CNN was not always the desolate wasteland of post-journalism; once upon a time, it was revolutionary, the place news changed from "something available once or twice a day in rationed amounts" to "something available at all times, whenever needed." And whatever the costs have been of the 24-hour news cycle, I will never forget how important it was to me during the first Gulf War, when missiles were landing next to my family, and I could stay next to it continuously, getting some reassurance that everyone was still okay from knowing which cities were being targeted.

But transmitting the news 24/7 is a serious responsibility - like switchboard operators, they were at the key junction of information, and had to be prepared to continue to transmit until literally the last second. In 1980, with nuclear annihilation a very real prospect, that "last second" was something we all had to think about.

Given that, knowing that Turner not only had a plan for final sign-off, but that the plan remains fully armed and prepped to this day, a video in their internal database with the bright red annotation "HFR (hold for release) till end of the world confirmed," makes me unaccountably happy. I do not think I could ever work a critical system like that without such a contingency plan in place, even if it made my team think I was mad, and every so often I would check on it to make sure it was still properly set.

If you're wondering, the final sign-off will be a band playing "Nearer My God To Thee." The actual video is available in this story, in all its low-def glory.

(ETA: The video seems to have been taken down from the story, but it's still findable on YouTube at https://youtu.be/z6f7j1E61sM . Thanks to +Christian Nalletamby​​ for finding it!)

h/t +A.V. Flox​​​​
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