Deal includes nearly 70 GatesAir Flexiva FM and AM radio transmitters
GatesAir has been awarded a contract from US radio broadcast group Cumulus Media. The deal aligns with Cumulus Media’s modernization initiative for its RF facilities network-wide, with nearly 70 GatesAir Flexiva™ FM and AM radio transmitters rolling out in multiple markets over the coming months.
One key aspiration of Cumulus’ initiative was a reduction in operational expense and energy use in its RF plants, with an emphasis on long-term sustainability. GatesAir’s transmitters will in many cases replace aging tube models.
“Tubes are becoming harder to find and more expensive”
“We expect to see a sizeable reduction in power costs due to lower cooling requirements, based on our heat-output analysis comparing our existing systems with the more efficient Flexiva design,” explains Conrad Trautmann, senior vice president of technology and operations. “Tubes are also becoming harder to find and more expensive, so by investing in more modern technologies and RF innovations we are saving long-term expenses while improving our signal quality and reliability of service. Overall, this deal emphasizes our commitment to the future of over-the-air radio.”
The deal includes GatesAir Flexiva air-cooled systems for the majority of the FM stations, with a Flexiva FLX liquid-cooled transmitter ordered for WEBE(FM) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Bridgeport site is one of several locations that will see a complete replacement of RF systems, including a modernized building to house all transmission, auxiliary and cooling systems. All FM transmitters will be outfitted with the HD Radio-capable GatesAir exciters. The deal also includes new AM transmitters for select locations with very old transmitters, where Trautmann anticipates a reduction in AM noise and a more efficient RF chain.
“Our team came away with the impression that GatesAir has a very strong commitment to the broadcast business as well as manufacturing quality,” claims Trautmann. “This is based on the insight we had into their production processes, and the fact that they build many of their components in-house as opposed to outsourcing those jobs. That commitment extends to their service and support. As a broadcast engineer of more than 35 years, I’ve seen that GatesAir has always been strong in supporting their products long-term, as opposed to forcing end-of-life initiatives on broadcasters. Their main focus is about keeping their customers on the air.”
The first sites are expected to roll out this spring, including several stations in the Bloomington, Indiana and Fort Walton Beach, Florida markets.
“We share Cumulus Media’s commitment to and enthusiasm for the future of radio, as demonstrated through out continued innovation and investment in technology,” has said Joseph Mack, vice president of sales, Americas, GatesAir. “With all products made in the USA, we anticipate a timely rollout that will help Cumulus accelerate their plan to upgrade facilities, improve quality of service, significantly boost efficiency, and reduce their long-term costs.”