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Bad Weather Forces NBC to Cancel Its Annual Holiday Sing-Along

nbc-sing-alongJack Frost’s visit to New York on Tuesday was enough to scrub a long-held tradition for NBC’s TVNewsers. The winter storm that hit New York earlier this week forced the network to cancel its annual Sing-Along, during which WNBC anchors and crew gather to sing Christmas carols on the Rockefeller Center ice rink. Viewers are usually offered the chance to join in the Sing-Along and meet their favorite TV news personalities.

An NBC spokesperson gave FishbowlNY the following statement about the cancellation:

Due to necessary repair work on the Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink on Dec. 10th (our scheduled back up date), there was no available time to reschedule it. We are still planning to air the Sing-Along. We will resurrect the perennial favorite, Deck the Halls, from a previous year. Air date is expected to be Saturday, December 13.

Until then, because you know you want to see it, here’s a snippet from last year’s Sing-Along:

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New York Filmmaker Captures Walmart Mayhem

Brian Spain‘s return to North Carolina for the holidays has taken an unexpected, major-media turn. Thanks to having filmed and posted one of several videos showing the early Black Friday craziness at Walmart, he was on CNN this morning with Carol Costello and is also featured in this Forbes blog post.

Last month, Spain posted a tongue-in-cheek “Gay Barilla Ad,” but that take on another corporate PR disaster received nothing near the clicks of his brief chronicling of the tussling for TVs at a Walmart in Elkin, NC. Here’s part of what he told ForbesClare O’Connor:

“I saw the crazy full parking lot at Walmart, so I decided to go in and interview people… That’s when I saw the fight happen. I immediately had an employee – I assume the manager since he was the one that kicked me out – tell me that I had to turn my camera off and leave…”

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WABC Anchor Bill Ritter Ready to Spread Christmas Cheer

Bill Ritter is established as the top anchor at WABC/Channel 7. But since 2001, he has also been the go-to guy for Christmas newscasts.

Ritter, who is Jewish, does not mind logging some holiday hours to help his fellow man (and woman) celebrate the birth of Jesus.

“We now have two Jewish anchors, but before Phil [Lipof] got hired I was the only male Jewish anchor,” Ritter tells FishbowlNY. “You work Christmas Day.  It’s the right thing to do.”

Ritter would typically anchor December 25th newscasts in every daypart. However, this year’s schedule is slightly altered. Since it’s a Sunday, there is no noon newscast. And with the NBA kicking off the season on ABC that afternoon, the 6 p.m. broadcast is preempted. 

But this is more than about Ritter’s Christmas work ethic. A more impressive WABC holiday tradition is the reading of viewer emails during the morning newscasts from 6 to 10 a.m. (with a break for Good Morning America). It’s a heavy dose of communal experience for Ritter, this year’s co-anchor Jen Maxfield, and meteorologist Lee Goldberg

After 9/11, we thought we want to be able to have people express themselves in a way that would be interactive, that they’d have an access to a television station, and it was before the Web took off,” Ritter says.

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WLTW/Lite FM Offers Another Holiday Treat for Listeners

WLTW/Lite FM is bringing more of  the Christmas season to loyal listeners. Since 2004, WLTW has been a full-time Christmas music format from Thanksgiving until after December 25. The traditionally number one station in the Arbition ratings, Lite has found even more of a niche. The 2009 Holiday book was 11.6 rating or an audience of more than 7 million.

So it’s little surprise that the Clear Channel owned Adult Contemporary would have such a vested interest in Christmas.

The station is teaming up with H&R Block, JetBlue Getaways, Clean Air NY, and Big Apple Circus to provide free skating next weekend at Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park.

Complimentary admission and skating rentals will be handed out to the first 1,000 guests on Saturday, December 10, and again on Sunday, December 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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