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Around 30 years ago, an employee at WRAL, Capitol Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., made what Jon Accarrino calls an “unfortunate decision” to toss roughly two decades of archival video into the trash. “Maybe they ran out of space or they just didn’t know what to do with it,” Accarrino says. “I’m not sure.”
What Accarrino, Capitol’s VP of strategic business development, does know is that upon hearing of the loss, management was frustrated. They only grew more upset when they learned that, like many other stations looking to conserve storage space, WRAL had been taping over additional archival tapes with new content.
Accarrino says the boss “saw the legacy of the station and its history starting to disappear.” And though it took a while — as well as a sizable amount of cash — in 2015 WRAL digitized its remaining archives: 26,000 tapes, some dating back to 1976.
The initiative better ensured the safety and sustainability of the archives. It also set the stage for an even bigger technological undertaking, of which the benefits to WRAL and the community it serves will start to become known in a few months.
This Thursday, WRAL will announce a partnership with Eon Media, a Toronto-based tech company focused on artificial-intelligence video streaming solutions, that will generate boundless access to the station’s archives. The vast cache of now metadata-encoded video — amounting to half a million hours’ worth of content, according to