Time Zone Examination and Overview
While not entirely centralized in the grand scheme of things, Central Standard Time is a time zone located six hours behind Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and is used by both North America and Central America. The reason it’s referred to as “standard” is because many of the U.S States and countries within this zone observe a different time zone during Daylight Saving Time known as Central Daylight Time.
During the winter months, these locations switch back to this standard time zone. Join us as we examine the locations that fall into this time zone, and how broadcasts in the United States adjust for these time changes.
Central Standard Time, CST
Time Zone Abbreviation:
Popular Time Zones
Locations Within The CST Time Zone
Parts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and a portion of the Eastern Pacific Ocean utilize CST. During Daylight Saving Time, participating areas move from 6 hours behind UTC to five hours for the portion of the summer.
Below are the areas in Canada that fall into this time zone:
- Ontario - areas west of 90 West, the eastern side is on EST/EDT. The following communities do not observe DST: Atikokan, New Osnaburgh, Pickle Lake
- Saskatchewan - Only in Creighton and Denare Beach. Lloydminster is in the MST/MDT zone
Manitoba is the only Canadian province that observes Central Time in its entirety. Below are locations in the United States that fall into the CST zone:
- Florida - Northwestern locations including Calhoun, Escamia, Holmes, Jacson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, Washington, and north gulf counties.
- Indiana - Northwestern counties including Lake, Porter, La Porte, Newton, Jasper, Starke, and counties near Evansville
- Kansas - barring these west counties: Greeley, Hamilton, Sherman, and Wallace use MST/MDT
- Kentucky - Western counties
- Michigan - Several western counties including Dickinson, Gogebic, Iron, and Menominee
- Nebraska - Eastern counties
- North Dakota - North and East locations
- Tennessee - Western locations
- Texas - all but a few counties including El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson
The Central Time Zone is the most populated in the United States just after the Eastern Time Zone. Many of these states are geographically located on the border of two time zones. In Mexico, most of the country falls under CST, but six of the states do not. They are Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, and Sonora.
The following Mexican states observe Central Time:
- Distrito Federal
- Nuevo León
- Quintana Roo
- San Luis Potosí
In Central America, the following countries observe CST all year long:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
There are also several other time zones that fall into the same UTC offset as CST. They are listed below with a short description of each:
- EAST - Easter Island Standard Time
Easter Island/Rapa Nui observe this time zone during the winter. During the summer months the official time is EASST (Easter Island Summer Time).
- GALT - Galapagos Time
The pacific island of Galapagos near Ecuador falls into this time zone, which is six hours behind UTC.
- MDT - Mountain Daylight Time
This time zone is a DST variation of Mountain Standard Time that falls into the same offset as CST during the summer months.
- S - Sierra Time Zone
This is a military time zone used in aviation and is used at sea between the longitudes of 97.5 degrees West and 82.5 degrees West. It is denoted with the letter “S” and is combined with military time.
A Brief Examination of Central Daylight Time
Between the months of March and November, a modified time zone is in effect for much of the CST zone called Central Daylight Time. This modification is UTC -05:00 instead of the normal six hour offset. As mentioned earlier, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan does not participate in this practice.
Most of this example province is geographically located in the Mountain Time Zone, so by moving into the CST Zone, they essentially placed themselves on a permanent Daylight Saving Time. The exception to this rule is the city of Lloydminster which chose to stay on Mountain Time with DST to stay in sync with Alberta’s time.
In locations where DST is observed, the clocks change from 2:00 local time to 3:00 local time on the second Sunday in March. On the first Sunday in November, the clocks go from 2:00 to 1:00. Mexico has a slight change to this formula and changes their time on the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. Some of the border cities adopted the U.S. DST schedule after gaining approval from the government in 2010.
The Effects of Time Zones on American Broadcasting
The United States is composed of four separate time zones, which makes timing and scheduling for television broadcasts more complicated. In most cases, television networks will have two separate feeds that go to their owned-and-operated stations and affiliates. The same process is true in the case of cable and satellite channels.
There is an “eastern feed” that is aired at the same time for both the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Then there’s a “western feed” that is tape-delayed for three hours to accommodate the time difference in the Pacific Time Zone. This tape-delay is used for a variety of other purposes as well. For live broadcasts it is delayed seven seconds to account for possible profanity, bloopers, violence, or other things that would need to be censored.
This delay allows programs to air at the same time in different zones. A show that begins at 8 P.M on the east coast can also air at 8 P.M on the west coast through a tape-delay. The Mountain Time Zone complicates things further as it is sometimes given its own feed or a mixture of the east and west variations.
The Fox broadcasting company set a standard for a “common prime schedule” in 1987 when they set prime time shows to end by 10:00 P.M Central and Mountain Time, and `11:00 P.M for Eastern and Pacific Time. It essentially removed an hour from the Monday through Saturday schedule, making it two hours, and three hours on Sundays.
Since this time, other stations have adopted the same schedule including The WB and UPN. The CW and MyNetworkTV services also used this schedule when they launched in September of 2006. The United States territory of Guam presents an even larger complexity to the mix. This area is located on the other side of the International Date Line.
This imaginary line exists at a specific point on the Earth where one day becomes another because of time zone differences. It’s located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at roughly 180 degrees longitude. Since Guam is on the other side of this line, United States broadcasting shows the day after they are shown in the mainland.
In some cases, a fourth stream is used for the Central Time Zone. With shows like Good Morning America starting too early for viewers in the Midwest, this fourth feed is tape-delayed an hour to show at 7:00 A.M. in Central Time. When it comes to live vents like breaking news, the State of the Union address, and Academy Awards, these are broadcasted simultaneously across the nation, creating new issues.
These events are advertised using both Eastern and Pacific Time. A live show beginning at 8 P.M Eastern will begin at 5 P.M in the Pacific region.
Possibly the most complicate aspect of being geographically located in the Central Standard Time Zone is the fact that many states will find themselves divided between two different sets of time. Indiana is a perfect example of such a situation. The fact that the United States is divided into multiple time zones also complicates things like broadcasts and live events.
The structure of how we tell time may not be perfect, but it is a necessity when it comes to calculating for the rotation of the Earth and the apparent changes in time across the vast land mass that is the United States. The Eastern Standard Time Zone tends to be more favored because it houses the nation’s capital, along with some of the largest cities. This favoritism has led to many different changes and modifications to the way we handle broadcast scheduling.
These complications are a necessary evil though as it helps keep everything running smoothly. With outliers like Guam running on entirely different days though, it can be quite taxing just trying to wrap your head around these processes.
Once you throw Daylight Saving Time into the mix, it’s almost too much but now that we’ve explained it here you can go forward being aware of the locations that observe the CST time zone.
CST means a standard time where six hours is subtracted from GMT (UTC/GMT −6), and during daylight saving time (DST), five hours is subtracted from GMT (UTC/GMT -5). The Central Standard Time is based on the mean solar time of the 90th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory.Are we in CST or CDT now? ›
North America: CDT is currently not observed because locations are on standard time and are observing CST.Is CST always 2 hours ahead of PST? ›
Converting Pacific Standard Time to Other US Time Zones
Pacific Standard Time (PST) is 2 hours behind Central Standard Time (CST). To convert PST to CST, you have to add two hours. Pacific Standard Time (PST) is 1 hour behind Mountain Standard Time (MST).
Central Standard Time is six hours behind the Coordinated Universal Time standard, written as an offset of UTC - 6:00. That means to find the standard time in the zone you must subtract six hours from Coordinated Universal Time. Territories observing the time zone are primarily in North and Central America.What time is CST in Texas? ›
|Offset||Time Zone Abbreviation & Name||Current Time|
|UTC -7||MST||Sat, 12:09:11 am|
|UTC -6||CST||Sat, 1:09:11 am|
Not only is Illinois in the Central Time Zone, but Chicago is the largest city in the entire time zone! During Daylight Standard Time (November through April) the Chicago time zone is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.What time is 1pm CDT in CST? ›
The state of New York uses the Eastern Time Zone (UTC-05:00) with daylight saving time (UTC-04:00).Is CST 1 hour ahead? ›
Central Standard Time (CST) is 1 hour behind Eastern Standard Time (EST). To convert CST to EST, you have to add one hour.Who uses CST time? ›
The North American Central Time Zone (CT or C) is a time zone in parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, some Caribbean islands, and part of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. DST is observed in some of this time zone. Central Standard Time (CST) is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
View the PST to CST conversion below. Pacific Standard Time is 2 hours behind Central Standard Time. Convert more time zones by visiting the time zone page and clicking on common time zone conversions. Or use the form at the bottom of this page for easy conversion.What does 9am CST mean? ›
Central Standard Time (CST)
Central Standard Time is consistent with UTC -6. Countries with the Central Standard Time, in which a switch to daylight savings time is common, turn the clock forward by one hour in summer. By doing so, they switch to Central Daylight Time (CDT) and reach UTC -5.
is. 8:00:00 AM. assuming the date is today and your time zone is PST.What time does CST change? ›
Daylight Saving Time - When do we change our clocks? Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November.What states have CST times? ›
In the United States, the time zone includes the entire area of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. It also includes parts of Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.Does Texas have 2 time zones? ›
Most of Texas is in the Central Time Zone with the exception being the two westernmost counties. Northwestern Culberson County near Guadalupe Mountains National Park unofficially observes Mountain Time Zone.Is Houston on CST time? ›
|Current Local Time||Houston, Texas is officially in the Central Time Zone|
|The Current Time in Houston, Texas is: Sunday 2/19/2023 1:56 PM CST Houston, Texas is in the Central Time Zone|
|View Current Times in All Texas Cities and Towns|
Florida is in two time zones. The western part of Florida (the panhandle south of Alabama) is in the Central Time zone (UTC − 6 h); the rest of the peninsula uses Eastern Time (UTC − 5 h).Is any part of Florida in CST? ›
The southern and eastern parts of Florida observe Eastern Standard Time (EST) during standard time and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) during Daylight Saving Time (DST). Only 10 counties in the northern and western part of Florida—known as the Panhandle—observe Central Standard Time (CST) and Central Daylight Time (CDT).What is 9 00 am CDT in CST? ›
|Central Daylight Time (CDT) to Central Standard Time (CST)|
|6 am CDT||is||6 am CST|
|7 am CDT||is||7 am CST|
|8 am CDT||is||8 am CST|
|9 am CDT||is||9 am CST|
The term Central Time (CT) is often used to denote the local time in areas observing either Central Standard Time (CST) or Central Daylight Time (CDT). In other words, in locations observing Daylight Saving Time (DST) during part of the year, Central Time is not static but switches between CST and CDT.Is CST an hour later than EST? ›
Central Time is 2 hours ahead of Pacific Time, 1 hour behind Eastern Time and New York, 6 hours behind UTC, and 7 hours behind Central European Time.What time is CST in Miami? ›
|Central Standard Time (CST) to Miami, Florida ( in Miami)|
|8 am CST||is||9 am in Miami|
|9 am CST||is||10 am in Miami|
|10 am CST||is||11 am in Miami|
|11 am CST||is||12 pm in Miami|
View the CDT to CST conversion below. Central Daylight Time is 1 hours ahead of Central Standard Time.What states are 1 hour behind New York? ›
Texas is 1 hour behind New York.Is California always 3 hours behind New York? ›
Time in California and New York.
|California||New York (+3h)|
|Tue 07:00AM||Tue 10:00AM|
|Tue 08:00AM||Tue 11:00AM|
|Tue 09:00AM||Tue 12:00PM|
|Tue 10:00AM||Tue 01:00PM|
With the 2019 Fall release of the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD), a new map of the nation's time zones is featured, showing the geographical boundaries of four time zones in the continental U.S. and the five additional time zones used in Alaska, Hawaii and other U.S. territories.How much behind is CST to est? ›
View the CST to EST conversion below. Central Standard Time is 1 hours behind Eastern Standard Time.Are CT and CST the same in time? ›
Currently observing CST – Central Standard Time. Currently has same time zone offset as CST (UTC -6) but different time zone name. The term Central Time (CT) is often used to denote the local time in areas observing either Central Standard Time (CST) or Central Daylight Time (CDT).What is CST and EST? ›
CST stands for Central Standard Time. EST is known as Eastern Standard Time. EST is 1 hours ahead of CST.
Las Vegas is in the Pacific Time Zone, 2 hours behind Central Time, and 3 hours behind the East Coast. Las Vegas does participate in daylight savings time.What is 9am CDT in CST? ›
10:00 pm CST. 11:00 pm CST it will be. 6:00 am GMT. 7:00 am GMT.