CHICAGO, November 9, 2016 — GeoBroadcast Solutions announces the first of several new MaxxCasting deployments designed to significantly improve market-wide signal penetration. The first of these systems, serving “Boston’s Independent Radio” station WXRV(FM), launched earlier this month, and is delivering stronger and broader signal coverage to the approximately 4.5 million living in the metro area. This includes the nearly 1.5 million population of adjacent Middlesex County, where interference and weak signal is most common due to rolling hills and other conditions that deteriorate signal performance.
Patented MaxxCasting systems use GBS’ unique predictive modeling software to maximize network topology, enabling broadcasters to increase coverage and revenue potential by reaching more Portable People Meters (PPMs) and attracting new advertisers. MaxxCasting combines radio broadcast and mobile cellular technology to reduce or eliminate interference between main transmitter and MaxxCasting nodes.
In the case of WXRV, the single-frequency network (SFN) architecture includes four low-power transmission sites strategically positioned in areas of the market prone to interference and/or weak signal coverage. These “nodes,” which are on the same frequency as the main transmitter, are located in Lexington, Waltham, and Natick on the outskirts of Boston,and on top of the John Hancock building in downtown Boston. A fifth site will soon be added in the Charlestown neighborhood within Boston city limits.
Each node incorporates intelligent IP networking technology from GatesAir to transport and synchronize live program content across all transmitters, which ultimately contributes to a seamless transition from node to node as mobile audiences move through the market. Additionally, the MaxxCasting deployment strengthens building penetration in congested areas of the market, including downtown Boston.
WXRV General Manager Donald St. Sauveur, who recently joined representatives from GBS, GatesAir, American Tower Corp. and regional broadcasters on a successful listening test in the region, shared that transitions between nodes were noticeable only when looking at his car radio’s RDS display. That display temporarily indicated individual node reception. It ultimately will show the same artist/title information as the main station.
“The experience of listening to the main transmitter as it transitions to the various nodes is seamless and undetectable to the general audience,” said St. Sauveur. “WXRV’s signal has improved substantially in areas that had been previously impaired for a variety of reasons. For example, the station’s signal downtown and south of Boston coming off the Hancock Tower sounds robust, without interference and static. The benefits for greater coverage, larger audience share and future business opportunities with advertisers are obvious.”
In addition to vastly improving coverage-to-contour ratio, MaxxCasting systems eliminate self-interference and signal degradation problems common with legacy booster systems—a problem that WXRV also experienced with a previous booster installation. To outperform legacy systems, GBS uses highly accurate modeling software and proprietary formulas to measure a variety of environmental factors that affect coverage, including:
- Height above average terrain of each node
- Distance between each node, and the time differentials between each transmitter output
- Power ratio between each node
- Antenna patterns and interference areas
These calculations are used to predict coverage improvements, and customize settings that at once improve market penetration and eliminate interference between the nodes. All nodes are synchronized with the main transmitter using GatesAir Intraplex® SynchroCast3 technology. The SynchroCast® technology is incorporated within Intraplex® IP Link 200 codecs, which transmit the program content from the studio to each node and the main transmitter site. Unique antenna pattern designs by Shively Labs are key to controlling the extent of each node’s coverage, and mitigation of self-interference.
“The coverage-to-contour ratio is the key ingredient to our success,” said Hal Kneller, VP Business Development, GeoBroadcast Solutions. “If a station is only covering 700,000 people inside a contour with one million potential listeners, they are not maximizing the legal coverage they are afforded by the FCC. The ultimate goal is to reach more listeners, help them light up more PPMs to enhance ratings, and attract new advertisers.”
It is estimated that on average in the top 30 markets, 18% of the population is not covered within the stations’ protected contours. This creates a huge opportunity for MaxxCasting to help improve a station’s bottom line. With tens of thousands of sites available through American Tower Corp, a MaxxCasting vendor—and by diplexing multiple stations at a site—tremendous flexibility and efficiency of implementation is assured.
“It was very reassuring to see the real world node coverage and transition zone performance almost perfectly duplicate the GBS predictions,” said Jim Stenberg, RF engineer, American Tower Corp. “The seamless transitions from one nodes coverage, back to the main signal and then to another node were proof that they really can expand coverage without degrading the primary signal in any way. It is now a new world for expanding FM station coverage within their contours.”
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 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, Shively for antennas and combiners, and American Tower Corp for site infrastructure.