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WRAL anchor David Crabtree extends his contract. He’ll be on the air through 2021.

WRAL-TV lead anchor David Crabtree has extended his contract with Capitol Broadcasting Company, meaning he’ll stay on at the station through 2021.

“We look forward to him extending his legacy of outstanding work on the anchor desk and in the field,” WRAL news director Rick Gall said in an email to The News & Observer. “His continued presence on the air and in the newsroom will surely contribute in a big way to our success.”

Gall informed WRAL staff of Crabtree’s decision on Friday.

Crabtree announced in the fall of 2017 that he planned to retire at the end of 2018, but then in November 2018, Crabtree announced that he would postpone his retirement and stay through 2020.

A news release from WRAL in 2018 cited the previous year’s hurricanes as one reason for Crabtree hanging around: “I’ve got some unfinished business here … there are still interviews to be had and a community to be served … I was re-energized during coverage — where else do you get an opportunity to make a difference for people and to have THEM make such a difference in you? I felt summoned to continue to do this work.”

WRAL 2018 Winter Olympic Team
WRAL anchors David Crabtree, left, and Kathryn Brown are reporting from PyeongChang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics. WRAL

Then in a personal blow, Crabtree announced in late January 2019 that he had lost his position as a member of the clergy in the Episcopal Church because of an inappropriate relationship that violated church rules.

Crabtree read a statement on-air at the end of the January 25 6 p.m. newscast and also posted the statement online on the WRAL website.

WRAL stood by Crabtree, with vice president and general manager Joel Davis saying at the time that the issue was “a personal matter that is between him and the Episcopal church. He will continue his long career here at WRAL. His statement speaks for itself.”

Crabtree, a Tennessee native, took over as lead anchor at WRAL when Charlie Gaddy retired in 1994. He anchors the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts for WRAL.

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Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and answers CuriousNC questions for readers.