Cumulus Goes With GatesAir For Transmitter Need


Fresh out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the nation’s No. 2 radio broadcasting company has opened up its checkbook and given a call to one of the nation’s leading transmitter makers.

It’s the second sizable order from Cumulus Media for the GatesAir Flexiva FAX air-cooled radio transmitter in the past 12 months, and continues Cumulus’ mission to replace its aging, tube-based transmitters.

The new order covers 35 GatesAir Flexiva FAX transmitters and marks the second phase of a long-term FM transmitter upgrade plan by Cumulus, deployed 70 Flexiva transmitters during 2017. Yancy T. McNair, VP/Engineering for Cumulus Media, spoke highly of the transmitters, noting that daily operations have greatly benefited from the modular design of the Flexiva.

Cumulus Media expects to see a sizeable reduction in power costs resulting from some of its first wave of Flexiva transmitters — a benefit McNair expects to carry over with the phase two rollouts, which largely comprise high-power transmitters in the 10-to-40kW power range.

McNair largely attributes the expected operational cost savings to be gained as a result of the more efficient operation and lower cooling requirements of solid-state transmitters.

While the majority of the sites are general transmitter replacement projects, a few sites standout.

In Youngstown, Ohio, the Flexiva transmitter design for WLLF-FM will specifically address climate control to address problematic heating and cooling imbalances inside in the building.

In Atlanta, GatesAir is an integral player in a new auxiliary facility buildout for WKHX-FM, WNNX-FM & WWWQ-FM “Q100” — all of which are effected by the TV spectrum repack.

The facility will ensure all three stations remain on the air and uninterrupted by work taking place inside the main facility and outside on the tower as TV operations relocate to new UHF channel assignments. Most transmitters have also been outfitted with HD Radio-ready GatesAir exciters to enable simple in-field transitions as stations add digital services in the future.

GatesAir VP/Sales for the Americas Joseph Mack said, “We’re delighted that Cumulus Media has decided to acquire and install a second phase of 35 Flexiva FM transmitters, largely based upon their positive experience with the first 70 transmitters deployed last year. It’s gratifying to see that Cumulus Media has already realized significant cost reductions due to our Flexiva’s high energy efficiency, and its modular design, which is simplifying maintenance while further reducing long-term operating costs. We are fully confident that these returns will multiply following the phase two rollouts.”

Want more stories like this? Receive our free Weekly Tech Roundup via email every Tuesday at 8am Pacific/11am Eastern. 

Click here to not miss an issue!