Not a Bad Day at Work

 I love my job.  I wake up every morning excited about what I do and where I go.  I can’t imagine working anywhere else.  There are days like yesterday though that I am totally thankful for.  How many of you can say that one of your all-time favorite actors came into your workplace?  Thursday I had that opportunity.

Chazz Palminteri and myself in our control room.

Yep, that is Chazz Palminteri posing with yours truly.  He came on our news at 11 to promote his one-man show of “The Bronx Tale” at Foxwoods. 

If you’ve never seen the Bronx Tale, please find a time to watch it.  It is a remarkable movie.  If you like the Godfather trilogy, Casino and other mobster movies, this will become one of your faves.  Even if you don’t enjoy those types, thee is enough in this movie for you to love.  At its core, the movie is about the relationship between a boy and his father and the difficulties of what life throws at you.  I can’t speak anymore highly of a movie. 

He also starred in The Usual Suspects as a cop listening to Verbal’s story of the robbery gone wrong. 

Normally I don’t get worked up over guests on our newscasts.  We’ve had some pretty big stars but this is the first time that I got all giddy over one.  It’s not every day you get to meet one of your favorite actors that starred in two of your favorite movies.  I don’t have many rules in life, but when al that comes together, you gotta get a picture with the man.

What a great guy and what an awesome day.  It was one of the best moments in 11 years working at the station.

I can’t wait to see his play at the Casino in a few weeks.

Yeah, so how was your Thursday???


Today is our Birthday!!!

It’s hard to believe, but one year ago today we debuted our state-of-the-art broadcast facility.  Crazy how fast a year goes by.  I remember how hectic it was leading up to that historic day.  From where we were then to where we are today just makes me proud.

That whole time period is such a blur.  From the birth of Avery to coming in that Monday knowing we had to clean up our work to get on the air by Thursday was such a whirlwind.  It was a whole new level of tired:  mentally and physically.

There are so many highlites during this past year.  From our first broadcast (   )to the NBC Town Hall Meeting that still sends shivers down my spine.

We’ve hosted blood drives to debates to toy drives and anything in between.  We’ve had our ups and downs and takin’ our lumps but we continue to push the limits of what we can do here.  It seems every week we discover something new, both good and bad, and we learn from it and move on. 

The work enviroment is second to none.  What a difference it makes to work in a clean building as opposed to the dump we came from (and I mean that with all the fondness in the world. )  We’ve even had a gym installed and hired some trainers for our own well-being.  Something that never could be imagined in that old bunker of ours.

To this day I still love walking into this place.  We get to work with the best equipment and with people who have truly embraced the new technology.  We’ve all had to pretty much learn on the fly.  This was a new world for everyone and now we feel like there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish here.

Some of our favorite days here are when we can try out new things.  We have so many different options that half the fun is coming up with new and eye-catching ways to present the news.  I’m not sure if the viewers always notice, but it’s a great feeling “behind the scenes” when a new shot works.

So with one year in the books, our future here at the Peacock is as bright as ever.  We continue to explore new and exciting ways to bring the news our viewers.  This is something that would not be possible without this gorgeous building.  A special thanks again to all that worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition. 

As with any anniversary, a celebration is in order.  So that’s where we’ll be this afternoon, tipping a few back in honor of a great year and a toast to the future. 

Thanks for watching and we hope you enjoyed the product as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you.


Jason Hendry is a morning director at NBC Connecticut.  He is an avid sports fan who also likes to dabble in politics, music, food, movies and other aspects of pop culture.  His true passions in life are his family and baseball.

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Fresh Blood

Sometimes, even if you absolutely love what you do for a living, things can get stale.  The days can get monotonous.  The tasks can become repetitive and dull.  You try not to let them, but it’s just human nature.  Maybe we take our jobs for granted a bit and forget what makes them so great.

Things had sorta felt like that for me the past couple weeks.  It was just the same ol’ same ol’.  I didn’t let it affect my productivity but still I felt things had become mundane.

Luckily, turnover in the TV biz happens a lot.  People come and people go in this very fluid business.  For me, the changes here have sure helped.  It all started with our “Hot Coffee” show at 4:30am.  Nothing like a schedule change to loosen up the cobwebs.  Then, we had two new PA’s start on our tight-knit crew. 

It’s always good to get some fresh faces in here.  Teaching them the ways of our job always bring renewed enthusiasm, at least to me.  Just seeing how in awe they are after one day of work reminds me what a great and difficult job we have.  Sometimes we tend to forget how hard it was learning our craft but training new hiree’s always brings us back to those days. 

With new hires means someone else has moved on.  Lucky for us these people have stayed here at the Peacock, just with bigger and better jobs.  That is always a nice pick-me-up as well.  Seeing your colleagues get recognized for their hard work and dedication as they try to learn a new task or job. 

It’s always nice how life plays out like this.


Year Ender

Well here we stand at the end of another year.  Another 365 days done and the promise of another before us.  I love the beginning of the year.  So much possibilities.  So much promise. 

It also gives us a chance to reflect on what was.  Whether it be the highest of highs or the lowest of lows.  Whatever happened helped shape the year and make it memorable.  So, to follow the thing to do, here is my list of my top moments from 2009.  It wa so convenient it came out to an even ten.  If only there was some alliterative title I could give it.  Oh well, here it goes.

#10) The Penguin Plunge in Madison.  A lot of people raising a lot of money for the CT Special Olympics.  I can’t wait to do it again this February.

#9) Tyler Witkowski winning Shoreline Player of the Year.  He was our starting varsity catcher for three years and I worked with him since he was a freshman.  It all came together for him this season and was so proud of him as a person and a player for all that he accomplished. 

#8) The UConn Games.  Tailgating in the parking lot with great friends six Saturdays during the fall was a blast.  It all wrapped up the last weekend when it was a complete guys night with the snow falling, the beer flowing and the Huskies winning a dramatic game.  Good times and we’ll be back again this year.

#7) Our win over Coginchaug at Dodd Stadium.  Not only was it a huge win but it was a gem hurled by one of my JV captains.  He threw a complete game filling in for our ace who hurt his elbow. 

#6) Youngest brother graduating high school.  Not only was I happy for him, but also for my parents who guided the four of us through all those years.

#5) Step-dad’s retirement.  He called it quits as a CT State Trooper at the end of June.  Just knowing that he worked hard, made his money and was able to get out at a young age and healthy was great.  Now he has all the time to focus on his true passion: photography(most of these were taken by him, to take a look at his work, click on the link.)

#4) Directing the GE Town Hall Meeting.  Weeks and weeks of prep went into this and it went off without a flaw.  The fact we had Jeff Zucker in the house(president of NBC Universal) and he thought we had the best facility hae had ever seen was quite a compliment.  Even better was how he noticed how smooth it all went and went out of his way to say so.  Boy, was that a stressful time.

#3) Our family reunion.  Had almost the entire clan at my parents house in late July.  It is always a good time when we get everyone together.

#2) The HD Debut.  Being the last person to direct in our old building and the first to go on the air in our new facility was quite a day.  It was such a huge undertaking but it was all worth it. 

#1)  Avery.  Easily the best thing I have ever done in my life.  She has blessed Nikki and mine lives so much.  Through all the bad times and good, I can’t help but look at her and love her more every time.  SHe is one lucky girl to be born into a family that loves her so much.  She truly is my inspiration to live a better life so I can be around her a long, long time.

There it is, my list.  I hope your year was as great as mine and that 2010 has more good times in store for us.  Thank you all for reading and I hope you are still here this time next year. 

Have a great and safe New Years.

Feelin' Bossy

Today is National Boss Day.  In celebration I got to boss my boss this morning(I think that’s irony……)

So take some time and celebrate your boss.  That is if you like ’em.  If you do, (like me) consider yourself lucky.  Feels great to work in an environment where you are respected and trusted fully by your boss.  If you work with the opposite, maybe another job is in your future.

So apparently it snowed in CT yesterday.  I didn’t see it but it did feel a lot like November this morning.  That explains the craving I had for turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. 

tailgating tomorrow.  Gonna be cold.  Glad I’m making chili.  I may need to make it a tad hotter now.  Maybe the weather will hold out for us.  Maybe this calls for a flask of Jameson to keep me warm.

FYI, a reunion of sorts today, at 1:05 pm, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo will be joining Mike Francesa from Yankee Stadium and on the YES Network as well as 660 AM.  For those of you who loved the two together, it is great.  The rest of you, sorry ya just wasted your time reading about two guys you know nothing about.

Enjoy your November weekend.

What a Relief

I’ll tell ya, the past two weeks here at the Peacock have probably been the most stressful two weeks I have ever had.  Getting ourselves ready for the big NBC Universal broadcast which involved an array of upper level exec’s) was a long and excruciating process.  Add to that a baby that refused to do anything but cry  and scream at home.  You could say my nerves were a tad frayed.

One thing I have learned over the years is to never bring whatever problems I have going on at home into work.  I feel it’s not fair to subject my co-workers to family issues.  The problem is, I don’t do the same thing with my work problems.  I’ll bring a bad day home with me.  I’ll bring that stress and and everything right through the front door and it can affect things with the fam.  This is what happened the past few weeks.

Sometimes you feel you can dump anything on the ones you love and that’s OK.  Well, unfortunatly for Nikki and Avery, they got the brunt of my frustration and stress.  Not really fair of me and neither were deserving of such crap.

Did I mean to, not particularly.  I just needed a place to relax and vent.  This just happened to correspond with a very colicy baby.  So my relaxing place became another place of stress and my venting turned into irrationability(is that a word?  If not I’m calling Webster.  The dictionary not the short sitcom character.)

So, up until Thursday, our nights consisted of a screaming child and arguments.  Not really a happy place to be. 

Once the events of Thursday were over(a rousing success BTW) and Nikki and Avery headed out to the Poconos, I was able to relax and see the follies of my ways.  I think the separate weekend was good for us all.  I was able to get a breather and Nikki was able to get away from that A-hole that had taken residence in my body and taken over.

As much as I enjoyed the quietness Friday and Saturday, I did not necessaraly enjoy the lonliness.  I had my Wolverines(great win) and other college games but it just was not the same.

I was thrilled to have them both back on Sunday.  The house felt like a home again and I had my family back. 

At six weeks.  Courtesy of my step-dad.
At six weeks. Courtesy of my step-dad.

Time apart is good, I just have to remember that as unfair as it is to bring my home issues to work, the reverse may be just as bad.  If not worse.  Now, I can’t promise it won’t happen again, but I can promise that I will work harder to make sure I’m not a complete douche when both lives crash head-on.

A Decade Gone

Yep, a peacock of Jello shots
Yep, a peacock of Jello shots

Today marks my tenth anniversary at NBC30/Connecticut.  Who woulda thought my first job outta college would be the one.  I’ve worked the same “crazy” shift the whole time as well.  I don’t know how you 9-5ers do it.

From the first day in the building when the director looked at me and asked “ever run a studio camera?” and I was thrown to the wolves(flawless BTW),  to today I have been lucky enough to work with some great workers who have turned into great friends.

I have loved going to work everyday.  I am lucky enough to be able to say that.  I know a lot of people that hate where they work and realize I am blessed to have such a fun, challenging and exciting job.

So as I sit at home and listen to Nikki gabbin’ with Avery, I was reflecting on my favorite memories of the past ten years at the peacock.

In September of ’99 there was my first major story there.  Hurricane Floyd(i think).  I worked for 12 hours at the station and followed that up with another six at the Liquor Store.  An 18 hour day on my b-day nonetheless.  This was my first taste of crazy news hours.

The 2000 Presidential election.  We came into work at 3:45 without a president.  It was amazing to watch history unfold right in front of my eyes.  A surreal day, to say the least.

9-11 coverage.  I didn’t work that fateful morning.  I took that Tuesday off because I was up and out late watching the Giants season opener on Monday Night football.  The next morning’s coverage was just a blur.

October of 2004.  Working every morning with other Red Sox and Yankee fans during that memorable playoff series.  All of us showing up on little to no sleep but loving it because we were all in it together.  Then having it all crescendo with that come-backer to Foulke.  Doing the show the next morning with one of our Anchors in Boston was just awesome.

All the mornings after various UConn championships including the double dip with the Men and Women’s teams.

The countless 4am snow shows.  My favorite were the ones we did when it wasn’t even snowing.  Seriously, my crew hates me because I come in all fired up for all day storm coverage.  Just throw the plan away and see where it takes you.  Those shows are the most fun.

The black day when we were told layoffs were coming and those subsequent days.  Hey, not all memories have to be good ones.

The debut of our new building and the fact I was the last one to be on the air in the old house and the first one in the new house.  All this a week after Avery was born.  Now that was a great week.

My favorite though were the many Fridays spent at TGI Fridays when co-workers became great friends.  When we showed up at 12:15pm and left at 2:30am.  Going through shifts of bartenders just laughing and drinking the night away.  Those are the times I loved the most.  Not the next mornings though :).

I just hope the next ten will be as great as the first.