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 www.enoughnc.org, 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 eNOughNC.org 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 enoughnc.org.

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.

WRAL Using Social TV to Inspire Community

It all started with the Executive Director of the Komen NC Triangle to the Coast affiliate asking if we could make her dream come true. Well, we do love a challenge at WRAL! We’re a station with community focused DNA, partnering with local agencies to bring real and sustained change to important issues. Komen wanted the Triangle Race for the Cure to be the most “social race” in the country. They had a hashtag in mind but needed us to figure out how to show all the people using it on social media on site during the Raleigh Race for the Cure.

10,000 Strong

2014 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure: 10,500 Strong

Immediately, I thought of Jenni Hogan and tagboard. Jenni and I share a passion for Social TV and have collaborated several times, first with WRAL as a beta station for her TV Interact product and later on WRAL’s first ever Social TV documentary #missionormoney. Tagboard is a live hashtag hub that aggregates content from twitter, facebook, instagram, vine, google+ and app.net. The tagboard dashboard is tabbed to toggle between LATEST posts (all posts coming in using the hashtag), and FEATURED posts (posts you choose to be seen on the public board). This gives you ultimate control of what content goes ‘live’ on your board. We practiced with it for about two weeks and it worked beautifully onsite at the event. We set up two Samsung 70 inch touchscreen monitors. Next time, I’d like an 80-100+ inch video wall meant to be viewed outside! Can I get a sponsor for that?

Building it for Live TV Because the full suite of products had not been used on TV before, we had a learning curve. The tagboard engineers and designers collaborated with the WRAL graphics team for a good result.We debuted the live touchscreen mode, fullscreen automated and became the first station to use the live, automated lower third super.

Marketing It We named our baby the “Social Inspiration Board.” Our partners at the Komen NC Triangle to the Coast affiliate started promoting usage of the hashtag about two weeks before the event in email blasts, on their web site and social media. WRAL created social share graphics that both the station and Komen posted to our social networks:

Created and posted on twitter, facebook and instagram

Created and posted on twitter, facebook and instagram

Komen posted “how to” photos to twitter, facebook and instagram:

Helping teach people how to participate!

Helping teach people how to participate!

We ran static, as well as Jivox interactive, web ads on WRAL.com:

A variety of web ad sizes give us maximum exposure on wral.com

A variety of web ad sizes gives us maximum exposure on wral.com and WRAL mobile.

Jivox interactive web ad includes live twitter widget.

Jivox interactive web ad includes live twitter widget.

We promoted on air during newscasts in the week leading up to the race, and the Social Inspiration Board was a key part of our live coverage on race day.

Results #KomenTri trended on twitter in Raleigh for 11 hours. It was the top hashtag for the day on #tagboard in Seattle. “The WRAL campaign trended online for 11 hours, the reach Shelly and her team got for #KomenTri could have easily been over 6 million people with the impressions even higher than that,” Jenni Hogan, Chief Media Officer of #tagboard.

KomenNCTC’s facebook page saw a 453% increase in fans, and a 328% increase in reach. Tagboard reports 660 unique posts, not including shared posts. Twitter made up half of these posts, with Instagram and Facebook making up the other half.

It’s important to not ignore those platforms in live events, as the combination can exponentially increase exposure. We could clearly see a spike in posts during live television coverage that used the live lower third serving as a call to action for people not at the event to get involved by sending messages of inspiration to those participating. Considering, we debuted the Saturday of the Men’s US Open (being played in North Carolina!), the NBA Finals and USA World Cup Soccer … we’re more than pleased with the social results. Oh and the end game for our partners at Komen:

Raised a million dollars for breast cancer research and support.

Raised a million dollars for breast cancer research and support.

Social TV is changing the game. You can drive viewers to your content on all your platforms using social media. You can dominate the social chatter in your market with a coordinated effort that includes on air, social and web promotion. Cable channels are doing it and getting big results, so can the locals. We have the opportunity right now to create self-sustaining audiences using content that engages their values. If you’re not experimenting, get started! Complete web/tv coverage of the this event: http://www.wral.com/thousands-put-on-pink-to-race-for-the-cure/13733742/

UPDATE: “WRAL Hosts Most Social Race in the U.S.” TVNewscheck MarketShare article by Paul Greeley 

UPDATE: Team WRAL — a team open to the public to join our on air talent – was the largest corporate team in the race and raised $11,388.

Making Live TV With Google Glass

Google Glass wasn’t built for broadcasting live TV. We don’t know if any other television station has attempted it.

What is it?  Google Glass is a wearable, voice-controlled computer with an optical head-mounted display and built in video camera. Glass delivers an augmented reality image to the wearer. It can search the internet, answer dictated questions, take pictures, and record video.

WRAL Traffic Anchor Brian Shrader wearing Google Glass

WRAL Traffic Anchor Brian Shrader wearing Google Glass

The question was: could it be used to broadcast live TV?

WRAL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, NC,  and parent company Capitol Broadcasting Company have a legacy of innovation. We LOVE a challenge like this one.

It started by registering with Google as a developer to try to get our hands on the technology. That was taking too long, so WRAL engineer Tony Gupton suggested we get them the way anyone gets the most obscure of objects: eBAY! WRAL Chief of Engineering and Operations Pete Sockett scored and the race was on. How quickly could we learn how it works, figure out how to route the video signal from it to live TV, brainstorm and implement a plan for a continuous live feed for WRAL.com, design on air and web graphics, put together a 4 day broadcast plan, develop and launch a marketing plan to promote the weeklong #WRALGlass event? The answer: 5 days. It takes a village, people.

WRAL Engineer Tony Gupton was lead teacher and problem solver.

WRAL Engineer Tony Gupton was lead teacher and problem solver.

WRAL Director James Ford and Lead Designer Steve Loyd work on presentation

WRAL Director of News Operations James Ford and Lead Designer Steve Loyd work on presentation.

WRAL Traffic anchor Brian Shrader learning to operate Google Glass

WRAL Traffic anchor Brian Shrader learning to operate Google Glass.

WRAL Director of News Operations James Ford setting up the switcher.

WRAL Director of News Operations James Ford setting up the switcher.

Output of WRAL control room #1 put Glass on TV, output of WRAL control room #2 streamed continuous output from Glass on WRAL.com.

Output of WRAL control room #1 put Glass on TV, output of WRAL control room #2 streamed continuous output from Glass on WRAL.com. TV viewers saw a picture in picture display.

Once we had the technology and were figuring out how to operate it, we had to decide what to do with it on air. WRAL Station Manager Jim Rothschild had the idea to have different members of the morning team wear Glass so viewers could see and hear different points of view.

WRAL’s 30-year veteran Morning News anchor Bill Leslie broke the news that he would be first.

@wralbleslie breaks the news on twitter

@wralbleslie breaks the news on twitter

Bill’s viewpoint gave the audience a chance to see what Bill sees, from the crew chief’s directions, to three robotic cameras, to his co-anchors eating snacks during the commercial breaks. Day one of the #WRALGlass experiment was an eye opener! Bill’s commentary was priceless and we learned that head movements are really exaggerated with Glass.

Watch and listen to news anchor Bill Leslie’s live eye view

Viewers rarely ever see or hear the studio crew chief, or even know what his job is. WRAL’s Stuart Todd promised managers a “show” when he stepped up to take on #WRALGlass and he delivered.

Watch and listen to crew chief Stuart Todd’s live eye view

During a live newscast, the producer is like air traffic control landing six planes at once. WRAL producer Kianey Carter’s day in #WRALGlass will make you appreciate the quick thinking, clear headed, multitaskers that these folks are. Rockstars behind the scenes!

Watch and listen to producer Kianey Carter’s live eye view

Finally, WRAL traffic anchor Brian Shrader, the sparkplug of WRAL’s morning news, a bundle of energy and fun.

Watch and listen to traffic anchor Brian Shrader’s live eye view

Here’s a combined stream of what viewers saw on air and what viewers simultaneously saw on WRAL.com:


Because so many people don’t know what Google Glass is or what it does, we took a conversational approach to the TV promotion, using the news anchors to demonstrate it. We also felt it was important to show viewers what they’d be seeing during the broadcast. We created web ads to promote #WRALGlass on WRAL.com. We generated more than 480k impressions on twitter using #WRALGlass and got some national press for the experiment.

Article in Broadcasting & Cable     Article in TVNewscheck

Overall, a win for innovation and a win for viewers to see a whole new perspective of local television news through Google Glass.

UPDATE on Feb 17, 2014: WRALTechWire Article

UPDATE on Feb 18, 2104: Stats just in from WRAL.com show 11,000 online video views of WRAL’s Google Glass experiment.