***SEE GEORGE’S VIDEO TONIGHT ON WWAY AT 11***
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 October 30th. 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,” George Allen told Daniel Seamans. “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 George 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,” George said. “I was running camera and whatever needed to be done.” Immediately, George would establish himself as a go-to guy and a do it all employee.
“First of all, it was all live,” George said. “We did have 16 millimeter film. Tape didn’t come until the 70’s.”
From filming, to a little dabble in reporting, directing, and eventually, George even held the title of Operation and Production Manager.
He was around when the broadcast tower went down after a military jet hid a guidewire.
“The jet flew back to Maryland,” George 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, George would need to wear yet another hat. The hat of a salesman. He 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,” George 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”.
Sidenote: 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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