Memories · The Last Half Century

We Now Conclude our Broadcast Day

It’s hard to believe in our connected and always on world that there was a time when television stations would end their broadcast day. It was kind of a cool thing when I was in grade school in the 1960s to be up late watching television and to see the station go off the air when the program ended. I did not get to stay up late that often, but when the station stopped broadcasting content I went to bed.

At that time there were no other options — no streaming service, no VCR tapes, no DVDs, no 24 hour news station, nothing. There was no Internet, no social media or You Tube. In fact, like many homes at the time, we only had one screen in the house — a black and white television in a cabinet that was heavy and not portable. The station would end their broadcast day then static would abruptly appear on the screen.

Some stations were more creative in how they signed off. They would tell you they were about to “end our broadcast day,” then play a video recording of the American flag flapping in the breeze or some other patriotic sequence of images. The one I recall is of a fighter jet flying with alternating images of American landmarks — as if it was flying across America protecting us. Other stations were more abrupt and would just tell you, “Hey! We’re done for the day. Go to bed.” Okay, so they said it a bit nicer than that. If you search the Internet for “end of television broadcast day,” you’ll find a sampling of videos with these sign offs.

Sometimes I get a bit nostalgic for that simpler time when broadcast media would sign off for the day; a time when the phone stayed home and didn’t go with you everywhere. It seemed people accepted the fact that it was okay to be away from media for awhile; okay to be away from your phone. Sometimes I think we should have an “end of broadcast day” on social media where we sign off for the night and give everyone a break. Then again, maybe nostalgia is a sign of old age.

I’d love to hear your memories of “end of broadcast day” station sign-offs. You can share them by leaving a comment. Thanks for reading. I now conclude my blogging day. See you next week.

Current Musings · Technology

Not Everyone Wants an Intro

I have this thing about movie and television show introductions. I think they’re pointless. In a movie theater it seems intros drag on so long that my popcorn is gone before the movie starts. (Maybe that is by design. 🤔) Do I really need to see a bunch of flying production company logos or clips from the show before I watch the show? It’s like someone sitting down with you to tell you a story, but first they play dramatic music, tell you the names of production companies and producers, and tell you parts of the story before they start. “Can we just get to the story already!”

If I added up all the time I’ve spent watching movie and TV intros in the last half century, I’m guessing it would add up to a year of my life. What would we all do with an extra year added to our life — or all those minutes each day not watching introductions in front of news shows, sitcoms or movies. This is why I became so excited the other day when a show I was streaming actually gave me the option to skip the intro.

I sat down to watch the Apple original show “Home” and was shocked to see a “Skip Intro” button appear on the lower right corner of the screen. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this button on any program. “At last, someone gets it!” I almost shouted. Someone finally understood not everyone wants to watch the intro, particularly when watching several episodes in one sitting. And they actually made it easy so I didn’t have to try to fast forward to the show. One quick click on the remote and I skipped the intro. This is a radical concept.

If you grew up watching television in the era before video recorders, you had no choice but to watch the introduction. With the advent of the VCR, for the first time you could fast forward past the intro on videos. There was some guess work in getting to the correct point in the movie or show, but for the first time the viewer had control. Now with streaming services, it is so much easier to get to the story without having to first watch flying logos and credits. Maybe others are doing what Apple offers — the “skip intro” button — but I have yet to see it. None-the-less, this should be the industry standard. After all, at my age, I can’t afford to waste any more time watching intros.

The “Skip Intro” button on the Apple Original series “Home”. Quick and easy. One click and you’re into the show.