A photo from the '60s shows a collection of clocks used for timing Civil Service exams.

Credit: Cleland Rimmer

Massachusetts Time Change Could Disrupt TV Event Schedules

April 12, 2017

One of the biggest problems experts laid out for the Legislature's time zone commission Wednesday is that a change from Eastern Daylight Time to constant Atlantic time would affect the start times for live television, leading to late nights for sports fans.

Dr. David Prerau has researched the human impact of time zones and told the commission about what Newfoundland found when they experimented with their time zone in 1988.

"They found that the most complaints they got about that was kids going to school in the dark and that the west coast hockey games would last until well past midnight," Prerau told the commission.

A time change would put Massachusetts out of sync with major markets like Washington, D.C. and New York for six months a year, when the rest of the coast observes Eastern Standard Time.

"We understand there's a lot of discussion that's preliminary and also based on the assumption that other states may join us. But even if all of New England joined this effort, unless the entire Atlantic seaboard or at least the areas Washington, Philadelphia and New York joined, we would still be outliers," Jim Smith, general counsel for the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association said. Smith said that with a relatively small percentage of the national population, it's unlikely that national TV networks would alter their schedules for our new time zone.

Most commission members are skeptical of making any change unless neighboring states come into the Atlantic zone with Massachusetts.

The panel also spoke with University of Washington's Foster School of Business management professor Christopher Barnes, who cited studies that found decreases in work productivity, dips in the stock market, and increases in work injuries and auto accidents annually on the Monday after returning from Daylight Saving Time and "losing" one hour of rest.


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