EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: Employee of the half century
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — WWAY is celebrating 50 years, and believe it or not, there is an employee at WWAY who has been here the entire time. George Allen is our Extraordinary Person of the Week. What he’s done for this station and the community makes him the “Employee of the Half Century”.
The year was 1964. WWAY would sign on for the first time in the Cape Fear on Oct. 30.
At the time, old school was the new school, and in school was a local boy about to graduate.
“I was a student in high school,” Allen said. “It was my senior year in high school, and my brother was the first salesman (at WWAY), and he got me a job.”
His brother would land him a part-time job. A young Allen would think, at the time, that he’d work a little bit while he finished school. But a little bit turned into a lot.
“We were building sets, painting, constructing new sets at the time in the production crew,” Allen said. “I was running camera and whatever needed to be done.”
Immediately, Allen would establish himself as a go-to guy and a do-it-all employee.
“First of all, it was all live,” Allen said. “We did have 16 mm film. Tape didn’t come until the ’70s.”
From filming to a little dabble in reporting, directing and eventually even the title of Operation and Production Manager.
Allen was around when the station’s broadcast tower in Brunswick County went down after a military jet hit a guy wire.
“The jet flew back to Maryland,” Allen remembered. “And the tower was in the road at Boiling Spring Lakes, so that was a major catastrophe. We were off the air for a week.”
His goal to become General Manager was derailed during one of the many changes in ownership he’s witnessed, where new management was brought in. In order to stay with the station, Allen would need to wear yet another hat: The hat of a salesman. He still commands that position at this very moment.
“Obviously I liked it, but I really did. But yeah, 50 years is a long time. But it’s been a good job. I’ve watched the city grow, the TV station grow. It’s been a lot of fun,” Allen said of his 50 years at WWAY. “I’ve had opportunities to go other places, but my home is Wilmington. I’m a native. I’ve got deep roots here. I love the beach, so why would I want to leave it?”
George Allen, my friend, I speak for all our colleagues when I say we’re glad you didn’t leave it. Your dedication to helping build this station since the very beginning in 1964 is “Extraordinary.”
Side note: I first met George when I came to Wilmington in 2003 to join the team as a morning anchor. He was one of the first people I met, and right off the bat I found he was the nicest guy in the building. You rock, George.
If you know an Extraordinary Person, send me an email with their storyline at firstname.lastname@example.org
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