Re: [LEAPSECS] PT Barnum was right

From: Brian Garrett <>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 12:46:46 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Allen" <sla_at_UCOLICK.ORG>
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 7:27 AM
Subject: [LEAPSECS] PT Barnum was right

> Finally, I've been spending a lot of time in the LA region lately.
> The CBS radio affiliate in the SF Bay area broadcasts the hourly
> national news spot on, and the time tone is useful for setting a
> watch. The CBS radio affiliate in the LA area very plainly is using a
> time compressing/FFT pitch shifting device on the live national feed.
> The time tone in LA always happens around 10 to 15 seconds after the
> hour.

You can thank the U.S.' increasingly draconian anti-obscenity laws for that.
In response to an email inquiry to KNX on this very subject (the delay I
noticed was about nine seconds), I was told that the station delays their
broadcast in order to enable on-the-spot editing of objectionable material.
The FCC recently increased fines for violation of anti-obscentity rules, and
some television stations were even fined for not censoring all 500
milliseconds of the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction", so it's in
networks' best interests to do this even if it means setting your watch to
their time signal means being 9 seconds late.

>> Somebody tell me again -- why is it thta broadcast civil time signals
> need atomic accuracy?
I rather like the way James Jesperson and Jane Fitz-Randolph put it in their
excellent layperson's introduction to time and frequency, _From Sundials to
Atomic Clocks_: "The 'time' as most of us know it is simply inexpensive
crumbs from the tables of the few rich "gourmet" consumers of time and
frequency information." The guy wearing the trendy Swatch with hands
pointing at a blank dial neither knows nor cares about any of the esoterica
discussed on this list; for him, the time will be whatever They(tm) say it
If that's what is meant by "broadcast civil time signals", then it's true:
we're being served chronological junk food and most folks couldn't care

Bon appetit!

Brian Garrett
Received on Thu Jul 06 2006 - 12:47:27 PDT

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