BEC Preview: “New Technologies in FM On-Channel Boosters”
Hal Kneller is VP Sales & Business Development of GeoBroadcast Solutions. This is one in a series of Q&As with industry professionals about their presentations at the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Radio World: You’ll be giving a presentation at the NAB Show called “New Technologies in FM On-Channel Boosters” (Sunday, April 12, 9:30 a.m., in the Broadcast Engineering Conference). Why should attendees come to hear this?
Hal Kneller: Anyone with an FM station who has coverage challenges within their protected contour may wish to attend. The coverage may be limited due to any one of several factors such as terrain, multipath, rim-shot, inability to locate the transmitter at the best site due to spacing, etc. Or it could be just another part of the coverage area away from the city of license which may suffer but offers great upside potential for listeners and revenue.
RW: What’s unique about the GeoBroadcast Solutions system that serves this niche?
Kneller: Considering the amount of R&D which GeoBroadcast has put into the system including focus group listening tests, it is far superior to most prior attempts at on-channel boosters particularly when there is less than 100% terrain isolation. GBS has learned how to mitigate interference between the main transmitter and the booster transmitters (called MaxxCasting nodes). Implementation is made easier by software which has been honed to predict (and control) interference. Another part of the success is based upon proprietary formulae for height, distance, ERP, location and antenna directivity.
RW: We’re told that you’ll discuss successful field installations done within the past year. Tell us briefly about one.
Kneller: We will discuss several, but one pair which has been operational since earlier this year is in Cumberland, Md. (WZDN and WQZK) which were briefly highlighted by Radio World. In this case, the customer had installed his own booster solution due to partial terrain blockage but was not happy with its performance due to self-interference. The GBS design solved that issue for them. And there are several other systems in various stages of implementation at this time in various types of terrain.
RW: Many readers know GeoBroadcast through its proposed ZoneCasting system. What is the status of that effort?
Kneller: At the present time GBS is working on a ZoneCasting deployment in a large Midwest market with a major broadcaster. At a meeting held at the FCC it was determined that some additional mobile measurements should be taken and data reported to both the commission and the NAB engineering committee. The test document proposal is currently in the hands of those individuals and assuming they are in agreement on our proposed criteria, this should move forward very shortly. This is unique in that the system design is a hybrid of MaxxCasting and ZoneCasting. Some of the nodes will remain on with the main transmitter in a full simulcast/synchronized mode enhancing signal while others will operate independently in a zone to provide localized content.
RW: Anything else engineers should know?
Kneller: We will discuss some of the fundamental concepts of why MaxxCasting is superior technology for boosters and demonstrate with the case studies.
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