Interviews

Through The IP Gates

Darren Frearson, VP, sales, EMEA and APAC, GatesAir tells Pradeep Suvarna that broadcasters who transition to IP networks for signal transport will see significant costs reductions

IP is making waves, not just in television broadcasting but also amongst radio broadcasters. Radio stations are continually seeking intelligent IP networking and synchronisation solutions that will allow them to reduce co-channel interference.
At the same time, they want these solutions to be energy efficient, so that it saves them costs, and be environment friendly, so that it projects the right image about their brand. These are some of trends that, according to Darren Frearson, VP, sales, EMEA and APAC, GatesAir, will gain ground this year.

What are some key technologies and trends to look out for in 2018, especially in the radio station domain?

There is significant interest in the evolution of more efficient digital modulation for FM transmission, which will give broadcasters a far more stable and reliable signal that is simply more enjoyable for the listener. Given the rollout of new FM licenses in India across low and higher power stations, the opportunity to embrace these enhanced digital modulations could not be timelier.

We also see significant opportunities to transition broadcasters to IP networks for signal transport, which will reduce costs and extend the possibilities of audio contribution and distribution between multiple points versus a TDM infrastructure.
We at GatesAir offer a complete range of transmitters with robust digital modulation to support the needs of these broadcasters throughout the nation, at once delivering the industry’s highest performance and efficiency; as well as a quickly evolving family of intelligent IP networking solutions via our Intraplex line.
In the radio industry, there is a lot of interest amongst radio broadcasters to find solutions that will allow them to be on the same frequency to greatly reduce co-channel interference.
FM broadcasting has for many years been challenged with co-channel and adjacent signal interference. For the latter, the integration of signal correction technology within the transmission chain goes a long way in reducing artifacts from adjacent channels, culminating in a cleaner, clearer signal for listeners.

Are there solutions that can help them improve operational efficiency and also become more productive?
GatesAir first broke ground in this area with our real-time adaptive correction software (RTAC) that is built into our exciters. This is also an excellent example of how GatesAir’s innovations for TV extend to our radio solutions, as RTAC was initially developed for reducing adjacent interference in television.

How can broadcasters choose the right vendors to partner with?
When it comes to co-channel (and even adjacent) channel interference, we recommend that broadcasters always work with vendors that can provide insight and support into the entire RF chain, especially on shared transmission sites. Designing the proper combining and single-antenna solutions is key for the reduction of FM co-channel interference. However, the transition to digital radio mediums like HD radio and DAB will remove the co-channel challenges of the analog world while improving coverage – particularly with DAB, since it leverages its own spectrum rather than on-channel digital.

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