I’ve always been fascinated by the broadcast clock. My training in commercial and public radio made me acutely aware that things needed to be EXACT - not one second over or under. I always kept scrap paper in the studio to tally song times. College radio, however, is a lesson in lax. I don’t think I could teach a student to backtime to the top of the hour if I tried.
The first clock I made myself was a
stolen borrowed copy of a public radio clock for a program that had one short break at the bottom of the hour. I opened the image in Paint, erased the break marks and the show’s title, and hit print. The actual clock would need to be handwritten and use a ruler, but it worked.
Years ago I came across the Broadcast Clock Creator. It’s fancy and all, but anything that costs more than free is likely out of the price range or just not worth it for college radio stations. It’s just as easy to create your own template using Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet program.
To see some broadcast clocks used by public radio programs, check out WNYC’s Tumblr for “Take a trip inside the magical world of the book of clocks" and "The book of clocks part 2.”