When a station is off the air, oftentimes engineers work across company lines to help each other out. Cumulus and GAP Broadcasting believe they have found a way to make that help official and save money at the same time.
The companies are sharing engineering resources in four markets, RW has learned. If successful, the deal may extend beyond those areas, engineering representatives from both companies tell me.
Cumulus VP of Engineering & IT Gary Kline and GAP Broadcasting VP of Engineering Norm Philips had been discussing such an arrangement and they made it happen as of June 1 in three Texas markets — Amarillo, Midland-Odessa and Abilene — as well as Shreveport, La.
"Once we found a way to make it happen without many additional hours on the engineers we worked out the plan. There is cost savings for both companies without losing services," said Philips, who says the affected GAP engineers are getting a bonus for the work. They're not being asked to work more hours, although that may happen from time to time, he notes.
The way it works: There are set days that the engineers are scheduled to work for each company, however that is flexible depending on need. In fact, Norm said the Cumulus engineer in Shreveport was having a transmitter issue one day this week at a Cumulus site. It was a "GAP" day but that engineer worked on the Cumulus transmitter.
"I talked him through a couple things to look at and offered to meet him at the site later if needed, since I [was] driving to Shreveport anyway," said Philips. "We had a similar off-air issue the first week of the agreement in Abilene and the Cumulus engineer was working on a GAP transmitter on a Cumulus day."
They say the arrangement has worked well so far and both companies keep the lines of communication open.
If your company has something similar, please share that with me at: Lstimson@nbmedia.com.