With the Christmas season just around the corner, there is no holiday joy in Raleigh.
For 43 years, WRAL broadcast the Raleigh’s Christmas parade, but it is not going to do so this year and it has turned into a pissing match.
The station lost the contract to WTVD and it appears there are some hurt feelings and bad blood.
Not only will WRAL not be putting on the parade, the station will also not be allowed to have a float in the parade either.
The Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, which puts on the parade, says WRAL missed the application deadline for floats.
Also, parade participants have been strictly warned by the merchants association not to allow any WRAL cameras on their floats or entries.
It seems that this got nasty when WRAL announced its intentions to broadcast the parade, even without the official sponsorship. Jennifer Martin, director of the merchants association, has said that doing so sets a dangerous precedent and puts future parades at risk, potentially making it more difficult for GRMA to sell sponsorship and fund the parade.
And they aren't messing around.
The group, which puts on the parade through its Shop Local Raleigh Initiative, took a hard line, telling participants: “We have been made aware that another media station in town has reached out to several of you asking if they can put cameras on your floats or entries. There is no commercial broadcasting or filming allowed by any participant. If any of your entries show up with WRAL or any other broadcast stations cameras on your float or on your entry, you will be removed from the parade immediately and will not be allowed to participate in future parades and no refunds will be given. If any station contacts you asking if they can put a camera with your entry, do not hesitate to contact us.”
Steve Hammel, general manager and vice president of WRAL, said Wednesday that the station never had to apply for its floats in the past because it was the sponsor. He said WRAL’s previous contract had allowed it three entries.
“I’m disappointed that GRMA has placed us on a wait list, which has never happened in the history of the parade for us,” Hammel said. “This is not really about us – it’s about what the float represents, which is Coats For the Children. Eight thousand children are in need in Wake County, in need of the community’s assistance. For an organization that is supposed to be helping merchants, I assume they’re also trying to help unfortunate children.”
Let's be honest, of course it's about them.