Beep at top of the hour on WBZ disappeared

Chris Hansen
Wed Sep 26 05:33:15 EDT 2018

On 26/09/2018 04:38, A Joseph Ross wrote:
> I think this may have been the last station to have that beep on the 
> hour.  I think BBC World Service still has it, but that can be a second 
> or two delayed.  I guess I'll have to start setting my watch by either 
> my cellphone or the Windows clock.  The beep on the hour has gone the 
> way of Jordan Marsh, WHDH radio, and the Red Sox talent for snatching 
> defeat from the jaws of victory.

I'm a former Marbleheader who now lives in London, England. BBC Radio 4
(news and talk station of the BBC in the UK) still has the series of
beeps (called "pips" here) at the top of each hour (except at 6pm and
midnight when it broadcasts the bells from Elizabeth Tower [Big Ben],
which are now a recording since the bells have been silenced due to
structural work on the clock and tower). However, only on LW, AM and FM
are these pips (series of 6, with the sixth being the exact hour pip)
accurate. On digital radio the sixth pip is always two seconds "late",
while on internet radio it can be anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds late.

There have been discussions as to how to synchronise the pips on digital
radio--nothing has come of them. But removing the pips would mightily
disturb the Colonal Blimps in the suburban and rural parts of the
UK--they distrust change and would write nasty letters to the Times, the
Mail, and the Telegraph. So the pips, inaccurate as they may be, remain.

Interesting fact: The BBC announcers are schooled to be very careful not
to talk into the pips--when they do, it's referred to as "crashing the

Chris Hansen

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