ACC Tournament

WRAL's Bob Holliday to step down

Posted June 25, 2009
Updated June 26, 2009

Bob Holliday, whose thoughtful approach has marked his work at 18 Final Fours and numerous other major events, is leaving WRAL after 28 years of anchoring and reporting.

Holliday has accepted a voluntary severance package offered by Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns the television station.

His final show as a WRAL anchor was Friday at 6 p.m.

Holliday, a high school basketball player in the late 1960s, has retained his passion and enthusiasm for his craft while covering decades of stories and games. He knows how to box out other reporters to get the interviews he needs and takes a high school football game just as seriously as an ACC championship.

"Working at WRAL has been one of the great experiences of my life,” Holliday said. “I’d like to thank the management for the freedom they’ve given us through the years, and the support they’ve given us through the years, to cover the top stories in what I consider the greatest sports market in America.

“To my co-workers: Working alongside all of you these past 28 years has been an honor. You are the best in our business, and I will remain your most ardent fan. And most of all, to the viewers: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the kind words about our coverage. I have tried to represent you in the stories and coverage we have done. For 28 years, I’ve had the best seat in the house. I am forever indebted to all of you.”

Known as "The Captain” in the Sports department, Holliday has served as sports anchor of WRAL’s highly successful weekend newscast since 1981, and he oversaw WRAL’s sports coverage during most of his tenure.

A University of North Carolina graduate, Holliday spent 10 years with the Village Companies, as news and sports director at WCHL radio. His time there included several years on the Tar Heel Sports Network.

Holliday moved to WRAL in 1981 and quickly made his mark as the station’s coverage grew. WRAL anchor Tom Suiter, with Holliday handling the logistics, launched the ambitious Football Friday show that covered 28 high school football games. That show became a WRAL staple and an enormous hit with viewers.

"Bob and I worked side by side for 28 years," Suiter said. "It got so that he knew what I was thinking almost before I did and vice versa. It will be so empty now walking into our Sports department and not seeing him. He has been such a huge part of my life at WRAL.

"Bob is such a good broadcaster and excellent story teller. He knows how to put words to pictures as well as anyone in the business. Very few broadcasters write as well as Bob."

Holliday has been a mainstay on the weekend news, knowing how to balance the ever-growing sports news in the market with information viewers needed on the national scene.

"Bob Holliday is a walking encyclopedia on sports in North Carolina,” said Rick Gall, WRAL News Director. “Most coaches and athletes know him on a first-name basis. His knowledge, experience, quality reporting and anchoring skills will certainly be missed.”

Holliday has been an integral part of WRAL’s coverage for decades, whether it was a U.S. Open in Pinehurst, covering Dale Earnhardt’s stunning death at Daytona, or reporting from the Final Four 18 times for WRAL.

“All the NCAA championships I covered were memorable - UNC in 1982, NCSU in 1983, Duke in '91 and '92, UNC in '93 and UNC in 2005,” Holliday said. “In all of these events, I have great memories of writing stories on deadline, battling locker room crowds to get joyful and sometimes tearful soundbites, and doing live reports from the scene.

“No one who saw it will ever forget my live report from Albuquerque, where the temperature suddenly dropped into the low 20s, and I, having only packed a sportcoat for the trip, told folks back in Raleigh about the Pack’s great victory through clenched, chattering teeth.

“The UNC win in ’82 was also memorable. Jay Jennings and I talked with Michael Jordan on Bourbon Street. We still have the tape. And obviously covering both of Duke’s back-to-back championships, a rare feat in college basketball, is a high point.”

Holliday was in the Carolina Hurricanes' locker room in 2006 for “the wildest celebration I’ve ever seen” after the Canes won the Stanley Cup. He was covering the Daytona 500 the day Dale Earnardt died. And he contributed to efforts that won four Emmy Awards, including a marvelous special on the history of Reynolds Coliseum.

He interviewed Dean Smith soon after Smith retired from North Carolina in 1997 – the only local television reporter to be granted an interview at the time.

"Bob and I have worked on so many stories together. When I was a photographer, we spent hours on the road in conversation. I learned so much from Bob and he has helped me immensely," WRAL anchor Jeff Gravley said.

"Before I left to take a job in Cleveland in 2000, Bob unselfishly offered me his anchor position. There was no way I was going to take him up on that. Bob was a fixture at WRAL and will continue to be long after he takes off the microphone."

Holliday has covered high school every Friday in the fall, venturing to Cumberland County and SouthWest Edgecombe and towns big and small across the WRAL viewing area.

Holliday described covering high school football as “magical” and said. “I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.”

Suiter, said of Holliday, "I have shared so much with Bob Holliday for such a long time. We have agreed and disagreed, argued and laughed, just like any family. And I consider Bob to be family.

"It has been a true honor, a privilege to have worked with him. He is a dear friend."

25 Comments

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  • patrickkyleprice Jun 27, 2009

    Thanks Bob, You will be missed. It is like losing a member of the family. You are truly a class act and will be hard to replace.

  • grichardson05 Jun 27, 2009

    Holliday joins that list of greats who brought so much to WRAL in the 30+ years I've been watching Channel 5. Makes getting older much more of a reality. As with the others - he will be missed.

  • Fish Jun 26, 2009

    Without a doubt, today was a shock for me beginning with the noon newscast. Volanda Calloway announces it was her last day and now I read online that it was also the last day for Bob Holliday! How can this be? As has already been stated -Bob Holliday is one class act equalled only by Tom Suiter and never shall we experience such greatness in sports at WRAL. It is a very sad day for the viewers who have felt a closeness with the likes of Bob Holliday and Tom Suiter -- so sad to lose good friends as we met daily for decades, even if it was "on the air". Best wishes Bob - you are a tremendous sports broadcaster and I pray good things are yet to come your way!

    Susan in Lumberton

  • dabfvnc1 Jun 26, 2009

    thanks Bob - you've been like a friend to the family - WRAL Sports will miss your solid, intelligent reporting and insight. Enjoy the time off, but don't go too far!!!

  • lauraw Jun 26, 2009

    Bob Holiday was a great sports anchor! He will be missed very much.

  • dannas3433 Jun 26, 2009

    I really hate to see Bob leave...his approach to reporting sports was always thorough and delivered with a calmness seldom seen...but I wish him the best and hope he enjoys life to the fullest now that he is FREE!!!

  • TheSTATEment Jun 26, 2009

    I've been watching him for years. He's number 1 at his job. He will be missed.

  • Devil in the Blue Dress Jun 26, 2009

    What a loss! Best wishes to Bob for the future. He's added so much to the quality of the broadcasts from WRAL. I'll miss seeing him at Cameron and other venues.

    It's a sad state of affairs when the most senior and best qualified employees are ushered out the door in the name of saving some money. The same scenario occurred a few months ago at WXII in Winston-Salem.

  • Devil in the Blue Dress Jun 26, 2009

    What a loss! Bob Holliday joins other outstanding broadcast professionals who are given severance packages when the theme is to save money. Something very similar happened at WXII in Winston-Salem a few months ago.

    Best wishes to Bob for your great contributions to making WRAL a market leader. I'll miss seeing you in Cameron and other venues.

  • AlleyOops Jun 26, 2009

    We'll miss you Bob. You always did a great job of everything.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
TEX 3
CLE 12
Final
COL 6
CIN 4
Final
MIA 2
PIT 5
Final
CWS 5
TOR 3
Final
KAN 2
NYY 4
Final
BOS 4
MIN 6
Final
PHI 0
NYM 7
Final
SEA 3
TAM 0
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
Final
DET 3
OAK 2
Final
HOU 4
BAL 5
Final
WAS 3
CHC 0
Final
ARI 3
STL 4
Final
SDP 5
ANA 4
Final
ATL 3
LOS 2
1:05pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Tonight
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Tonight
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
7:05pm Monday
TOR
WAS
 
7:10pm Monday
CHC
MIA
 
7:10pm Monday
MIN
BOS
 
8:10pm Monday
BAL
HOU
 
8:10pm Monday
MIL
STL
 
8:40pm Monday
LOS
COL
 
9:40pm Monday
ATL
ARI
 
10:05pm Monday
TAM
ANA
 
10:10pm Monday
NYM
SDP
 
10:10pm Monday
NYY
SEA
 
10:15pm Monday
PIT
SFG
 
Final
HOU 90
GSW 104
Final
ANA 2
CHI 5
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR