Chattanooga, TN – On May 19, 1998 a geosynchronous satellite named Galaxy IV suffered a catastrophic technical failure, which made it impossible to aim its antenna at North America. The result? Ninety percent of pagers in the United States were rendered useless along with ATM machines, self-pay gas pumps and signals from broadcasters around the world, including National Public Radio. Most of us had no idea that so much information could be dependant on one satellite. NPR was able to redirect its signal through another satellite by the next day, but not without learning a valuable lesson: they needed more than one connection with their member stations.
Now, more than four years later, NPR has three satellites that carry their programming. To keep up with these advances, we at WUTC will completely overhaul our satellite system over the next two years. The first step will be to install our new satellite dish. The new dish will enable us to quickly aim our dish at another satellite should the one we are broadcasting from fail. We will then replace our satellite demodulators and all other equipment related to satellite reception. Funding for the new satellite system was made possible by the generosity of our members and by a gift from National Public Radio.
These technical descriptions can be dull and, chances are, you may not be able to tell when the new equipment is installed, but this is really a giant step in ensuring that NPR news and all the syndicated programming you have come to love will always be on the air, regardless of temperamental satellites 22,000 miles away. We at WUTC know that we can always make the station better and taking steps such as these brings us even closer to being a truly world class radio station.