As fall weather arrives, we are heading into a “sun outage” period, with outages predicted during the second week in October. A sun outage is a phenomenon that affects geostationary satellite systems in the spring and fall, when the sun's apparent path in the sky is moving higher or lower. As the sun's arc changes, there will come a time when it is temporarily aligned with the satellite at which our receive dish is aimed. The sun produces so much radio energy that the signal from the satellite becomes obscured by noise during this alignment. These alignments will occur over a period of several days, and each outage will last for up to 5 minutes.
Some programming on Newstalk 930 KROE will be affected by sun outages, as the syndicated talk shows on this station are received via satellite. Because our weekday schedule includes a mix of live and delayed programs, the weekday outages will affect three different shows.
The first is the Michael Medved show, which will have an outage during the third hour (approximately 3:15pm – 3:20pm). Because this program is carried live, we will cover the outage with other programming until the satellite signal is reacquired.
The third hour of the Sean Hannity show and the Dr. Laura show will also have outages. Because these programs are delayed, we will simply remove the missing portion of the program prior to air time, although you may still notice some brief digital artifacts in the audio near the outage.
Finally, although it will be near the end of the sun outage period, it is possible that the Sunday edition of the Clark Howard show might contain an outage as well. This program is also delayed so we will remove the missing portion of the program just as with the Sean Hannity and Dr. Laura shows.
In all of these cases, we will attempt to deal with the outage in the least intrusive manner possible. By the third week of October, the sun's arc will be low enough that it will no longer pass behind the satellite and the fall sun outage period will be over. The next outage period will then be in late February / early March 2010.