Two western Maryland FM stations overcome significant terrain challenges with proprietary, scientific MaxxCasting™ formula for market-wide signal penetration
CHICAGO, September 10, 2014 — GeoBroadcast Solutions announces that a MaxxCasting™ deployment for West Virginia Radio Corporation has significantly improved market-wide signal penetration for two FM stations in Cumberland, Maryland. MaxxCasting systems combine radio broadcast and mobile cellular technology to reduce interference between main transmitter and booster sites, enabling broadcasters to maximize network topology for the purpose of increasing coverage and revenue potential.
Located in western Maryland, the Cumberland market is home to West Virginia Radio stations WZDN-FM and WQZK-FM, with transmitters located well outside of city limits. Both stations have had considerable challenges with terrain shielding, particularly on major interstates running through the region.
“We deployed a traditional booster for WZDN many years ago that wasn’t able to minimize interference across all the locations we targeted, and in fact created significant issues on I-68. We also had virtually no direct coverage within the boundaries of Cumberland for WQZK,” said Chris Moran, director of technology, West Virginia Radio Corporation. “We also needed to improve coverage across the main corridors that run through Cumberland. MaxxCasting was the only solution where we could optimize coverage across these trouble spots while steering away interference. GBS’ predicted coverage increases in advance of the upgrade have proven to be remarkably accurate.”
The MaxxCasting formula is superior to traditional booster systems due to its proprietary modeling software and cutting-edge distribution architecture, featuring high-efficiency transmitters and intelligent IP networking solutions from GatesAir. The scientific formula considers the distance between transmission points, heights above average terrain, and time differentials between locations. GBS produces a detailed software modeling solution for each station based on these and other measurements, determining the areas of concern and specifying booster site locations – along with antenna heights and power ratios – to maximize signal penetration in the customer-defined target coverage areas. The GBS coverage analysis can be optimized by benchmarking coverage against population and ratings measurement data to further help the station target its key audience. The designs are then implemented and fine-tuned in the field.
West Virginia Radio is also benefiting from the simplicity of the MaxxCasting architecture, which is made possible through cost-effective IP signal distribution. Using GatesAir Intraplex® IP Link 200 codecs, the MaxxCasting network can drive two stations from a single system, with built-in real-time adaptive synchronization across booster sites courtesy of Intraplex SynchroCast® time precision delay technology. Low-power GatesAir Flexiva™ transmitters and Jampro JAVA log periodic antennas complete the distribution network.
“MaxxCasting made perfect sense for the Cumberland market based on the terrain,” said Moran. “We deployed highly directional antennas very low to the ground, which allowed us to really target areas we wanted to cover while minimizing interference from the boosters to areas that the main site reaches. It’s been a remarkable improvement. We’ve eliminated six miles of interference on a stretch of I-68 west of Cumberland for WZDN, and the WQZK signal now covers the downtown area. The minimal interference that does exist has been pushed to unpopulated areas thanks to GBS’ precise software modeling. The design and prediction mapping that GBS brings to the system, along with the cost-effective and compact IP and transmission technology from GatesAir to embed timing information makes MaxxCasting unique.”
According to Moran, response from the community has been “extremely positive,” adding that a major advertiser has shared that he can now hear the station clearly. “You can’t put a dollar figure on that kind of perception,” said Moran.
Hal Kneller, VP Global Sales and Business Development, GBS, adds that while the main purpose of MaxxCasting is to improve the listener’s signal, the benefits expand to the business side of over-the-air radio.
“MaxxCasting systems increase visibility with potential advertising clients and agencies by making sure they can tune in and hear the signal clearly from their in-market business locations,” said Kneller. “There is also a positive effect on ratings as audience sampling is extended to new areas. Meanwhile, GatesAir is helping us significantly lower the total cost of ownership for West Virginia Radio by driving two stations from a single IP Link 200, instead of requiring separate systems for each station. This all adds up to a high value proposition for West Virginia Radio and other MaxxCasting customers.”
About GeoBroadcast Solutions
GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC (GBS) offers proprietary products and solutions to enhance radio station coverage areas to maximize both coverage and revenue as well as the ability to zone both audio (pending FCC approval) and RBDS/RDS. With several additional patents pending, new techniques for Single Frequency Networks have been developed to improve coverage. GeoBroadcast Solutions’ charter is to innovate and bring to market technologies that help radio broadcasters maximize their signal and grow revenues. MaxxCasting will expand the coverage area of a FM signal. ZoneCasting, pending FCC approval, will provide technology to geographically target radio advertisements. These emerging technologies give broadcasters tools to compete in the face of innovations internet and cellular message distribution. GBS partners with GatesAir for transmission and IP distribution equipment, and with Jampro for antennas and combiners.
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