American Electric Power Sponsors StarDate, Bringing Astronomy Lore to Millions

14 February 2001

American Electric Power Company (AEP) has made a grant to the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory to sponsor its StarDate radio program. By doing so, AEP becomes StarDate’s exclusive national sponsor for 2001.

American Electric Power is a multinational energy company based in Columbus, Ohio. AEP owns and operates more than 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity, making it one of America’s largest generators of electricity. The company is also a leading wholesale energy marketer and trader, ranking second in the U.S. in electricity volume. AEP provides retail electricity to more than 9 million customers worldwide and has more than $55 billion in assets, primarily in the U.S. with holdings in select international markets. Wholly owned subsidiaries are involved in power engineering and construction services, energy management and telecommunications.

According to Tom Shockley, vice chairman of AEP, "The McDonald Observatory is one of the leading astronomy education and research facilities in the world. On-going study in key disciplines such as astronomy is absolutely critical to our country maintaining its leadership worldwide in the fields of science and technology. AEP is extremely pleased to have this opportunity to partner with the University of Texas and the McDonald Observatory to bring StarDate to life in 2001 for millions of listeners across the country."

Now celebrating its twenty-second year on the air, StarDate is a daily two-minute radio program on astronomy heard on 215 radio stations across the United States, with some 5.7 million listeners each week. The program encompasses instructional materials used by hundreds of teachers with tens of thousands of students each year. StarDate’s Spanish-language sister program, Universo, is heard by more than 3.7 million people each week in markets that are home to 90 percent of the Latino population of the U.S.

Says McDonald Observatory Director Dr. Frank Bash, "This generous gift from American Electric Power helps advance several important goals for the observatory and the University of Texas at Austin. Specifically, it allows us to reach out to young people across the country and excite them about careers in science and technology."

For more information, contact
Joel Barna, Development Officer
Univ. of TX McDonald Observatory