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Working in radio at Christmas

Working in radio at Christmas

You’ve put your hand into the giant tin of chocolates for the tenth time this hour, had a flurry of phone calls and unwrapped a present or two.

Now spare a thought for all the people doing just the same as you… but at work.

Christmas at a radio station is a fun time, although holds a special place in the hearts of young, keen freelancers.

This is because the full-time staffers tend to go on leave around the festive period, meaning that the opportunity to gain extra shifts (and experience. And cash) is left for the bright young things.

Christmas Day memories

Tinsel round the mic stands, some sort of festive message from a Bishop and cheesy Christmas tunes on repeat all seem to be standard fare on Christmas Day itself.

The station is eerily quiet, with maybe only one or two staff members inside.

Possibly with festive hats.

Callers tend to be in a great mood and there is a certain air of excitement, even if staff members are away from family on The Big Day itself.

Network as Normal

Of course, if your show is pre-recorded, it’s possible that you did Christmas ages ago.

October seems to be a popular time to record Christmas specials, as there is still time to do the extra work and editing before people go on holiday.

Some stations may barely change their schedules, as they know their audience values the continuity and reliability of a regular sequence of programmes.

Jingle Bells

Other stations may decide to do the usual schedule, but with a festive twist.

This usually means adding jingle bell SFX to the theme tune, whether they blend in or not.

Pause for a moment and imagine Serial having a Christmas special. See? Makes anything Christmassy.

(Copyright restrictions prevent me from overlaying the sleigh bells, but I shall leave you to do the remix in your head).

Being On Call

Even if you have managed to avoid going into the station itself, you may be in a role that requires being on call.

I have certainly had to phone and wake up a station engineer after a night’s partying because our station had magnificent tech fail – and news stories don’t stop just because parts of the world are celebrating the holidays.

The joys of management

Once I reached the dizzy joys of doing Corporate Management Stuff, I had a strange experience – being actively encouraged to take Christmas off.

For two weeks.

The project was so busy that taking a break was difficult, so everyone was encouraged to take advantage of a so-called ‘slower’ time.

I usually ended up working quite close up to Christmas, though – it still doesn’t feel the same not doing any shifts over the festive season.

Have a good one

Wherever you are, I hope you have a good time this holiday season.

Eat lots of mince pies, enjoy hearing Slade for the 100th time this week and don’t forget to see if you can find the keys to the mythical Management Fridge whilst the boss is away.

And, if you are a freelance, try to get through the exhaustion as best as you can.

As we all know, your best hope in the lean period of the second week of January is praying for a bought of office flu.

And wishing that kind of thing on your colleagues is not very festive!


Season’s Greetings!

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