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Sign-off (or closedown) is the sequence of operations involved when a radio or television station shuts down its transmitters and goes off the air for a predetermined period (most commonly during the overnight hours). Sign-off is the reverse process to a broadcast sign-on.

Contents

Overview

In the case of television stations, this usually entails the making of an announcement to inform the viewer that the station is about to go off-air, the playing, in many cases, of the appropriate national anthem(s), the displaying of a test pattern, and/or the cutting of the carrier signal. Generally after the carrier signal is cut the viewer only sees static as the transmitter has been shut off. However, depending on environmental factors, those who are watching the station over the air may see programming from more distant television stations operating on the same frequency.

The practice varies from country to country, and from station to station. Most frequently, the sign-off happens at midnight.

Since the early 1990s, sign-offs have become increasingly rare in developed countries, as most now feature 24-hour networks that air content at all hours of the day and night; in many areas, the time during which a station was formerly off air has now been assigned to the broadcasting of infomercials. However, sign-offs still occur at some television stations in the United States (mostly low-power, UHF, or small-market stations) at the weekend or during routine transmitter maintenance requiring a shut-down (as of late, for instance, for HDTV), and more often in Canada. In Canada however, the CBC discontinued sign-offs in favour of 24-hour programming in October 2006.

Some stations that sign off over-the-air continue to feed local cable TV companies' programming via a fiber optic direct line to the cable headend during the time of sign-off; usually this consists of either the station's regular schedule, or an unadulterated network feed of the network's overnight programming without local advertising, such as the case of WKTV. Some stations that have their own weather departments will display an image of their weather radar with a summary of the forecast for the local area. By doing this, the station does not have to pay for TV programs which very few people are watching. Some stations air paid programming.

Sign-off messages can be initiated by a broadcast automation system just as other programming, and automatic transmission systems can trigger the actual shutdown of the transmitter by remote control.

North America

In the United States and Canada, stations generally list the following details about a station:

  • An announcement about the upcoming signoff.
  • Technical information, such as the callsign, transmitter power, translators used, transmitter locations and studio/transmitter link.
  • Ownership of the station.
  • Contact information – such as street and mailing addresses, telephone number and web site address.
  • List of related organizations.
  • A disclaimer that station programming was taped, aired live, or originated from a television network. Some stations also air another disclaimer that programs are for personal use only (previously only at time of viewing; this has been appended with the spread of VHS and DVR devices), and businesses cannot profit from showing them by applying a cover charge for viewing (e.g. in a T.V. in a restaurant.).
  • A commitment to quality (or perhaps, a slogan). Prior to the early 1980s, this was generally in the form of the National Association of Broadcasters' Seal of Good Practice.
  • The time when the station is scheduled to sign-on the following day, before a "good night"-type message.
  • The send off (which usually includes a montage of video clips and/or photos played over the national anthem or another patriotic piece), followed sometimes by a special signal, usually a series of DTMF tones, to shut off any remote transmitters, before switching to a test pattern (or static for stations that cut off the signal).

Many stations replaced the test pattern with their own station logos. At some stations, a weather forecast and/or a pre-taped inspirational message (also known as a "sermonette") precedes the sign-off sequence.

In the past, many television stations also precede the sign-off or sermonette with a newscast. Until the early 1980s, it generally consisted of an out-of-vision duty announcer reading the news headlines, plus sports scores and a weather forecast, over a slide identifying it as a newscast; some stations also presented a brief, on-camera newscast, either pre-recorded with the 10pm or 11pm news team, or live with another anchor. Starting in the 1980s, many stations replaced this brief newscast with a taped replay of the 10pm or 11pm newscast, although this has become less common in the 2000s.

According to FCC regulations, however, stations are only required to merely identify themselves before leaving the air. This means stations are to announce their calls, city of license and channel number. Many stations did most or all of the above as a common courtesy.

In many instances today, signing-off a station does not mean physically shutting off the transmission source. Often, a test pattern will appear or a "live scan" of the station's weather radar will remain on during the "off-air" hours. In the latter instance, the audio of a local radio station such as NOAA Weather Radio, or instrumental music sometimes plays in the over the audio. Many stations and networks air infomercials. In one unique situation, NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV in Youngstown, Ohio signs off on the weekends with a test card featuring the SMPTE color bars with "WFMJ-TV YOUNGSTOWN" across the color bars during its signoff hours while its digital subchannel, CW affiliate WBCB airs syndicated programming during the main WFMJ's signoff hours.

Some PBS member stations, such as KAKM, WKAR-TV, WYIN and WMFE-TV, close down their digital signals at a certain hour each day, generally around midnight or 1am. However, its overnight programming, usually from the national PBS feed, is still fed overnight to most cable and satellite providers. In most cases, this is due to budget constraints that prohibit the continual operation of the aerial signals. (UHF analog TV transmissions can require tens of thousands of watts of power, making electricity a major expense.) Some of the PBS stations that sign off regularly show an astronomy program, Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer, as the last program of the day, before closing down.

Examples of United States television sign-off messages

  • WUSA, Washington DC: First featured the poem High Flight read to music and an F-15 doing aerial acrobatics. One or more other commercials or PSAs would follow, and another sign-off segment featured the song Meditation played as ocean shore scenes are shown. The WUSA sign-off script was read, and an animated tribute to American history starting with Jamestown and ending with the lunar landings would finally play.
  • KIRO-TV: A sign off announcement followed by an SSB film of the Cascades and Washingtonians at work.
  • WTAP-TV, Parkersburg, WV: The Bill of Rights is shown with a thank-you to American troops abroad.
  • KCOP, Los Angeles: Station identification, followed by a promo for a program on the station schedule, which in return was followed by a recorded sign-off announcement, which led into a SSB film in which the American flag was raised.
  • Several stations used a Native American in ceremonial Plains-style garb silently doing The Lord's Prayer in sign language while the prayer was spoken aloud as a voiceover on the audio track. There were several versions of this film. A color version shown on KTUL was performed by Dick West (Creek), with a choir singing the hymn. Another version, in black and white, showed an unidentified Indian in buckskins and a Lakotah "war bonnet" style headdress, standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean. A male voice narrated the prayer. Musician and actor Walt Conley did the voice over for the Denver TV version of this signoff.[1]

A few stations that still sign off either each night or at some point each week include KAPP-TV, KVEW, KLEW, KSNW (and its satellites, weekends only), WKTV, WWNY, WMFE-TV, WWTI, WTOL-TV, KSMQ, WQPT, WHBF, KLKN, KCAU, WOI-TV, KDSM-TV (only on Monday), KEYC, KEVN, KNBN, KGIN-TV, KHAS-TV, KNOP, WOAY-TV, KVRR (and its satellites), KSL-TV, KTBS-TV, KCRG-TV, WJFW-TV, WTKR, WMBD-TV, WFRV-TV, WMSN-TV, WPRI-TV, WLNE-TV, WLRN-TV, WVCY-TV, WFMJ-TV (only on weekends), WDAM-TV, WUTV-TV, WWLP-TV, WNYO-TV, KQDS-TV, KUTV, KCOY, KHSL-TV, KRCR-TV, WVVA-TV, WTVH-TV, KNVN, KXLY-TV, KREM-TV, WLUC-TV, KIRO-TV, WTTV (only on Mondays), WRGB and KGAN-TV (only on Saturdays), KBMY (and its satellites).

Examples of past United States television sign-off messages

  • KNBC: The entire sign-off process before the premiere of the defunct NBC News Overnight in 1982 took over a half-hour. Directly after Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and later, the Tomorrow show ended, KNBC would air NewsCenter4 Sign-Off Edition, a 15-minute newscast anchored out-of-vision by the duty staff announcer and often featuring taped segments from NBC Nightly News and the evening's earlier NewsCenter4 broadcasts. After the late newscast, the duty announcer would state ownership and disclaimer information. An out-of-vision sermonette, Let Us Pray and a film accompanying the singing of the Navy Prayer followed. The actual closing announcement and film of America the Beautiful played by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concluded the sign-off sequence.
  • KTLA: It is not certain what they used for sign-off. (KTLA went 24/7 from Tuesday morning to Sunday Night, also showing "Movies 'Till Dawn".) At sign-on on Monday and Tuesday mornings, old footage from the 1960s used as KTLA gave its station and channel ID's, and other technical information, and for about five minutes, showed color bars with the names of the colors on the screen. Then, The Star-Spangled Banner played showing footage from the 1960s with vintage cars on the Hollywood Freeway. It is believed that KTLA used the original "Telecopter" when it made its sign-on film.
  • KHJ-TV, now KCAL-TV: Up until the late-1980's, sign-off was preceded by a re-run of the Editorial, followed by a film clip of the Native American giving the Lord's Prayer in the Indian Sign Language, then followed by the standard sign-off, and the playing of Ray Charles' America the Beautiful.
  • KTTV: Like KTLA, it went 24/7 between Tuesday Morning and Sunday Night playing old movies overnight. On Sunday Night, a re-run of the 10:00 p. m. newscast was played, then the sermonette, followed by the Flag Evolution version of The Star-Spangled Banner was played, followed by the sign-off message. On Monday nights, an off-screen reader announced the news. In the late 1970s, KTTV played an Air Force version of The Star-Spangled Banner. In the 1980s, KTTV played a live version of the LAPD Band playing The Star-Spangled Banner at the their studio.
  • KOCE: Following the sign-off announcement, the station played The Star-Spangled Banner with the U.S. flag, and Liberty Bell graphic, followed by the technical announcement that the programs were filmed and videotaped. In later years, KOCE modified its sign-off announcement, and then played The Star-Spangled Banner over a fireworks video.
  • Before going to a 24-hour schedule (with the original exception of Sunday nights), Georgia Public Broadcasting played Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" (the state song) while showing video scenes (mostly nature scenes) from across the state. This was last played in early 2009, just before midnight on the night of February 17, for the permanent sign-off of all of its nine full-power analog transmitters, and the overnight shutdown of some digital ones in order to change them back to the channels and antennas the analogs had been operating on.

Digital switchover

When the appointed time finally arrived for a station to switchover from analogue to digital, whether a programme was in progress or not, stations just switched-off their analogue signals. This meant that those with analogue sets that were not hooked to pay TV services or a digital converter box saw regular programming suddenly disappear and replaced by snow/static at the moment the station switched-off its analogue transmitter. For the most part the switch-off was not preceded by a formal sign-off/station closedown message as is usually the case. However, some stations, especially those with local news in progress at the time of the switchover, had a live shot of the location where engineers switched-off the analogue signals.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, closedowns originally took place frequently during the daytime, and sometimes only for a few hours at a time. This was due initially to Government-imposed restrictions on daytime broadcasting hours, and later, budgetary constrictions. The eventual relaxation of these rules meant that afternoon closedowns ceased permanently on the ITV network in October 1972. The BBC took rather longer to abandon the practice, and did not commence a full daytime service until the autumn of 1986.

A full night-time closedown sequence on British television might typically contain information about the following day's schedule, perhaps a weather forecast and/or a news update, possibly a Public Information Film and finally, a look at the station clock.

Examples of United Kingdom closedown routines

  • On BBC One, the sequence was just that - tomorrow evening's schedule, the national weather forecast, a Public Information Film (Monday to Thursdays only), and finally the clock which led straight into a rendition of the National Anthem "God Save the Queen", played out over the ident. For many years, BBC1 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also signed off with a late news bulletin & local weather forecast read off-screen by the duty continuity announcer. BBC One's last closedown took place on 8 November 1997. BBC News 24 has filled the early hours since but in recent years the time available for News 24 has been increasingly curtailed by programmes from the Sign Zone.
  • On BBC Two, a look at tomorrow evening's schedule was followed by a closing announcement over the station clock. BBC2 never closed with the National Anthem and the clock just faded to black following the closing announcement, although picture montages accompanied by easy listening music were occasionally broadcast. BBC Two is the last national British terrestrial channel to still sign off at night, but only during certain times of the year (or times of the week) when BBC Learning Zone is off the air. This currently includes the Christmas holiday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Pages from Ceefax fill the gap in broadcasting hours.
  • Channel 4 closed down with the clock and a play-out of the station ident before fading to black and after a minute or so the Channel 4 testcard appeared. Channel 4 was the only TV station to show the testcard at closedown as the BBC just radiated tone for ten minutes after closedown before the transmitters were switched off for the night. Channel 4 (who, at launch in 1982, were usually closed for around sixteen hours a day) began its round-the-clock service on 6 January 1997, after a year of gradually expanding its overnight hours.
  • Closedowns in the ITV regions varied from region to region:
    • Grampian, Scottish, Ulster, Tyne Tees, ATV, HTV, Anglia, LWT, Southern & their successors TVS, Westward & their successors TSW and Channel closed transmission with God Save the Queen - mainly over scenes of the Royal Family. HTV Wales also played Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau in addition to GSTQ. ATV chose to use a version of the national anthem played on a church organ over the station clock whereas other stations chose to utilise traditional band arrangements.
    • Granada and Central played out with special arrangements of their station themes. TSW also used their station theme That's Soul, Write as part of their closing sequence. Thames played either easy listening, popular or instrumental library music over a programme menu and the clock. Scottish also used various pieces of library music for playout during a rundown of programmes for the next day. Border and Yorkshire chose to simply fade out following the closedown announcement.
    • Grampian, Ulster and Border also signed off with late regional news bulletins read by the duty announcer. Most regions also signed off with a weather forecast whilst Westward and TSW also used a Shipping Forecast. Westward also occasionally aired short clips of Loeki - a cartoon lion whose adventures had bookended the advert breaks on Dutch television since the early Seventies - just prior to switching off the transmission stream. Some regions (namely Central, Granada, LWT, Scottish, TSW, Tyne Tees and Yorkshire) also included a short announcement advertising Independent Local Radio stations in their respective areas as part of their closing sequences.

Two popular items in British culture were inspired by the early years of television; firstly, the phrase "Don't forget to switch off your television set", a warning typically spoken by the station announcer which took place over a blank screen, often after several seconds of dead air, prior to the transmitter being switched off; and secondly the "little white dot", a phosphor trace which lingered on the screen as the power faded, diminishing in size until it became invisible.

The ITV regions gradually switched to 24-hour television between 1986 and 1988, under a directive issued by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. Yorkshire Television was first to go round the clock showing programmes from the satellite station Music Box. However, Music Box shut down at the start of 1987 and YTV went back to a nightly closedown although it did air a teletext information service called Jobfinder for an hour after sign-off. During 1987, Thames/LWT, TVS and Anglia began through-the-night broadcasting (Thames had already extended broadcast hours to around 4am previously). The other major regions including Granada, Central and Yorkshire slowly followed suit during the first half of the 1988 although many had been broadcasting until around 3am for some time, especially at the weekend. By the start of September 1988 the last regions - Tyne Tees, Border, TSW and Grampian went 24 hours although Ulster which didn't start round-the-clock broadcasting until a couple of months later. Some overnight programming slots, typically between around 4am and 5am, were filled with Jobfinder, which some regions adopted and others didn't, and, since 1998, ITV Nightscreen. The temporary suspension of ITV1's overnight gaming shows in March 2007 forced ITV1 to schedule Nightscreen in continuous blocks of up to almost three hours until the start of the ITV Morning News.

  • S4C, the Welsh-language channel, is the only UK terrestrial channel which continues to close down every night (though generally only for around 90 minutes between approximately 4:30 and 6.00 in the early morning). A short sequence of captions featuring information and listings for S4C programmes was aired for short amounts of time after closedown and before start-up but has since been abandoned. The digital service S4C Digidol (S4C Digital) closes down around midnight on most evenings with a weather forecast and sign off voiced by the duty announcer.

BBC Radio closedown routines

In the UK, BBC Radio 4 does "close down" in a sense. While they do not produce any original programming during their "off-air" hours, audio from the BBC World Service is provided. BBC Asian Network and almost all of the BBC's local stations have an off-hours overnight simulcast—in this case, with BBC Radio Five Live.

Australia

On Sydney's Seven Network affiliate, ATN-7, a sign-off from the late 1960s to early 1980s would feature a closing film (My City of Sydney sung by Tommy Leonetti) featuring sights of Australia residents at work and play followed by a short cartoon of a mother kangaroo putting her joey to bed, played over an abridged version of "Advance Australia Fair". The bed was made from parts of the ATN-7 logo (The letters "ATN" were unfolded into a bed, the word "TELEVISION" became the mattress, and the "7" became a blanket).[2]. Latterly, the kangaroo cartoon was accompanied by a sign-off announcement from a staff announcer, followed by a closing film of a Marines band playing the abridged version of Advance Australia Fair and a test pattern.

The same affiliate's sign-off in the 1980s featured an animation produced by Debbie Glasser featuring cartoon nudity and sights of Australia played over Good Night by The Beatles. The closing announcement, kanagroo cartoon and Advance Australia Fair film continued to air after the animation.[3] ATN-7 began 24-hour broadcasting during the late 1980s.

During the 1980s, Seven's Melbourne affiliate HSV-7 closed with an extended version of a station promo or ident in use at the time and a pre-recorded sign-off announcement, usually voiced by John Deeks. Around this time, the network's Adelaide affiliate SAS-7 (formerly ADS-7) closed with a film of scenes from the city and the rest of Australia, accompanied by a vocal reindition of Dorothea Mackellar's poem My Country and a closing announcement.[4]

New Zealand

Originally New Zealand TV ended with a black and white video of a New Zealand flag flying outside the original parliament buildings with the New Zealand National Anthem tune playing in the background, this was played on New Zealand's then only TV channel. In 1975 when TV2 was started BCNZ decided to go the way of Australia (which ended their children's programming with an animated Kangaroo), and create an animated video featuring a Kiwi. The Kiwi in this cartoon became known as the Goodnight Kiwi or TV Kiwi. The original video had the Kiwi climbing out of a studio directors chair and putting the cat out and a milk bottle before waving good night to the audience.[5] In 1981 this video was updated to a video showing a kiwi switching off broadcasting equipment in a television station for the night, turning out the light, then he climbs up the stairs to the top floor with the transmitter, riding an elevator to the top of the transmitter, and going to bed in a satellite dish. The cartoon closed up with the words "Goodnight from Television New Zealand". In 1989 the video was changed to say "Goodnight from Channel 2" using the current TV2 logo. Outside broadcasting hours both TV One and 2 usually displayed a test pattern with National Radio playing in the background, sometimes instead of a test pattern the channel logo was seen. TV One was also known to stop transmission overnight with viewers simply seeing snow on the screen.

In October 1994, TVNZ began 24-hour broadcasting, marking the disappearance of the Goodnight Kiwi from New Zealand television screens. In September 2007, the Kiwi closing sequence was adopted by TVNZ 6[6]. The TVNZ 6 version has been adapted for Widescreen format and as a result the top and bottom of some of the video is not seen, the video is ended with "Goodnight from TVNZ 6."

The Goodnight Kiwi was not seen on TV One from the late eighties onwards. In 1987 a clock was shown with the ONE logo positioned at 1 one the clock and a voice over saying good night to the audience. This was followed by a short video playing the then TV theme song [7] In 1988 this was replaced with a video showing a montage video of New Zealand with the National Anthem played in the background, sung in both Maori and English. This video was seen on TV One a the start and finish of each day.[8] This was dropped in 1994 along with the Goodnight Kiwi when TV One began screening BBC World overnight.

TV3 originally started and finished each day using their brand theme "Come Home to the Feeling" the video showed a montage of clips from shows on TV3.[9] There was also a second video which was used when TV3 launched called "Got the Feeling" was sung by Dave Dobbyn.[10] Outside broadcasting hours TV3 usually screened a test pattern with a high pitched sound in the background. TV3 have continuously updated their branding and it was around the mid-nineties that TV3 began screening Infomercials overnight instead of closing down for the night.

TV4 always started and ended each day using a montage video with clips from TV4 shows as with TV3. Outside broadcasting hours TV4 originally screened a test pattern with the TV4 logo displayed and Auckland's More FM playing in the background, this was later changed to play Channel Z in the background.

South Korea

In the most part, terrestrial television stations continue to close down overnight. Before December 2005, television daytime closedowns used to be carried out usually from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm. In November 2005, the South Korean government announced that daytime closedowns on TV would be wiped out in the following next month. However, night-time closedowns on terristrial TV broadcasting still exist, usually from 1.30 am to 6.00 am. At the closedown, the national anthem, Aegukga, is played. Although analogue stations continue to sign off, most satellite or cable stations continue to broadcast throughout the night.

In radio broadcasting, several major broadcasters continue to broadcast 24 hours a day, including KBS (nationwide commercial), CBS (Protestant Christian), and SBS (metropolitan commercial). Seoul's transport radio, TBS on 95.1 MHz, also provides round-the-clock broadcasting. Even though they do not carry out off-air closedowns, they play the national anthem approximately at 5am. The EBS (on 104.5 MHz in Seoul) and certain religious channels such as BBS (Buddhist) and PBS (Catholic) usually close between 2am and 5am. The KBS is quite unique - some of the KBS radio channels including KBS Radio 1, 1FM, and 2FM are delivered 24 hours a day. On the other channels, however, closedowns still remain in place. KBS Radio 2 and 3 close down between 3am and 5am. KBS Radio Social Education 1 on 972 and 1134 kHz closes between 9am and 1pm.

North Korea

Korean Central Television signs off at around 11:00pm (Indonesian time at 9:00pm) each evening with an extended preview of the next day's schedule followed by an in-vision closing announcement and the station theme.

The Philippines

All channels picked-up via aerial in the Republic of the Philippines usually closedown between midnight and 2:30am local time. The following information regarding the station is usually disclosed:

  • station ID (e.g. DWWX-TV/DZBB-TV)
  • permit/licence number by issued by the National Telecommunications Commission
  • studio and transmitter's location
  • power used to transmit the channel
  • engineers/technical professionals involved in transmitting the channel and their respective licence numbers
  • provincial affiliates/stations which re-broadcast the channel

In addition, an evening prayer (ex. Amen by Sr. Gemma de la Cruz) may be broadcast or said and the Philippine national anthem is played before SMPTE color bars are displayed with a black bar bearing the name of the station (for ABS-CBN:ABS-CBN CH. 2; for GMA Network: GMA CHANNEL 7 TOC MANILA), the station logo in the middle of the test card, such as that of the Associated Broadcasting Company, or EIA Color Bars for IBC-13. Analogue transmitters are shortly switched off while the test card is displayed overnight on cable.

Some cable channels do not operate a full 24 hours, mostly those which are owned by ABS-CBN such as CinemaOne Global, Knowledge Channel and Lifestyle Network; these are replaced by an advertisement, "a reason to go to sleep" and the time which the network is scheduled to go back on air. On the other hand, some channels - particularly those that have block-time agreements with Solar Entertainment - go off the air overnight on analogue but continue to broadcast 24 hours a day on cable.

During Holy Week, particularly Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday, most terrestrial stations remain off air during the entire day while others decide to open transmission later in the morning or at noon.

Singapore

MediaCorp, the only television broadcaster in the country continues to broadcast its mainstream channels, Channel 5 and Channel 8 round the clock while its other stations sign-off overnight. The Singapore National Anthem will play prior to sign-off with a text translation for the language the channel broadcasts in (e.g. Chinese for Channel U).

During off-air hours, Channel NewsAsia will feature text headlines and background music, even for its international version while Suria and Vasantham will feature a static image which sometimes features the programme schedule for the day with Suria playing Ria 89.7 FM in the background & Vasantham & okto also playing Oli 96.8 FM (Vasantham) and Lush 99.5 FM (okto) in the background.

Argentina

Until 2005, all television stations (except for Canal 7 Argentina, the state station) remained off air in the mornings with stations commencing transmissions as late as 12:00pm on weekdays and 1:00pm on weekends. Currently, the only stations from Buenos Aires which continue to sign-off are Telefe (channel 11) and Artear (channel 13). Most of the stations outside Buenos Aires continue to close down every day, again with schedules starting as late as noon on weekends.

Channels 11 and 13 usually finish their broadcasting day with a sequence of programme trailers, followed by a fade to black before the transmission carrier is shut off. Stations in other parts of the country follow a similar path, in some cases adding a religious message before the sign-off. For example, the programme Pausa en Familia ("Break in Family"), which is shown on Channel 8 of Tucumán, Channel 7 of Santiago del Estero and Channel 13 of Santa Fe.

Brazil

Rede Globo currently signs off once a month to allow for transmitter maitenance, usually with a closing announcement and a preview of the following day's schedule.

Between 1985 and 1996, SBT stations closed with an infamous animation portraying a satellite beaming SBT signals to the network affiliates across the country. Some of SBT's affilaites continue to sign off each night.

In the case of Rede Bandeirantes, sign-off sequences in the past consisted of a scrolling list of network affiliates and pictures of the transmission network. The network now airs paid religious programming overnight although some affiliate stations continue to sign off.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, where almost all terrestrial stations don't broadcast 24 hours a day, most stations (ATV Home, ATV World, TVB Jade, TVB Pearl, and TVB HD-Jade) sign-off overnight. Until 1989, TVB closedowns usually featured a still image or a short animated video, with a closing announcement folloed by a still image of Queen Elizabeth II, and the British national anthem "God Save the Queen" will play.

Currently, TVB's closing procedure consists of an ident and closing announcement followed by the test card. In 1996, TVB Pearl began closing down each afternoon from 1pm to 4pm (GMT +8). ATV closedowns follow a similar procedure ATV was also famous for showing a Fishcam prior to closedown (and the test card's eventual appearance afterwards).

Moldova

In Moldova, sign-offs are practically used at almost 1:30am. A rare example is Moldova 1, which end transmissions with two idents, one featuring the channel ident with a transmitter (the 335 meters tall Străşeni TV Mast) and the other one with the Coat of arms of Moldova. A rundown of the next day's programming schedule is followed by the Limba Noastra. A final brief look at the clock is followed by a test card with tone.

Spain

In Spain, sign-off sequences consisted of a scrolling schedule for tomorrow followed by the Marcha Real and scenes of the Spanish Royal Family followed by a test card. An live in-vision announcement proceeded the closing sequence although this was phased out by the early 1990s to be replaced by a pre-recorded voiceover.

Turkey

TRT 3 and TRT 4 continue to close down each night with a closing ident, the Turkish national anthem and an on-screen sign-off message, prior to the testcard.

Republic Of Ireland

Up until the mid-late 1990s, RTÉ One signed off with a landscape film featuring the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann, usually following a closing announcement over the station clock. In later years, a short news bulletin and An Evening Prayer would proceed closedown - although RTÉ One now broadcasts around the clock, the late night news and epilogue sequence continues to air.

RTÉ Two closedowns varied significantly until the start of 24 hour broadcasting in 1997. Before the station was relaunched as 'Network 2' in 1988, RTE2 closedowns usually consisted of a late news bulletin and the nightly epilogue Nightlight prior to a sign-off announcement. In later years, a 30-second unbranded animation (also used at start-up) was broadcast to conclude the day's transmission.

Russia/USSR

A full night-time closedown sequence on Russian television might typically contain information about the following day's schedule, the channel ident, and finally, a look at the station clock.

  • On Channel One Russia (known at that time as ORT, Obshchestvennoe Rossiyskoye Televidenie - Russian Public Television), the sequence was tomorrow evening's schedule, the closing animation with "Until Tomorrow" written in Russian and fading into a night sky, and finally the clock. Later, the animation changed into a shot of the rotating Earth with lit-up signs of city and country names written in Russian, as well as sounds of broadcasts from these countries, ending with "Good night until tomorrow" said by Soviet television personality Igor Kirilov.
  • Soviet Central Television (Russian: Центральное телевидение СССР) closed down with a play-out of the station ident (which involved five circles - symbolizing the five satellite transmission regions of the USSR television network - heading into an antenna with the Red Star symbol at the bottom until eventually disappearing, at which point the text at the bottom "1-я программа" (First Programme) changes to TB CCCP (USSR TV)), then the clock before fading to a slide with "Do not forget to switch off your television set" (Russian: «Не забудьте выключить телевизор»), accompanied by intermittent beeping, and after a minute or so the UEIT testcard appeared. During afternoon breaks (which stopped in the late 1980s) the testcard was shown with the live sound of Radio Mayak - channel 2 of the Soviet radio. Soviet channel 2 (All Union Programme) signed off for the final time on June 1991 and its frequencies were turned over to the main state TV channels of the Soviet republics. The USSR TV finally became defunct on December 27, 1991.

Radio

While most radio stations operate 24/7, a few AM stations permitted for daytime operation only in North America and some rural FM stations will often sign off. Radio sign offs are generally more simple in nature. A standard sign off protocol for radio includes:

  • An evening prayer for the broadcast day for secular stations or stations with religious audiences
  • An identification of the station (required as with TV by the FCC or the NTC)
  • An announcement of the upcoming signoff.
  • Ownership of the station
  • Transmitter power and other license conditions (such as AM daytime operation only)
  • Studio and transmitter location.
  • Sometimes, list of engineers if it is in the Philippines and Netherlands.
  • The time at which the station will return to the air
  • A "good night"-type message
  • National Anthem (not as widely used as on television)

As with television, radio stations that sign off are only required to announce their calls, frequency and city of license—all other items are optional.

References

External links








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