Daylight Savings Time & TV Schedules

Being as it’s the time of year when most of us turn the clocks back 1 hour in an oft-debated ritual, I’ve got a somewhat less-asked question: What happens to TV schedules? Do executives have to come up with an additional hour of programming every fall, knowing that they can’t complain because the next spring they have one less hour to fill? Do they take the lazy way out and just repeat the 1 o’clock thru 2 o’clock hour a second time? And how can I find out what the schedule is? What do TV guides show in the spring when there’s an entire hour that’s completely skipped? Emptiness? Programming that’ll never air?

Anybody here a TV executive or work at TV Guide who knows the answer?

On the TV listings on Yahoo!, the schdule goes 1:00, 1:30, then goes back to 1:00 when it would normally be 2:00, then continues normally. The scheduling is not repeated. Presumably, they just chese an hour’s worth of additional programming to stick in there. It’s at a time when few people are watching anyway.

Over here they seem to find even more “informercials” to fill the time.

I noticed a real increase in the number of 1-900 informercials.

I’m glad I used my extra hour efficiently.

your question has been answered, so now i have one. i was confused when you made it seem like there’s an hour of programming the stations MUST fill. Is this a law? ive heard something similar concerning radio stations so i could see that extending to TV. So, is there some legal obligation that would stop a station from airing test patterns? or nothing? In that vein, if they transmitted no signal, would you get static?

Why would they air test patterns when they can air infomercials, and get paid for it? (Some channels here aren’t allowed to run infomercials, but they’re mostly specialty channels and can always throw in an extra episode of Trading Spaces or something.) I didn’t notice anything really unusual in the TV schedule tonight; most late-night TV isn’t rigidly scheduled and it’s not hard to stick in another infomercial or a rerun of Saturday Night Live or something like that. My ‘interactive guide’ (digital cable) had 1:00 and 1:30 twice, and the clock on the decoder box went from the first 1:59 to 1:00 before continuing normally, like a PC does.

Very few channels ever broadcast test patterns anymore – usually it’s small-town network affiliates that don’t have 24-hour programming. Mostly, everyone shows infomercials. If they weren’t broadcasting anything, you’d get static, but you rarely see static anymore. Digital TV decoders display a blank screen, maybe with a ‘no signal available’ message, when there’s no signal. No matter what the source of the signal, most modern TVs will mute the audio and display a black or blue background instead of static. (On some TVs you can turn this off, which you might need to do if you were receiving off-air and it was showing a blank screen instead of a weak signal.)

i’m not saying they WOULD, im asking if legally they COULD. But thanks for the other answers.

The local UPN affiliate shows a test pattern monday morning from 1:30-5:30, so I’m guessing it’s legal.

I have no idea why they do it either.

aBTW, it’s Daylight SAVING Time, not Daylight Savings Time.

Aren’t we in Eastern Standard Time now? I thought DST was the one in the spring.

In the U.S., TV stations are licensed to operate 24 hours a day (I know that sounds obvious, but remember, there are still AM radio stations required to sign off at sunset.)

That doesn’t mean they are required to go 24/7. There are a fair number of stations who still don’t have 24-hour programming. Of course if a station didn’t fill the vast majority of its time with something, there’d be an effort on someone’s part to get its license revoked.

A station can keep its transmitter on and show test patterns, or turn everything off for maintenance and repairs.

And yes, if they don’t transmit, you get static.