I’ve been fortunate to have worked at some television stations that throw great Christmas parties.
WJSU in Anniston was one of the best. Live music, cash bar, nearly everybody shows up, beef or fish and the traditional year-end video of the best bloopers to hit the air. Dixon Hayes and Perkins always did a bang up job on the blooper tape which was always worth the price of admission.
WHNT in Huntsville also threw great parties. I joined the station just before the party of 1992 and boy was I impressed with the folks I was going to be working with for the next five years. Live band, good food and of course, the blooper tape. I remember one year a bunch of us ended up playing quarters with the general manager! Karaoke replaced the live band a few years later. They awarded five and ten year employees and even gave away some big ticket door prizes.
The station also handed out Honeybaked Hams and Wal-Mart gift certificates (before the cards were around) as employee gifts. Not bad.
But as the years went on, some employees stopped going. By the time I left Huntsville, the Christmas party was no longer a no-brainer. I don’t know why it dropped off, but the party just wasn’t the same anymore. It may have had to do with a change in lower management. They just weren’t as much fun to be around.
WREG in Memphis threw a big party the first few years I was there. The first year (1997) was the best party for me. A live band, cash bar, awards for 10 and 15 year employees. No blooper tape though which was a downer. It wasn’t as much fun as Anniston or Huntsville. Again, probably because management wasn’t that much fun to be around, even away from work.
By the time I left, I don’t know if they were even having a Christmas party.
WKRN doesn’t have a station Christmas party anymore. The last one, I hear, was 2004. But this weekend we did have a party. Our general manager opened his home for every employee at the station.
It was great. I only noticed a few no-shows from our huge staff. Great food, open bar, live music (violinists) and the biggest jumbo-shrimp I’ve ever seen (or ate). But what really made it different than most of the other station parties, is that it was fun. Management at News 2 is fun to be around. My wife met our general manager and managing editor for the first time and really enjoyed talking to them. I didn’t catch anyone standing around complaining about anything. People were genuinely happy to be there and were having a good time. Lots of laughs all through the house.
Friday the station honored employees with 10 years or more service to the station with what appeared to be very nice gifts. Two people, when accepting their awards, were moved to tears while talking about the “family” they had at the station.
That is the most refreshing difference here. I’ve been in Nashville for almost a year. I’m more convinced than ever that this is a good place.