Sunday, December 24, 2006

Working on Christmas

When you work in television news, working on Christmas is a mixed bag. There's the holiday pay and the usually-soft newscasts of "Look at all the nice Christmas crap happening today." And, there's the whole "I'm stuck here while everyone else is home with their families. Is anyone even watching the news today?"

Earlier in my career, I worked at a station where the GM would allow people to go home early on the day before a holiday. His e-mails usually went something like this: "If your work allows it, you may leave at noon." Of course, those of us in the news department, where we were stuck until our shifts were over, felt the e-mails should have said: "If you work in sales, and you haven't left yet, go home."

For being the department that was supposed to make our station money, the sales people were sure eager to blow off work when they could. Can't say I blame them; I'd rather be home with my family than doing the same feel-good Christmas crap we did last year, and the year before, and so forth.

Oh well.

Here's to hoping your Christmas is happy, safe, and spent with the ones you love. Even if they work in the sales department. :)

32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At one station where I worked, I was PT and the #1 call for relief work, so I was always around the place. On Christmas, the FT air staff worked two hours each and it was, "Hi, Tom. Can you do 3 to midnight? Thanks."

Merry Christmas to all; Happy last day of Hannukah and, for those who observe Kwanzaa, may it be a time of reflection on your heritage and principles of life.

For the atheists, remember that God still loves you with an infinite love. Doesn't that just piss you off?? :)

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several years ago Nexstar began canceling all Christmas days casts except for the eleven. Not a gesture of good will, mind you, just a way to save money. In union days, working a holiday meant double time and a half. And you just know Sook lost sleep over the thought of that each and every year.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The WBRE news director said last week that he was pleased to announce that the majority of people will have Christmas day off because there are no 5pm, 5:30pm, and 6pm newscasts. He said the higher powers in the company were doing it as a holiday goodwill gesture. I guess the fact NBC has a late afternoon NFL game between the Eagles and Cowboys has nothing to do with it. Come on, we're not that dumb!

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the season of goodwill to others no matter what you believe. Staff members who are non-Christian should volunteer even if it isn't their shift. Christians should do the same for the non-Christians for their holidays. Merry Christmas, and keep Christ in Christmas. Keep your politically correct views to yourself. Peace and goodwill to all!

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Freaking New Year. Now, where in the hell is the I Team?

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 11:38

I'm one reporter proud to be a Christian. Merry Christmas !

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a reminder to 11:38 am: You can't spell CHRIST with NEWS. Keep god to yourself, thanks.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you 9:52PM, for dragging your dirty laundry into a nice, holiday-wishes thread.

Grind your axe somewhere else.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:08 said: You can't spell CHRIST with NEWS. Keep god to yourself, thanks.

Sure you can. I haven't yet worked in a newsroom where people (Christian or not) haven't said "Jesus," "Christ," "Jesus Christ," or "Jesus H. Christ."

If you're gonna say it there, you can say it here.

:) ... sort of.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm one reporter proud to be a Christian. Merry Christmas !"
2:53 PM


But you won't give your name, so you can't be TOO proud.

Let me guess: you let your little light shine all around you, so everyone already knows how godly you are, right?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous former nexstar victim said...

The 9:52 p.m. poster has a very good point. That person is 100% correct in his or her post.

To the 9:31 p.m. poster: You're probably one of those anti-union WYOU fools.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first started in TV, before I had the family (and after I make the huge salary I have now), I volunteered as often as I could. I had very little money, and I would work these holiday shifts just to get the holiday pay and allow my more senior co-workers the time with their families. I made the bucks, and they got the time. It all worked out well. I also know of several field reporters who gathered up anchoring time this way.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First station I worked for, EVERYONE in news got three weeks paid vacation after one year on the job.

The catch? It was a small news staff with a big commitment to news, so everyone was expected to work every holiday. With that as a given, we'd never be short-handed.

Now, two or three days before each holiday the boss would re-work the schedule to give as many people time off as possible--with an emphasis on giving Thanksgiving and Christmas to folks with families. No guarantees, though, except the three weeks vacation.

Tell you what: being 22 years old and getting 15 paid vacation days a year and a holiday here or there was a great trade.

Come to think of it, that station--long ago and far away--treated everyone with respect and fairness, and we all took pride in our work and busted our butts every day.

Tell me: what's RIGHT with this picture, and why aren't there stations (and bosses) like that anymore?

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me: what's RIGHT with this picture, and why aren't there stations (and bosses) like that anymore?

There are myriad reasons, but they all grow and grow from the same root; corporate ownership and its greed and avarice are behind all of it. Deregulation sowed the seeds.

And although those fond of revising history will challenge this, it all began during the Reagan years, the greed-is-good years. Deregulation, whether it was FCC, FTC, or ICC, has had but one effect - it made the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:52pm is not correct on his/her facts.

WYOU/WBRE NEVER "cancelled" newscasts on Christmas Day or Eve. Shows were pre-produced and taped, but never cancelled. Any casts that were pre-empted were done so because of Network programming or football.

There were plenty of occassions (to this day) when casts are run on holidays. I've been there for many of them.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Walter Brasch said...

When I was younger, I often worked Xmas. That's when I was single, away from family, and could take advantage of overtime. (Didn't WBRE used to be union?)Being Jewish also helped. Being a journalist also meant I worked mornings, evenings, holidays, weekends, and like every other journalist was exploited. But, we were proud and agressive journalists. Even on my smallest paper (a 7,500 p.m. in central Calif.), I was enthused by journalism. Now, I see far more exploitation, more bottom-line mentality, more MBA/JD types in charge, and a heap of people going into TV news because they couldn't get a job as an actor or game show host.
walt brasch

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WYOU/WBRE NEVER "cancelled" newscasts on Christmas Day or Eve. Shows were pre-produced and taped, but never cancelled.

You couldn't be more wrong if it was your job to be wrong - hell, maybe it is. For at least, AT LEAST, the last five years there has been no morning, mid-day, or early evening shows on Christmas Day, regardless of whether or not there was network programming to pre-empt those casts. The only show has been the eleven. Although WYOU may have done so, WBRE has never pre-produced/taped a regularly scheduled news cast.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There were plenty of occassions (to this day) when casts are run on holidays..."

We're not talking "holidays," we're specifically talking about Christmas Day. I don't know where you think you're working, but I've been home Christmas Day for a good many years now.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working any holiday goes with the job. Everyone has favorite holidays, and others should help to get them free for those. On a side note: everyone should feel free to express their faith, or non-faith, if they choose. The "church and state" fiasco has been twisted. It means NO STATE RELIGION, all have equal respect. How it metamorphasized into "no religion" is beyond me! I'm a proud Christian and say so! I invite proud Jews and Muslims, and anything else, to do the same! Happy New Year to EVERYONE!

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How it metamorphasized into "no religion" is beyond me!

Jeez, maybe SCOTUS and our Constitution have something to do with it. People like you scare me, and should scare all of us. You're uninformed and make all kind of foolish statements based on your own very wrong assumptions and lack of knowledge.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever your religious choice is we should all be able to work together to get the job done. Happy New Year!

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled to work with and get along with most everyone. However, there are exceptions.

1) Someone who has no idea what they're talking about, yet sees fit to act as my conscience or moral advisor.

2) Those whose religious beliefs compel them to impose those same beliefs on me.

3) Those who insist others make a "religious choice." Choosing to reject religion completely is still allowed in this society.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We're not talking "holidays," we're specifically talking about Christmas Day."

Explained with all the clarity we've come to expect from local news. Bah, humbug!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:07PM:

If you've been home for several Christmas Days now, are you complaining ? Or are you cutting down Nexstar for giving people holidays off ? You can't have both.

I've worked both New Year's Eve and New Year's day here at Nexstar, so I don't know what world some of these previous posters live in. I've never seen a cast outright "cancelled".

5:04PM: Most intelligent post yet. Thank you.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:13 needs both a history lesson and an English lesson. The country was founded on freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM it. Perhaps it's lack of knowledge of the history of our country or lack of proper usage of the two terms. At any rate, America stands for FREEDOM, like it or not.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your "faith" comes before your duty to report on things objectively and serve the community then there is no seperation and it therefore drives the bias into somethign that should maintain some form of objectivity.

If 'faith" is more important than doing your job then you should not pursue a career in anything that is not faith-based, and therefore get out of the newsrooms and allow the professionals to come in and do their jobs, free of bogus "moral" compunction but rife with ethical duty that comes with the career.

NO newscaster's fait hshould be public. Their right to privacy is important for hteir own safetly, let alone for the reputation of what htey report. Remove the hot-ticket item that really doesn't matter and there's no pillar of sand to hold against them and/or break down.

Keep FAITH out of FACTS. In fact, Keep it to yourself 9i. e. your private life, your church/mosque/synogogue) and out of the business.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:44---

You're wrong. I worked with the WBRE early evening shows last Christmas. While it was a Sunday, there was still a 6pm.

Thanksgiving, this year and last, meant a full roster of shows on 28 as well.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've worked both New Year's Eve and New Year's day here at Nexstar, so I don't know what world some of these previous posters live in. I've never seen a cast outright "cancelled"."

Can you stay on topic? Try and focus, really. We're talking about CHRISTMAS DAY, not New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Labor Day, Easter, etc. There was no morning, mid-day, or early evening shows Christmas Day this year(as in many years past), which was like a week or so ago, what in hell is your problem? Do you have some sort of a comprehension problem? If you do, sorry. If you don't, please try and get at least one or two facts right. I, for one, don't think you work at 50.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:49am:

I thought we were talking about holidays in general. But I do work at 50. So there's one fact you got wrong.

PS Dry decaf.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 8:00am,

While I respect the point I belive you're attempting to make, I must take issue with several areas.

1. If 'faith" is more important than doing your job then you should not pursue a career in anything that is not faith-based

Logic like that can be easily misconstrued. For example, should a "family man" pursue employment in only "family" related areas? Is a sports fan relegated to a life of trying to make in "the bigs"? Of course not.

2. ...allow the professionals to come in and do their jobs, free of bogus "moral" compunction but rife with ethical duty that comes with the career.

I omitted the part about the newsroom to make a point. If separation of faith and career is so important, then what do you make of the success of the "religious right"? Congress may have shifted to the left, but only ever so slightly. And, there's no denying that the current adminisration has used a faith-based initiative for its own good.

Having said that, a true public servant will put the wants and welfare of the public before his/her beliefs. Otherwise what you have is a crusader. But that does not diminish the importance of faith to a particular individual.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a lot of you guys are getting worked up over nothing.

If stations are filling their newscasts on Christmas Day, I say good for them and the crews. Honestly: Who in the Kris Kringle is watching news on Christmas Day ? ! People are out with families, having dinner, going to services, etc.

I would think the advertisers would realize that too, and buy less time.

No casts on Christmas Day seems to be a smart financial move and good will to the crews.

And WYOU and WBRE had 11's this year.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:21 AM... well said. I hate weighing in on religious discussions, but you smacked 8:00am anonymous to the ground and I outright enjoyed it. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all.

9:07 PM  

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