and raised concerns about WRAL broadcasting in addition to the broadcast partner.
Martin said she was concerned that a rival WRAL broadcast would make it difficult for the merchants association to sell TV sponsorships in the future. “It’s disheartening that they would be willing to put the Christmas parade for the city in jeopardy,” she said.

Martin said stations have honored the agreements in the past. Hammel did say ABC11 had livestreamed the event the past two years. An ABC11 official, in response, said that it was only one camera shooting from a downtown rooftop and had no audio.

WRAL switched networks with WNCN in 2016, when WRAL took over the NBC affiliation and WNCN became the CBS network for central North Carolina. WRAL had been the longtime leader in the market in ratings, but ABC11 has made gains since the switch, industry insiders say. Ratings are not made public.”


Whatever the reason, the Raleigh Christmas Parade is a Raleigh institution every bit as important to the city as any television news station’s coverage. Parents and children alike are caught in the crossfire as WRAL’s greed and fear of loss of prestige puts Raleigh’s signature holiday event in jeopardy. Let’s just hope that WRAL’s heart grows a few sizes larger for Christmas this year.