Friday Feedback for December 16, 2016

Dec 16, 2016

A large wristwatch somewhere in England.
Why announce that it is "almost X o'clock" if it is in fact 10:59? -- Allen

Allen Latham wrote: “Why is it that the announcer of the weekday time check/ station breaks announces that it is "almost X o'clock" if it is in fact 10:59 or 10:58. Would that not be a little bit more accurate?” I wrote to Allen that this is an interesting question, but the answer may be more than he bargained for. And it depends on which station you’re listening to.

First of all, most network programs begin right on the hour. However, on the HQR News side, that signal goes through digital processing that actually delays it by almost 8 seconds before the listener hears it. So if you’re listening to 91.3fm and we say “It’s 9:00 o’clock,” the actual time is probably 8 seconds after 9 o’clock.

On the Classical side, if you’re listening to 92.7 in Wilmington, when one of our local announcers says it’s 9 o’clock, that could be exactly right — unless they choose to anticipate it for a few seconds. But NPR Newscasts begin not at the top of the hour, but at one minute past, which is usually what we announce.

However, most of the time on Classical we use a syndicated service. In those hours we play a pre-recorded time-check at one minute before the hour, followed by local announcements for underwriters, Day Sponsors, promos and others, then join the service at the top of the hour.

But, if you’re listening to Classical HQR on HD channel 2, or listening to 102.3 in Myrtle Beach, the time reference is actually delayed by over a minute — again, due to digital processing, but a different sort than I previously mentioned.

Web streaming can be delayed for several seconds, depending on the type of internet service you have, the app you may be using on your smart phone, and a host of other considerations.

Finally, announcer preference plays a role. Most of our announcer will say “it’s 9 o’clock” when it’s within 20 seconds or so on either side. Others prefer to be a little vague and say “it’s about 9 o’clock” or similar.

Remember, I told Allen that this would be more than he bargained for!

Listener Ted wrote just before last week's one-day drive in partnership with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity:

Thank you so much for your wonderful programming and support for community non-profits. I am proud to be a member. . . the one day pledge drive in December. . . concerns me because of potential pledge fatigue, and because it is following fairly closely to the very successful fall pledge drive.

I wrote to Ted, thanking him for his message. We did well in our fall and spring pledge drives, though we did not go too far over our budgeted goal for the full fiscal year, which ends on June 30. The unknowns each year are revenue from Cinematique, car donations, etc., which can never be predicted.

The December pledge drive is rather different. It's a one-day, annual event that is important to our overall budget. It's also a great opportunity for us to partner with the community and give back in a small way. This year we were excited to partner with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity. For every pledge we got, Builders FirstSource donated a 2x4 piece of lumber. Habitat was understandably very excited about the prospect.

Ted then wrote back:

It is wonderful that you are working with Habitat for the one day pledge drive. Your support for local non-profits is one of the many things that make your station such a great community resource.  You have a done an amazing job of reworking the pledge drives, trying new things and making them a fun, meaningful and worthwhile endeavor. You always make a clear and sound case for the fundraising need and where the money goes. While I can't contribute much, I will be sure to pledge on December 8 and try to support the emPower[ing Our Future] campaign as well before the end of the year.” – which he did.

We’d love to hear from you on Friday Feedback. You can send an email message to feedback-at-whqr-dot-org, or you can leave a call at 910-292-9477. And as always, thanks for your Feedback.