CHICAGO, November 16, 2016 — GeoBroadcast Solutions (GBS) has been granted a patent for key innovations in itsMaxxCasting radio coverage optimization system. The new United States patent, number 9232481, protects GBS’ unique technology and methods that help radio broadcasters maximize their signal quality and coverage with their protected contours to increase advertising revenues and listener retention.
“GeoBroadcast Solutions has patented a technology that will revolutionize the FM radio business,” said John Bridge, owner of Chicago-based Windy City Broadcasting. “As a key investor and a strong believer in this important and timely technology, MaxxCasting will help station owners improve their signal coverage and quality, enhancing their bottom lines while returning ad revenues to the industry at large.”
While radio stations are permitted to broadcast signals throughout their legally-associated metropolitan or geographic area, impediments including natural terrain and man-made obstacles often create gaps in coverage where transmissions from the main antenna cannot be effectively received. In other cases, the sheer expansiveness of a station’s designated broadcast region, defined as a service contour, may prevent signals from the main transmitter from reaching potential listeners on the edges of the permitted area. Additionally, the station’s transmitter may reside considerably outside the desired principal city, adversely affecting listenability and failing to decode on Nielsen Portable People Meter (PPM) units that measure potential audience exposure.
Combining highly-accurate, predictive modeling with advanced radio and cellular technologies across multiple synchronized transmitter nodes, the MaxxCasting system improves broadcasters’ coverage-to-contour ratio and maximizessignal penetration within their markets. Unlike conventional booster approaches, which can exacerbate coverage and quality problems by creating interference with the main transmitter signal, MaxxCasting’s proprietary methods minimize or eliminate such interference. The enhanced coverage allows broadcasters to reach more PPM ratings measurement locations, increasing ad revenue potential while also attracting new advertisers in previously under-served areas.
“Our research has shown that across the United States as a whole, close to 20% of the population in the top 30 markets that FM broadcasters could legally reach are not actually receiving such signals,” said Bill Hieatt, Chief Technology Officer, GeoBroadcast Solutions. “That’s a huge, untapped audience for advertising that could contribute right to broadcasters’bottom line, but previous approaches have generally had limited success in solving the problems. The grant of this patent demonstrates and further validates the unique and innovative nature of our MaxxCasting solution, while our successful commercial deployments prove that it delivers on its promises. The patent also helps protect our customers’ investments in MaxxCasting, ensuring that the innovations and advantages we bring them can’t simply be copied by either their competitors or ours.”
At the heart of the MaxxCasting system are GBS’ proprietary predictive modeling formulas, which consider several coverage-affecting environmental factors. The predicted results, which have proven exceptionally accurate, enable the design, optimization and deployment of single-frequency networks (SFNs) – architectures in which transmissions from two or more locations share the same frequency, enabling seamless transparency for listeners – that fill in coverage gaps while minimizing interference and audible distortion.
Multiple, synchronized MaxxCasting nodes are deployed in the desired coverage areas with lower antenna radiation heights than the main transmitter, with the node signal level decreasing rapidly as a function of distance. This effectively reduces the geographic area where a node’s signal is close in power to the main transmission, decreasing interference.
As the time differential and RF signal power ratio between multiple signals reaching a receiver determine the amount of audio distortion heard by the listener, the MaxxCasting system topology optimizes both aspects. GBS techniques can analyze simulcast performance using up to one meter terrain and building resolutions, from an infinite number of arriving signals. Leveraging GBS’ years of field experience and the results of controlled listening tests such as those performed in conjunction with NPR Labs and Towson University, this analysis is then used to predict the listener experience and refinethe MaxxCasting configuration accordingly.
“Every dollar spent up front on modeling and prediction of MaxxCasting system performance can save our customers hundreds of dollars in the implementation and capital costs of trying to make everything perform well ‘in the field’ with other approaches,” said Hieatt. “That’s yet another financial benefit of MaxxCasting – we reduce the deployment and operational costs of the SFN system, all while enabling increased revenues.”
All nodes are synchronized with the main transmitter using GatesAir Intraplex® SynchroCast3 technology, with program content transported through Intraplex® IP Link 200 codecs. Once a MaxxCasting deployment is designed and operational for analog FM broadcasting, the same system can be seamlessly augmented to support the less-stringent design requirements of digital HD Radio. GatesAir is also the official transmitter supplier for MaxxCasting deployments.
In addition to its standalone benefits for improving radio coverage, MaxxCasting’s network topology and underlying technology are important components of GBS’ patented ZoneCasting solution – a technology that Bridge says will “target commercial content to specific neighborhoods across broadcast markets with amazing accuracy.” Pending FCC approval, ZoneCasting will enable broadcasters to geographically target over-the-air radio advertising by segmenting their main broadcast signal into defined zones, each capable of receiving discrete content as determined by the transmitting node on a minute-by-minute basis. The same powerful SFN simulcast optimization methodologies used in MaxxCasting system are used within each zone of a ZoneCasting deployment.
GBS received a patent for innovations within its ZoneCasting solution in 2014, and additional patents are pending for bothMaxxCasting and ZoneCasting.
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.