Saturday, June 17, 2017

We Now Conclude Our Broadcast Day #socs

It wasn’t that long ago that TV stations in the United States, and probably the rest of the world, had a definite broadcast day. The station would fired up its transmitter in the morning and sign on, then at night they would sign off and turn the transmitter off. In the early days, stations might sign on and off several times during the day, maybe sign on at 7 AM and off at 10 AM, then on at noon and off at 3 PM, then on at 6 PM and stay on until sometime after midnight. Gradually, stations would sign on once in the morning and stay on all day, signing off in the early morning hours the day after.

Here is a sign off from WBBM Channel 2 Chicago from the late Seventies.

The signoff was like the station saying, “TV’s over for today, go to bed.” If you fell asleep with the TV on, you woke up either to the color bars or static, i.e. the “ant races.”

Now, stations are on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (366 in leap years) and sign ons and sign offs are an oddity from the past, of interest only to weird people like me.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now here’s Betty Furness for Westinghouse televisions.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing


  1. I so remember that, as my father has been recovering his sleep has been problematic and he has been up many nights. He says he has created a new tv ratings system going from 0 to minus 10.