As I’ve written before, the media profession is one of those that works all days of the year.
You depend on information, mostly the weather, during the days you are going to go to Grandma’s house or try to come home on that day.
Radio stations are the same way, always on, but most of it can be automated.
That wasn’t the case in the late 90’s at Waverly’s AM and FM powerhouse, KWAY. I was a board operator there for a couple of years while at Wartburg. It was a chance to be at a professional radio station and get a little money as well. I would work Saturday and Sunday nights from 6-Midnight.
The station on the southside of Waverly needed to have a board operator from sign on to sign off. I was only there to make sure the satellite signal came in, got through the board and the commercials played correctly. No voice over work or any thing like that.
I believe it was 1996 and my regular Sunday shift was 6p to Midnight on December 24th. No one wanted to trade that night, so it was up to me to work my first Christmas Eve in radio. It wasn’t hard work, but needed to be done as mandated by the FCC.
That was usually the night we opened presents at the Yeager house back in Jesup. Some years we altered it so we were done by 1030 so Mom could go to work for her overnight shift. This year, I asked that we alter it more and not begin until I got home from work. I signed off the station at midnight per FCC requirements and got into the car and made the 45 minute drive home to the farm.
Then we began opening gifts. So really, that year, we opened gifts on Christmas morning. The Yeager’s are part nocturnal, so this was fine. Most nights family will stay up until 2 or 3 anyway, so this year was no different. There were no grandkids in the house that year, just spouses and Uncle Gordon.
That’s not the case anymore. We’re usually done by 8, so some of the kids can go to bed by 9.
Since that night, I’ve anchored the news on Christmas Eve, even shot video at a fight at a north Davenport club. That was my final Christmas Eve night that I’ve worked. Since then, I’ve been gone by 6 or so to be home with family.
My best to those of you working tonight and tomorrow.