Seeing as though the current theme is TV news, I reflected and remembered when I was working in the main security communications centre for my current employer. We had a TV that we could watch but of course, the job had to come first.
Depending on who you were working with, the TV would go on at 5pm during the week for the Channel 10 news that ran (and still does) for an hour. Then when that was over at 6pm, it would be common for the station to be changed to either Channel 7 or 9 for their 6pm news that runs for 30 minutes. Then we’d watch the current affairs show on the same channel. Then depending on who you were working with, at 7pm the TV would be turned over to the ABC news.
Not everyone would do this, though. Some people would watch the 5pm news on Channel 10 and then leave it on 10 for The Simpsons at 6pm. Occasionally the Channel 10 news would be missed in favour of a game show prior to the 6pm news on 7 or 9. In summer there would be cricket on until 6pm so if you were working with a cricket fan, you’d watch that. If it was a day/night game, the TV would stay on 9 for the news and A Current Affair before the match was back on TV at 7pm.
There were some advantages and disadvantages of both and if we were super busy, the TV would be turned off (or not be turned on in the first place). The advantage of watching the news several times is that you wouldn’t always be watching because you might have a phone or radio call here and there. Also, not all networks cover the news the same way or cover the same stories so there would be a variety. However on the disadvantage side, it could get repetitive.
Even in my current job as a driver, this sometimes happens in the meal room as well. If you are on the road and have a short time for a meal break in a meal room, you probably won’t be in the room for all 3 bulletins. There is no pecking order about who has control of the TV so sometimes you’ll hear a call of “is there anyone actually watching this?”. Unless someone answered yes, the TV channel would be changed. Often the TV channel doesn’t get changed for hours because no one can be bothered.
In my mealroom at the Depot, the Shed Drivers (the drivers moving trains around the Depot) have preference on the TV but overall, the guys and girls get on OK and there is usually no need to pull rank. It’s usually said more as a joke “Shed blokes have control of the TV” rather than a hard and fast rule.
In the main mealroom for crew at Central though, there would (of course) be no Shed drivers so they actually had a sign made listing a pecking order for the types of programs to be watched. First preference would be news, followed by sport, followed by general. I have no idea who made the sign or who decided that news would come between sport.
Overall, everyone gets on OK in the workplace in relation to the TV and TV for us is a bonus, especially for those on standby. Having said that, a lot of people on standby bring their own mini DVD players or laptops to entertain themselves.
There has only been a couple of times that I know of that the TV has caused any drama. One time that I heard about third hand was when someone wanted to change the channel when the entire mealroom was watching Jerry Springer when he used to be on Channel 10 at noon. That nearly turned into a punchup, the story goes. One time where I was involved when I was on standby and I was watching the finale of Australian Big Brother 3 with a room full of women and some guy came into the room demanding we change the channel. We weren’t even in the main mealroom but a standby room. Needless to say he was over ruled quite quickly with a statement like “Bugger off, this is the final, go somewhere else”. Of course, he had no choice!