For immediate release
December 16, 1999
NPR Secures Agreement With PanAmSat To Meet Public Radio's Satellite Needs Into The New Millennium
[Washington, DC] -- National Public RadioŽ (NPRŽ) has reached a new, ten-year agreement with its long-standing satellite provider PanAmSat Corporation, which will enhance the availability of public radio across the United States into the new millennium. NPR operates the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS), which interconnects public radio stations, producers and distributors throughout America. Through an initiative facilitated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the U.S. Congress passed a supplemental appropriation in May 1999 for the purpose of securing new satellite services for public radio.
On behalf of the PRSS, NPR will lease three C-band transponders on PanAmSat's Galaxy IVR satellite, which is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2000, with an option to acquire Ku-band capacity on an as-needed basis.
"By operating the PRSS, NPR ensures that public radio stations across America, even those in remote communities, can provide listeners with the finest public radio programming," said Pete Loewenstein, Vice President, NPR Distribution. "Because the Galaxy IVR satellite will occupy the same orbital position as public radio's current satellite, the transition will be seamless for stations and listeners. This new agreement will provide sufficient capacity for expansion of present services as well as the flexibility to adopt new technologies for future needs."
Public radio's service will remain on the Galaxy VI satellite (at 99 degrees W.L.) until the first quarter of 2000, when an interim transition will be made to the Galaxy XI satellite (to be placed in the same orbital position) after it is launched. Public radio's final transition to Galaxy IVR will occur following its launch, in the first half of 2000. Galaxy IVR is a high-power, Hughes-built HS601HP model satellite with 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders -- its footprint will cover the contiguous United States, as well as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
NPR's agreement with PanAmSat contains substantially improved backup for public radio's transmission capacity in the event of future satellite or transponder failure. Public radio's transponders will have back-up protection from the PanAmSat fleet's spare satellite, and further back-up protection options on Galaxy IX and Galaxy IIIR.
"We are honored to continue providing NPR with Galaxy satellite services into the next decade," said Ann E. Mountain, PanAmSat's Senior Vice President, Galaxy Sales. "Public radio is a vital community resource for listeners nationwide, and we look forward to providing next-generation satellite services on our new Galaxy IVR satellite."
PanAmSat is the world's leading commercial provider of satellite-based communications services. The company operates a global network of 19 satellites supported by PanAmSat professionals on five continents. These resources enable PanAmSat to provide video and telecommunications services to hundreds of customers worldwide. PanAmSat plans to launch seven additional satellites by mid-2001. For more information on the company and its services, visit the PanAmSat Web site at www.panamsat.com.
The PRSS, which was the first national radio system to utilize satellite technology, has been managed by NPR since its inception in 1979. It is the programming pipeline for more than 700 public radio stations throughout the U.S. and more than 200 program producers and distributors.
NPR, available online at www.npr.org, is renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming. NPR offers award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation and NPR's Performance Today to a growing audience of 14 million Americans each week via 620 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR WorldwideSM, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable.