A Case For MaxxCasting, In The Windy City


Until recently, a 3,500-watt Class A facility with a broadcast tower in the city of Oak Brook, Ill., could barely penetrate the Loop and much of the city of Chicago.

Despite the efforts of Richard Jakle to attract progressive rock listeners in the 1970s, lure Adult Standards lovers throughout the 1980s, and cruise across the 1990s with satellite-delivered Adult Contemporary programming, Educational Media Foundation reached a Time Brokerage Agreement in March 2011 for the facility.

Today, EMF owns the station, which carries the WAWE-FM call letters. And, for the first time ever, it fully reaches Chicago’s most populous zones. Thank GeoBroadcast Solutions for making it happen.


Until July 2019, WAWE-FM carried the WJKL-FM call sign. And, it was largely associated with the western suburbs of Chicago.

Seeking to build its potential audience as an Air 1 network member, Educational Media Foundation worked with GeoBroadcast Solutions on the deployment of its MaxxCasting system.

It appears to be successful, as WAWE-2 with 99 watts is in place at a structure just off the Kennedy Expressway on W. Monroe Street, just west of the Willis Tower; and WAWE-3 with 99 watts is operational at a standalone structure on W. Taylor Street, near Douglas Park. Then, there is 250-watt WAWE-1 in Elmwood Park, Ill., halfway between the Loop and O’Hare International Airport.

According to GBS, its engineers strategically implemented through a four-node network using the MaxxCasting system. The coverage now reaches the University of Chicago, Rush Medical Center, and the historic Pilsen community.

“WAWE’s biggest challenge has been the areas where its signal wasn’t covering well, particularly between the Loop and O’Hare” said Shane Toven, Senior Broadcast Engineer at Educational Media Foundation. “After some successful tests, we worked with GBS to launch a similar system in Boston at our station WKVB, including HD Radio subcarriers. After licensing that system, GBS helped us finish up the WAWE nodes to significantly improve our coverage in the Chicago market and reach deeper into the community. We are quite pleased with the outcome and the feedback has been positive.”

Vern Egli, director of infrastructure deployment at GeoBroadcast Solutions, added, “The convergence at the expressway interchange notoriously has had poor reception, due to the concentration of broadcast signals emanating from Chicago’s large towers and the amount of daily automotive traffic,” said  “Our solution for WAWE opens the door to other stations that want to improve their signals and increase their listeners through the existing MaxxCasting facilities.

With the MaxxCasting nodes in place, the system can now be used to diplex similarly located stations interested in improving signal coverage in the community, GBS notes.

All equipment for Maxxcasting is provided by Doug Tharp at SCMS, the exclusive U.S. distributors for GatesAir/PR&E studio systems and transmitters.

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