Cumulus Goes With GatesAir For RF Modernization Plan


A broad-based modernization initiative for Cumulus Media’s RF facilities network-wide has resulted in the finalization of a “significant contract” with GatesAir.

The newly codified arrangement calls for close to 70 GatesAir Flexiva AM and FM radio transmitters rolling out in multiple markets in 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 noted in an announcement released Monday (3/27). “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.”

Conrad Trautmann, SVP/Technology and Operations at Cumulus, commented, “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 Flexiva design. 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 a Flexiva FLX liquid-cooled transmitter for WEBE-FM 107.9 in Bridgeport, Conn. 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 HD Radio-capable GatesAir exciters.

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.

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 GatesAir VP/Sales, Americas Joseph Mack. “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.”

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