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Cumulus Orders GatesAir Transmitters

Large transmitter order emphasizes commitment to OTA radio, Trautmann says

Cumulus Media has chosen GatesAir to supply about 70 GatesAir Flexiva FM and AM radio transmitters for stations in multiple markets. According to the release, this order is part of the broadcaster’s larger-scale efforts to modernize its RF facilities.

“This deal emphasizes our commitment to the future of over-the-air radio,” Cumulus Media Senior Vice President of Technology and Operations Conrad Trautmann said in an announcement of the order.

In many cases, the GatesAir transmitters will replace aging tube models, which will help with Cumulus’ goal of reducing operational expense and energy use in its RF plants as part of the broadcaster’s sustainability efforts.

The order includes air-cooled systems for the majority of the FM stations. However, a Flexiva FLX liquid-cooled transmitter was ordered for WEBE(FM) because the Bridgeport, Conn., site is one of several where Cumulus plans to replace its RF systems, including a modernized building.

“We expect to see a sizable 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,” said Trautmann. “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.”

Additionally, the FM transmitters will have HD Radio-capable GatesAir exciters in case any station chooses to add HD Radio — another nod to the future.

The order also includes new transmitters for sites with aging AM transmitters, and Trautmann expects these AMs will see a reduction in noise and a more efficient RF chain, according to the release.

“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,” GatesAir VP of Sales for the Americas Joseph Mack said, citing the manufacturer’s U.S. location as a benefit. The first updated sites are expected to go live in the next few months.