Ho Ho HUM - working on Christmas Day | radioinfo

Ho Ho HUM - working on Christmas Day

Sunday 22 December, 2002

This story has been updated with some great stories from Malcolm T Elliot and others (see below).

The youngest and/or last person on is usually the poor bunny who has to work on Christmas day. Or at least they were before automation.

Do you have any stories of kindnesses done while you had to work on Christmas Day?

radioinfo heard from a young guy in Bourke, so far away from home and working solo on Christmas day some years ago, who was delighted to be brought Christmas lunch by one of the 2WEB volunteers - it made his day.

Many news reporters also tell of long lonely Christmas day shifts spent in a quiet newsroom with only the occassional crackle of the scanner to keep them company when everyone else was partying.

Any stories to tell about your experiences? – email radioinfo

Followup comments

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This correspondence from Mike Rayson, Sydney -

How about the HARD stories of working on Christmas day…

Like the first year automation arrived at my country station and all were rostered off!! Yay.

But when I turned on the radio at 11am, I discovered we were off-air. So, in I raced and proceeded to keep the station on the air til the problem was fixed (at 4pm) – missing lunch with my family who had traveled a long long way to be with me for Christmas.

But then, when I claimed for the overtime, the laughter could be heard echoing miles away. Because I was not officially called in, I would not be paid! Bah Humbug

This correspondence from Bob Price, Sydney -

I worked many Christmas days, but 2 stay in the memory.

At one station if you worked Christmas Day you had New Year off, a great
chance to get home.

At another the manager used to call in with some cake and goodies to
brighten the day.

But I believe that in this industry we have to be prepared to work any day
of the year.

And this one from 2UE's Malcolm T Elliott -

I love working on Christmas day. Back in the 1970's on 2UW I relished doing breakfast and hearing the joy from both exited children and parents. I love especially talking to blind kids such as Jenny Wolf and Paul Nimo who believe it or not later got married to each other.

The only casualty was my daughter Alicia who patiently waited until 11.00 am until I got home every year to open her presents a big ask for a 4, 5 and 6 year old over the years.

For the past 8 years I have done nights on Christmas day, last year I did afternoons on 2UE this year I am doing drive and I love it. Being only a social drinker I don't miss the booze only the food, and as most of the past immediate family have gone to God, those old memories gathered around the tree at Thornbury in Melbourne in the 1950's are always at the front of ones mind on December 25th.

The really lonely Christmas was 1969 just after I arrived to join 2KO in Newcastle there I was sitting in a flat in Nesca Parade up on The Hill overlooking NBN-3 and eating cocktail frankfurts and crumpets, watching a black and white movie re-run. The only thing missing was the Fairy Bread and Red lemonade. Christmas in radio in my opinion is the best time of the year, it gives you a chance to reach out and talk to people who are really alone. Unless of course you are alone and new to a country town or big city, then there is nothing that can replace lonliness except for "cocktail frankfurts and crumpets".

The beaut thing about having done 6 years in country radio was that Christmas became a day to look forward to, and when I stopped doing breakfast radio all I really missed was Christmas day!

Christmas 2000 was a lulu. A lady rang from Liverpool on the Sunday morning before Christmas and said that she had been robbed and all her family Christmas gifts had been stolen from under the tree.

Listeners rang from everywhere, they donated toys, jewellery, money, Harvey Norman through in a VHS. My wife drew up a "courier run" while I headed home after being at work from 6.00 am We had lunch and then spent the next 6 hours picking up the gifts from listeners. It was lovely to touch base with the real listeners and they were thrilled that a person that they listened to would come to their home. I felt like Rudolph!

Then when we arrived at the poor person's home that had been robbed the whole street turned up to welcome us. Then the more we talked the more the penny dropped .....

It appeared that her son and his mates had taken the gear and cashed it in for drug money and SHE KNEW. But what could we do take it all back and do the 6 hour run again and disappoint all the good natured people who had given - NO.

We wished her a Merry Christmas and speed off in the sleigh, determined NEVER to be caught again. Funny how things like that make you just a little harder!

Merry Christmas and Happy listening to everyone.

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