He’s staying — WRAL anchor David Crabtree postpones his retirement

WRAL anchor David Crabtree.
WRAL anchor David Crabtree. WRAL/Capitol Broadcasting Company

There’s a reprieve for local viewers dreading the retirement of longtime WRAL anchor David Crabtree, a retirement announced last year and scheduled for next month: He isn’t going anywhere after all.

WRAL announced today that Crabtree has postponed his retirement and will stay on for another two years, keeping Crabtree at the anchor desk for the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts at least through 2020.

The news release from WRAL cites this summer’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 vice president and general manager Joel Davis echoed that in an interview Wednesday with The News & Observer. “He is a tried and true journalist and what he went through with Florence, he knows it’s a calling and that his work isn’t done.”

Crabtree, an ordained deacon at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, has been in TV news for more than 35 years, taking over as the lead anchor at WRAL when Charlie Gaddy retired in 1994. He is a native of Tennessee who has lived in Raleigh since 1994.

Brad Johansen, whose hire was announced last December as an addition to the “evening news anchor” team who could help anchor “a variety of newscasts,” was assumed to be the heir apparent to the 6 p.m. desk. Johansen started at WRAL in April and has had a reporter-anchor hybrid role there. Davis said Johansen will continue to substitute at the anchor desk and anchor during live news events.