Working Christmas Comments

Rick Fuller - IPTV, formerly KCCI, ABC News
Another great round of comments about working in the media business on the holidays.

Here’s a few comments that not all could see the first time. These came into my Facebook page. So, now all can read as we all remember our great stories about working the holiday. Whether its falling asleep in master control or leaving the front door wide open in a resignation declaration.
These comments come from working Christmas Eve.
And a second post about working Christmas Day.

Joel Poppen:

Running master control at an independent station with no news department was a very lonely Christmas. Ran morning cartoons and three or four movies. Didn’t want to screw up. Didn’t want to have to call the chief engineer for help on Christmas.

Michael McFarland:

Fell asleep at master control while running programming…a friend came in and scared the living $h1t out of me.

Dan Pearson:

brutal.

Mike Colon:

I figured out right off the bat, unless an orphanage explodes on 25 DEC, it is one right slow news day. Everybody else wants to go off and share their love, that’s great, but some of us have to fill a show.

Brian Danner:

One of the main reasons I left the business lol. Media members have families too they should get the day off. No one wathces the news on christmas day anyway.

Steph Boeding:

At the newspaper, it’s usually a nice, quiet news night, most everyone who’s working is in a festive mood, and there’s always lots of food around. And you used to get paid double for working on a holiday…

Greg Berry:

Christmas was OK. Didn’t have to get in ’til after 2. It was Christmas Eve that I didn’t like. I remember running across the street (to one of the billion churches or funeral homes around KIMT) just in time for the 11 PM service. My wife and parents were already there.

Jonathon Walter Gregg:

At the last station my days off were Thursday and Friday…and this year..i work fo a non-profit…so..i wont be working…so i have yet to work a thanksgiving, Xmas or new years eve….

Phil Roberts:

I was a college kid working my way through school as an evening deejay. The program director had the shift before me. As I listened to the station while I drove to work, I thought it odd that he wasn’t talking, merely playing one record after another. Came to find out he was feeling sorry for himself for having to work Christmas. He was also plastered. Couldn’t have talked without slurring had he wanted to.

Brian Weckerly:

Yes, and I’ll be wearing a wig, fake beard, makeup, and lots of wool. Part 1:


Part 2:

Robert Fisher:

What’s this work thing you are talking about?

By the way, the Evangelical Free Church in Britt just called, no Christmas Eve services tonight…I suppose I better update the list so it gets on all five radio stations.

Mike Peasley:

Of course…someone has to deliver those high quality sportscenters

Michael Stadie:

Of course the Pastoral types work on Christmas Eve and often Christmas Day, not to mention the other holidays.

April Samp:

News business – ’nuff said.

Bert Rigdon:

I worked about 42 Christmas Eves in a row!! Milk haulers went everyday, or at least the trucks had to.

Andrew J. Vickers:

You’re a doctor…some people have to work the holidays, with everyone else off of work, who would we watch on the TV if everyone was off, I just couldn’t watch reruns the whole holiday. Lookin forward to seeing you on IPTV. With that being said, I think it would stink!

Bob Palmer:

I have decided that there is no greater joy than a live shot in the snow at ten on Christmas Eve.

Dan Pearson:

It’s a palmer holiday tradition dating back to a Christmas in Cambridge.

Shawn Harmsen:

Many times, and probably one of the top five things i miss the least about working in the biz.

Nicole Bruene:

I second Shawn’s comment!

Michael Peterson:

My first Christmas as a professional broadcaster took place in 1987. I was working as a night announcer/newsman at KILR in Estherville, Iowa. Since I was a new guy, I was stuck with working the holidays. I was all alone, isolated from family and friends. I was finished at around midnight Christmas Eve, and went to start my car.
The car wouldn’t start. I had to call one of the other announcers at KILR, who was able to arrange an Estherville police officer to pick me up. The next day, our sports director arranged to have a local car mechanic fix the car. The problem was a frozen gas line. Definitely a memorable–not to mention depressing–Christmas!

Roger Riley:

It was at KBIM-TV in Roswell NM, my first Christmas Eve working. After I covered last minute shoppers, I had the fun job of tearing apart the Jamison film processor and scrubbing it down. This had to be done every so often.
Nothing like the smell of bleach which yellows your fingers! When the film processor was not running- it really was a Silent Night! I remember looking out an open door that night and seeing the brilliant stars over head. ( No aliens ever mentioned back then)
BTW we shot film with a CP-16 SOF (sound on film) camera and silent Bell & Howell windups.
No tape injest or file upload, just ‘running it throught the soup’ then cutting and hoping it all looked good on air. Posting some of my old stuff to YouTube Facebook soon! Had almost forgotten about this- until you asked!!!
Remember the next year having Christmas eve off- then driving back Christmas day afternoon trying to get to work on time- almost ran out of gas coming back from Carlsbad to Roswell NM in my 1976 AMC pacer. Went down to Carlsbad to spend time with a college buddy and his family. They treated me great.

Francie:

I work at the newspaper every Christmas, every year. I’m Jewish, and if I wasn’t working, I’d be at the movies or eating Chinese food at home watching movies.

Christmas is most always boring. Sometimes something catches fire. That happened a lot when I worked in the South and inevitably someone forgot how to fry a turkey correctly.

On Christmas, I can always count on a story on the Pope pontificating about peace on Earth or not killing babies. Since 2002, I can also count on a story about the troops eating Christmas dinner with a surprise guest (look guys, it’s Condi Rice! With that guy from 30 Rock!)

Sometimes on Christmas, it snows somewhere. A lot. And you get the inevitable White Christmas story.

Christmas Eve is nice too. You always get the “lets follow Santa with NORAD” story on TV. I don’t understand why NORAD lies. Oh wait, isn’t it a government agency? Never mind.

A lot of times, on Christmas Eve, I get to go home early. Then I get to stay up playing video games or watching a non-Christmas movie, like ‘Terminator 2.’ ‘Cuz nothing says Bah Humbug like robots taking over Earth.

Lauren Squires:

It’s never easy working a holiday, especially when your family lives in Memphis. Growing up in Cedar Rapids and working in the production department in high school, I have worked Christmas several times, but my family was right in town so it wasn’t lonely or sad.

Last year, December 2008, was my first Christmas “alone” and away from my family. Before you go feeling bad for me…I wasn’t completely alone. I was blessed to be invited to my boyfriend’s family Christmas (we’d only been dating a few weeks) and I had several invites from Dubuquers. Either way, no matter how hard I tried, it was really hard for me. Everytime I heard the song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” I’d either turn the channel or start to cry.

Anyway, I worked the dayside shift on Christmas Day. My story: people who have to work on Christmas. Ironic I know!! So I called up the fire department here in Dubuque and caught them as they were cooking and sharing a meal together. I spent the lunch hour talking with them about being away from their families and how hard it was to miss out. But after spending about an hour with them…I realized they weren’t drowning in their sorrows or even upset. They knew what they signed up for when they become firefighters and they knew they were making a difference. If a fire broke out anywhere, they’d be ready at a moments notice; to save someone’s Christmas.

In all honesty, I learned a lot that day. Yeah it was hard being away from family. Yes it was hard working from a bureau. Yes it was cold and snowy…BUT I realized that I wasn’t really “alone.”

To quote myself that day “if you can’t be with your family at Christmas, you can find family in the people you’re with.” After shooting the story with the fire department I was finished writing and editing it. After a full day’s work I spent the evening with my boyfriends family. It may not have been my family but I found “family” in them.

It wasn’t easy and I hate that I’ll probably do it again in the future. But I will never forget the lesson I learned that day. You have the make the best of what you’ve got. And you’ve got to find “family” or perhaps “community” where you are…until you can get where you want to be.

This year…I’m headed south on Christmas Eve (pending weather) in hopes to make up for lost time last year. I am extremely grateful!

And no matter where you are this Christmas…have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!

Dave Vickers:

After 30+ years in the media business the process doesn’t change.
I’ve been lucky to have worked few Christmas Days over the years. I ‘trade’ working Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day for not working Christmas. A two-for-one trade usually works! and it was sign-on so it was home early.
Over the years the kids grew up knowing that was the routine and didn’t know any different. I haven’t seen a New Year’s Day parade in years.

Megan Salois:

This Christmas seems to be turning out to be the ultimate working the holidays for the meteorologists! I’m lucky enough to work with some great people who are all willing to do their part over the holidays during a storm that picked an unfortunate day to move through Iowa.

Holidays are some of my favorite days to work. People are all in a good mood, the atmosphere is relaxed, and there’s lots of food around the office. Plus, my co-workers definately are a part of my family… at least it seems that way with the amount of time I spend with them!

Erik Ullestad:

Great stories, Paul. Growing up in a pastor’s family (and a church choir director’s, too) Christmas Eve was a “work day” but we were able to find creative ways to honor important rituals. Merry Christmas to Yeager family!

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One thought on “Working Christmas Comments

  1. Years ago, rather than “buy” a 12/24 hour radio Christmas program we would create our own. It took weeks to get all the pastors in the studio and have them record their thoughts. Then each hour of the “show” was scripted. I had to make sure the right song being played around the voice over. (Jingle Bells running next to a reading from the Bible would sort of ruin the moment.) We’d start on Christmas Eve about noon. As the hours got later the more religious the tone of the show. And then the highlight of the event. We would broadcast the Midnight Mass from the largest Catholic Church in town…Corpus Christi. I still remember the smell of all the candles as I went about setting up the “marti” unit and get all the mics up and checked. We’d wrap that up about 1am… What memories. All that time, effort and work. And…the Jewish kid went home hoping the station gave a little joy to the Christians… What a hoot!

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