At GatesAir, employees are “psyched” about both their company’s name change and business direction.
So says Rich Redmond, chief product officer of the company, which until this week was known as Harris Broadcast. Now its owner, The Gores Group, has split Harris Broadcast into two businesses.
Redmond, who reports directly to CEO Charlie Vogt, told Radio World that GatesAir will be the point of contact for most of what radio station managers would want from the old Harris Broadcast, though there will be some overlap. “Over time, the companies will become more independent under the Gores umbrella,” he said.
The new Imagine Communications is described as a provider of media software and networking solutions, with a “commitment to IP and cloud-based, software-defined networks and workflows.” Harris Broadcast adopted that name from a digital video company it acquired only recently. At that time it emphasized Imagine’s capabilities in “over the top,” mobile video and multi-screen TV Everywhere platforms.
The new GatesAir meanwhile will focus on “solutions for over-the-air radio and television broadcasting, leveraging wireless spectrum to maximize performance for multichannel, mission-critical services,” according to a business summary. Redmond boiled this down further to mean products that help customers “create, transport and transmit” their content.
The Gates Radio Company is a linear predecessor, and the Gates name was a familiar one throughout the industry at one time. Redmond said the name is a nod to “a great legacy of innovation and contribution to the broadcast industry.” He said he’d already heard from some customers who “wanted to make sure that their new transmitter was going to ship with the new logo.”
Main facilities are in Cincinnati and Quincy, Ill., with other smaller offices; Redmond estimated that the GatesAir business employs around 300 people.
Charlie Vogt is CEO of both new companies.
The two entities will have separate booths at the upcoming NAB Show. Asked by RW if the separation of businesses and booths might be a prelude to Gores selling GatesAir, Redmond said it’s not likely.
“I think you’d be more likely to find us to be buyers than sellers,” he said. “Gores and our management team are both bullish on our opportunities. Charlie’s been clear that it’s absolutely not the plan to create a spinoff but to create two technologies on two different parts of the technology spectrum.”
Redmond said the latest developments are a welcome step in a “transformation” of Harris Broadcast. Although the manufacturer considers itself the world’s largest provider of radio transmitters and among the biggest providers of TV transmission, it nevertheless had been a relatively small part of prior owner Harris Corp., a company with an emphasis on defense contracts. “You’re going to see us be a lot more nimble, focused, approachable,” he said.
He said the company’s opportunities are strong, and he described the global RF market as healthier than many observers in the United States might realize.