Behind-the-scenes promo shoot: Who Is WRAL?

A :60 brand image promo conceptualized, written, blocked, shot and edited in 14 hours by a four person team at WRAL Creative.

After 27 years at WRAL, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, NC, I bleed PMS 279 blue. I grew up watching this station in the Charlie Gaddy era. I know its soul and am now part of its DNA. This spot started with a document I wrote to help our team understand our brand voice, why we do what we do, the way we do it, and the values that guide our decisions. The WRAL Creative team took that document and adapted it for the screen.

We used the cinematography in “Birdman,” the Oscar-winning Best Picture as inspiration. Now, let me just say this. What Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki did in that film is ridiculously difficult. We didn’t do what they did. We didn’t have $18 million dollars or a movie crew. We had four people, a steadicam and one long day to pull it off. Shooting a constantly moving promo this way is a challenge. Shot location, blocking, lighting, timing, how one movement works into the next shot to tell a story – it’s all critical.

Writing: 3 hours
Blocking: 2 hours
Shooting: 5 hours
Editing: 4 hours

It’s worth noting, a promo like this only works if your news anchors are authentically connected, real people who truly live the words they’re speaking. WRAL News anchors Debra Morgan and David Crabtree have a combined 40+ years as the faces of our brand. They are truly, selfless servants. What you see is what you get, every single day.  It’s a delight and a privilege to channel their heart and souls onto the screen.

We are, WRAL.

“You can’t fake caring about people. Eventually, that will show. Plus, how exhausting would that be?!” Debra Morgan


Co-writer, Steadicam, Post-production Justin Arner

Co-director & Lighting Jay Yovanovich

Lighting, Grip, Talent Entertainment Steve Elizondo

Co-writer, Co-director, Audio Shelly Leslie

Outraged about Ray Rice? Do something about domestic violence.

I’ve been outraged more times than I can count since this all started. The first video of this woman being dragged like a carcass out of that elevator. Not one but TWO men standing over her, neither with the slightest care about her well-being. The sham press conference with the victim essentially taking responsibility for the crime against her. You know the rest.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Let’s get something straight. Don’t show the knockout video. Every single organization that’s still showing it is part of the domestic violence problem. Every time that’s shown, that woman is victimized again and again. Just have some guts and STOP.

Now, one of the gifts of working in television is the ability to take on an issue and make a difference. A team of co-workers from WRAL and FOX 50 gathered around a table to brainstorm a plan to do something with the power of our television stations. Within a few hours those ideas grew into a multi-media campaign across Capitol Broadcasting Company‘s television and radio stations, websites and even our minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls. Less than 24 hours later we had a plan to launch a campaign in the Steelers/Ravens game, on the premiere of Thursday Night Football on CBS.

Yes, we gave up thousands of dollars in ad inventory to run a PSA, two actually. A :60 in pre-game and this :90 in halftime:

Ironically, two account executives from WRAL and FOX 50 have been working on a domestic violence initiative for more than a year, bringing together a coalition of agencies working on this issue. Ray Rice gave us the opportunity to get people to listen.

The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its partner agencies, including Capitol Broadcasting, created, a statewide, county-by-county resource for survivors and their batterers. Our mission: get people to that web site.

How to use social media to explode your cause

Visuals equal engagement and engagement is king. We shot behind-the-scenes photos of the PSA for our talent to use on social.

We created social share statistic graphics to help us seed the twitter feed throughout the night from our brand and talent twitter accounts.

We used #tagboard to aggregate all twitter, facebook, instagram posts using #eNOughNC.



  • The NFL game, which featured the Ravens (Ray Rice’s former team) and the Steelers, reached 147,866 households in the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville NC market, averaging a 12.7 rating, 21 share.
  • 9/11 and through 10am on 9/12 generated a total of 683 sessions to the website, 14 times the traffic of the the previous days. And, 90% of those sessions were new visitors.
  • On Twitter, the top 5 trending topics in Raleigh were ALL involved with eNOugh, domestic violence, and the messages we aired on television.  And it all happened within about three hours.

We had national social media participation including Washington, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and Ohio.

It took less than 24 hours to plan and execute this on air initiative across Capitol Broadcasting. Thursday, 9/18, we will host a phone bank in our studios staffed with knowledgeable experts to help people in crisis. We hope what we’re starting is a movement of outrage so loud, people can no longer turn away. That domestic and sexual violence can no longer be ignored.

What can you do?

If you’re in it, please reach out and let your community help you. The statewide North Carolina resource is

The national domestic violence hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE.

If you see it or suspect it, please report it to local police.

EnoughNC Soical6

Next, who’s ready to take on violence against women on television and in the movies? Sign me up.