U.S. FM stations don’t have to wait for the FCC to act on the proposed “hyper-local” ZoneCasting concept in order to take advantage of some of its principles. That’s the message from suppliers Harris Broadcast and Geo-Broadcast Solutions, which are working together.
As Radio World has reported, the companies earlier put forth a proposed system that would use multiple boosters to give FM stations the ability to divide their coverage areas into zones and to “geo-target” their ads and programs. Harris has a deal with GBS to use that ZoneCasting software and hardware in its Flexiva transmitters and Intraplex SynchroCast systems.
Radio stations would have a natural interest in such targeting; but FCC approval would be required.
Meantime the suppliers are highlighting an approach they say can be deployed now. “The MaxxCasting solution uses a network topology similar to the ZoneCasting architecture for targeted, over-the-air radio broadcasting, but instead focuses on simulcasting content to improve coverage,” they stated. “It can be deployed today under existing regulations, expanding market coverage in a more sensible and effective way than traditional signal booster technologies.”
They quoted Peter Handy, CEO of GBS, saying, “We have discovered that adding boosters to simulcast across the typical ZoneCasting topology can help broadcasters improve coverage” and thus extend advertising opportunities. The companies believe their solution improves over existing booster approaches “by minimizing interference while filling in the gaps of a broadcaster’s market coverage — in many cases working in areas where conventional boosters were not successful.”
Their argument, in short, is that the boosters can be installed now to maximize signal coverage, and also serve as an upgrade path to ZoneCasting and targeted content applications later.
“Zonecasting” Concept to Be Tested (Nov. 2012)