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Cumulus Media Updates Radio Transmission Systems with GatesAir

Deal includes nearly 70 Flexiva FM and AM radio transmitters, with an emphasis on improving energy efficiency and reliability while reducing operational expense

CINCINNATI, March 27, 2017—GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, has been awarded a significant contract from leading US radio broadcast group Cumulus Media. The deal aligns with Cumulus Media’s broader modernization initiativefor its RF facilities network-wide, withnearly 70GatesAir Flexiva™ FM and AM radio transmitters rolling outinmultiple markets over the coming months. 

One key aspiration of Cumulus’ initiative was a reduction in operational expense and energy use in its RF plants, with an emphasis on long-term sustainability. GatesAir’s high-efficiency, solid-state transmitters will in many cases replace aging tube models, which will provide an immediate impact on reducing maintenance and cooling costs.

“We expect to see a sizeable 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 Conrad Trautmann, senior vice president of technology and operations. “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. Overall, this deal emphasizes our commitment to the future of over-the-air radio.”

The deal includes GatesAir Flexiva air-cooled systems for the majority of the FM stations, with a Flexiva FLX liquid-cooled transmitter ordered for WEBE(FM) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Bridgeport site is one of several locations that will see a complete replacement of RF systems, including a modernized building to house all transmission, auxiliary and cooling systems. All FM transmitters will be outfitted with the HD Radio-capable GatesAir exciters to enable simple in-field transitions should any station add HD Radio services in the future.The deal also includes new AM transmitters for select locations with very old transmitters, where Trautmann anticipates a reduction in AM noise and a more efficient RF chain. 

Trautmann notes that several Cumulus Media executives evaluated GatesAir and other transmitter companies before making a decision, investigating each supplier’s manufacturing center. 

“Our team came away with the impression that GatesAir has a very strong commitment to the broadcast business as well as manufacturing quality,” said Trautmann. “This is based on the insight we had into their production processes, and the fact that they build many of their components in-house as opposed to outsourcing those jobs. That commitment extends to their service and support. As a broadcast engineer of more than 35 years, I’ve seen that GatesAir has always been strong in supporting their products long-term, as opposed to forcing end-of-life initiatives on broadcasters. Their main focus is about keeping their customers on the air.”

The first sites are expected to roll out this spring, including several stations in the Bloomington, Indiana and Fort Walton Beach, Florida markets. 

“We share Cumulus Media’s commitment to and enthusiasm for the future of radio, as demonstrated through out continued innovation and investment in technology,” said Joseph Mack, vice president of sales, Americas, GatesAir. “With all products made in the USA, 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.”

About GatesAir

GatesAir, Inc. provides complete solutions for over-the-air radio and television broadcasting, leveraging wireless spectrum to maximize performance for multichannel, mission-critical services. Powering over-the-air networks worldwide with unparalleled reliability for nearly 100 years, GatesAir’s turnkey solutions enable broadcasters to create, transport and transmit radio and TV content. With customers in more than 185 countries, the company leads the industry in innovation and design breakthroughs, improving efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership. Visit www.gatesair.comfor more information, Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter at @GatesAir.