Will Permanent Daylight Savings Affect Broadcasters?

Last week the U.S. Senate passed a bill (S.623), sponsored by Sen. Rubio (R. FLA), that would mandate day light savings time all year round.  The bill passed by unanimous consent.  There was no opposition. During the winter, a year round daylight savings time would delay sunrise for an hour but extend daylight in the evening. As of yet, there is no movement in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Although we expect there will be a push.

For those of you who remember, a universal daylight savings time bill was passed in the 1970’s. The objective was to reduce energy costs by creating an additional hour of sunlight in the evening.  It did not work and the law was repealed two years later.

From a broadcaster’s perspective a nationwide change is superior to the state-by-state approach.  In recent years permanent daylights savings time bills have been introduced in many states including New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Connecticut.  Having adjoining states operating on separate time schedules during the winter would create havoc with radio and TV schedules.  Morning and evening radio drive time would get very complicated. A uniform change at the national level is less chaotic.

A uniform change will allow networks and other programming services to adjust their schedules in an orderly fashion.  The key is to avoid the state-by-state patchwork.

There is a remaining concern with AM “daytime” stations.  These stations must either power down or terminate service for both pre-sunrise and post-sunset.  Permanent daylight savings time takes away an hour of morning drive time, which is the most valuable, but adds extra time during evening drive time. However, a number of AM daytime stations have obtained an FM translator.  In many instances the FM translator may solve the pre-sunrise and post-sunset problem.

If you have any concerns about this bill, please contact David Donovan at ddonovan@nysbroadcasters.org

To see a copy of Sen Rubio’s Sunshine Protection Act click HERE.

 

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