Why the July 9 Broadcast Wasn't Aired

From: Sandy Dueck 2nd account <sandy@quest.arc.nasa.gov>
Subject: Why the July 9 Broadcast Wasn't Aired
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 09:22:07 -0700 (PDT)

>Dear discuss-lfm:
>Passport to Knowledge would like to provide you with the following
>information to clarify why the July 9 broadcast wasn't aired on NASA-TV as
>originally planned.
>LFM 3B was indeed scheduled to be carried by NASA-TV live at time of air,
>14-16:00 Eastern, July 9. The first hour was not, but apparently the
>second hour was. According to NASA-TV, this was due to local problems at
>NASA Goddard. NASA HQ is concerned about the inconvenience this may have
>caused many of you and intends to reschedule full two-hour carriage of
>both LFM 3A and 3B (e.g. all four hours of TV) after completion of this
>current shuttle mission. The coordinates were correctly conveyed to NTV,
>shared with GSFC, LFM was in the printed and online schedule, but still --
>the program did not make it to NTV's transponder.
>HOWEVER, all informational material for LFM's summer programs, both print,
>online and direct mailing to science museums noted that NTV was subject to
>preemption for shuttle or Pathfinder emergencies (though this is not what
>happened) and provided an alternate transponder on the same satellite,
>GE-2, channel 21, purchased by PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE and the American
>Museum of Natural History, New York, where carriage was 100% guaranteed,
>and where the program was available in its entirety just as planned. 
>We chose this satellite to make the change of transponder, if required, as
>simple as possible. We hope many of you noted this information, and
>changed to GE-2, Ch 21, when you saw we were not on NTV.
>We understand, and regret, that this must be a little confusing to those
>whose only experience of TV is commercial broadcasting, where all you have
>to do is tune to a local channel and "there it is." The upside of direct
>satellite transmission is the kind of late-breaking coverage of a news
>story like Pathfinder, and the ability of a project like LFM to provide
>interaction with newsmakers like Donna Shirley, Matt Golombek, Rob Manning
>and the others, as well as companion e-mail and Web resources. The
>downsize is that viewers have to be more active, and even proactive. We
>hope most of you find the benefits outweigh the occassional problems.
>We've been working hard to secure wider PBS carriage as well as NTV, but
>though we've gotten up to some 200 of 350 PBS stations for some past and
>present PTK projects, not all stations consider live programming viable in
>their local markets. If you disagree, contact your local program manager
>with your comments. FYI, in Columbus, Ohio, Sunday's program was #1 in its
>last 1/4 hour rating period on WBNS, the CBS commercial station which
>supported the COSI uplink. So clearly Mars and this kind of interactive
>formatting can sometimes be both cutting-edge and widely popular.
>FYI, both programs also had intermittent "hits," which in TV means
>temporary video and audio dropouts (less than one second in length). This
>was caused by a combination of severe storms in the New York area and
>planes landing at La Guardia and JFK. That's another inevitable problem
>with direct satellite uplinks and downlinks! Sometimes weather on Earth
>can impact interplanetary weather reports from Mars.
>In any event, we on the production team are pretty tired, but are overall
>very pleased with the results of all our efforts. It was a privilege to be
>out at JPL for this historic week, and to be able to share some unique
>aspects of it with you by live TV and the Net. We're also very pleased
>that NASA's Classroom of the Future and our partners at NASA Ames (Quest,
>Learning Teachnologies Project) were able to provide the alternate of Real
>Audio and Real Video, and/or CU-SeeMe on the net. We hope to do that more
>and still better with current and emerging technologies for any and all
>future PTK projects, to maximize access. We'd be happy to hear other
>"horror" or "success" stories to guide our future plans.
>Onwards and Upwards... to Yogi, Couch, Twin Peaks (OK, too far for
>Sojourner!), and beyond!!!
>Geoff Haines-Stiles & Erna Akuginow and the LFM team