The over-the-air antenna and RF systems pioneer looks forward to a busy transitional period in TV and FM radio with new innovations across products and processes
RAYMOND, Maine – January 31, 2017 – Dielectric, a pioneer in purpose-engineered antennas and RF systems for TV and radio broadcasters, this year celebrates its 75th anniversary as the company prepares for brisk business associated with the US TV spectrum repack; and continued global investment in FM radio infrastructure.
Based in Raymond, Maine in the Sebago Lake region just north of the City of Portland, Dielectric helped pioneer the broadcast age in 1942. Long regarded as the de facto leader in high-power antenna systems, more recent innovations in RF filtering and low-power TV and FM antennas have helped to sustain and grow Dielectric’s global business, especially in North America, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific.
The company’s recent growth has taken shape just at the right time, as the industry inches closer to a multi-year transition that will take US TV stations first through the impending spectrum repack; and later through migration to ATSC 3.0. Dielectric recently introduced several new TV products, including its WB broadband UHF Antenna and tunable filters for the repack, and plans to unveil new systems for ATSC 3.0 preparation prior to the 2017 NAB Show in April.
Dielectric’s experience with the last major over-the-air TV transition in the US also lends the company an edge heading into the spectrum repack. The company successfully transitioned 1300 broadcasters to DTV beginning in 1994 when the first DTV antenna was installed.
“With the original DTV transition in the US, the floodgates opened shortly after we moved what was formerly the RCA antenna business from New Jersey to Maine in 1994. We shipped about 350 antennas a year at our peak,” said John Schadler, Vice President of engineering, Dielectric. “With the same core group of engineers and support staff on hand, we are well prepared to help our customers through this next period of transition.”
Schadler emphasizes that Dielectric is prepared to do it “smarter” this time around by leveraging advanced software simulations and automation tools to collect design information.
“We are relying more on these software simulations instead of physically building models and manually taking data,” he said. “On the drafting side, we are using automated, parametric software to generate information faster, more accurately, and more efficiently. These tools will also help us more quickly accommodate systems for international TV and global FM radio customers, even as we keep pace with repack needs.”
Dielectric Vice President and General Manager Keith Pelletier notes that the company’s recent product designs have been focused on staying ahead of customer needs.
“Certain things about repack can be anticipated ahead of time, and we have put strong initiatives into place to design and manufacture broadband antennas, band tunable filters and digiTLine that can be quickly deployed for new TV channel assignments,” said Pelletier. “And looking forward, we are incorporating technology into our latest antenna designs that will address the higher data rate services, increased signal strength and single-frequency network architectures that will become common with the ATSC 3.0 standard.”
With 2017 representing its 75th anniversary, Dielectric is now planning a series of events throughout the year to commemorate the milestone, including local sponsorships, an NAB customer event and an Employee Appreciation Day. The anniversary and its associated events are especially meaningful for a company that almost faded to black due to a changing industry and a challenging business environment, but survived through sheer will, a supportive new owner, and an unwavering dedication to innovation for the broadcast industry.
“I started at Dielectric in 1994 in the grinding room, which was the lowest entry-level position possible – and was provided the opportunity to grow over the years into my current position,” said Cory Edwards, Dielectric’s global sales manager, who is also responsible for launching its highly successful Powerlite range of low-power TV and FM radio products. “If you look at our longevity, a big reason is that much of our core group today has been here 20 years or longer. Most people who come here, stay here, which has a lot to do with our success. It’s impossible to overstress how important the people here are to Dielectric’s longevity and reputation, and it’s why we continue to attract new customers and retain our existing base worldwide.”
Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair. Dielectric is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. From remote stations to major markets, Dielectric has been delivering solutions for every need since 1942. Dielectric is an innovative, customer-centric organization with a long history of engineering excellence in designing and manufacturing high-quality broadcast solutions. The Company is a trusted partner of broadcasters worldwide. More information can be accessed at www.dielectric.com