Alaskan broadcaster reduces operational costs with energy-efficient GatesAir DTV and radio transmitters, and both simplifies and automates its FM air chain with GatesAir intelligent IP networking and studio gear
CINCINNATI, June 27, 2016 — Tanana Valley Television and Radio—which owns DTV and FM radio stations in Alaska—has chosen GatesAir as its exclusive supplier for over-the-air transmitters, IP networking systems and on-air studio consoles for its local and remote broadcast facilities.
As a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, GatesAir continues to set the standard in energy-efficient transmitter design. With its patented high-efficiency PowerSmart® technology at the core of all GatesAir solid-state transmitters, Tanana Valley Television Company has reduced the total cost of ownership and maintenance of its RF operation since installing GatesAir Maxiva™ DTV and Flexiva™ FM radio transmitters. The decision has delivered significant savings of monthly bills, time, and labor due to the transmitters’ exceptional energy efficiency, reliability and space-saving designs.
Energy efficiency and reduced power consumption were key drivers in the decision to install GatesAir Maxiva VAX VHF ATSC transmitters at Tanana Valley’s Fairbanks DTV stations, including KFXF Fox 7, K13XD-D (News 13 CBS), and KTVF Channel 11, an NBC affiliate that the company operates on behalf of Chena Broadcasting, LLC through a Shared Services Agreement (SSA). Reliability and low maintenance also drove Tanana Valley Television to install a GatesAir Flexiva FAX air-cooled FM radio transmitter at KNLT-95.5 FM, in Palmer, Alaska, located 300 miles south of Fairbanks— a remote site not easily accessible by Tanana Valley’s engineers.
“The high cost of power to run the transmitter, to heat or cool the transmitter building, and send contractors to the transmitter site to make repairs are just some of the overhead expenses that erode profits in broadcasting,” said Thomas Bohnet, Director of Engineering for Tanana Valley Television and Radio, based in Fairbanks. “Despite the sub-zero temperatures and other extreme weather conditions that impact our region, our group has already realized dramatic savings in electricity, among other benefits, due to our GatesAir transmitters.
“In fact, shortly after installing the Flexiva transmitter at our radio station, our power bill dropped to a third of what it once was, prompting the electric company to actually call us to ask if anything was wrong,” Bohnet recalled. “We told them we had made energy-smart upgrades that now enable us to use far less power, and that this would be the new normal.”
When KNLT was originally awarded a Class 1 license at 1kW, Tanana Valley chose to buy a turnkey system from GatesAir, including the Flexiva solid-state transmitter and antenna, RF, EAS, cooling, electrical, and studio-to-transmitter (STL) support gear. GatesAir installed the equipment in a weather-insulated outdoor enclosure with space-saving custom racks that spared Tanana Valley the need to engage contractors or build out its RF plant. The entire system was installed and put on the air in a day, with a GatesAir Intraplex® IP Link codec reliably feeding program audio and data to the transmitter site from Fairbanks, nearly 300 miles away.
When the radio station received FCC permission to increase its power to 10kW a year later, Tanana Valley immediately called GatesAir for help with its Phase 2 upgrades, including installation of a higher power Flexiva FAX air-cooled transmitter, with a GatesAir FAX exciter and a built-in Optimod for audio processing that allows the station to take full advantage of its modulation. Tanana Valley installed a GatesAir Oasis audio console at its new local studio built from scratch in Palmer—Bohnet calls the Oasis “the heart of our little station”—with additional IP Link codecs providing the flexibility to switch between local programming and feeds from Fairbanks.
Bohnet adds that the ability to perform remote monitoring and management of the transmitter is extremely advantageous, further reducing costs. Tanana Valley technicians in Fairbanks can perform routine maintenance, such as changing settings on KNLT’s transmitter, eliminating the time and expense of traveling to Palmer.
The success of the GatesAir installation at KNLT is what led Tanana Valley to install the three GatesAir Maxiva VAX VHF DTV transmitters at its three TV stations. According to Bohnet, the Maxiva transmitters provide the same modularity and operating efficiencies as the Flexiva FAX, and they’ve seen their power consumption and monthly electric bill drop to one-third the cost they incurred with their previous transmitters.
“With its modular design, the Maxiva and Flexiva components slide into position quickly, with minimal labor. And once on-the-air, the hot swappable amplifiers and power supplies make it very simple to maintain. That reliability ensures stable, signal performance and the efficiency will save us money over the life of the transmitter,” Bohnet said. “We are very pleased with both the performance and anticipated return on investment (ROI) of our GatesAir transmitters. We also like that GatesAir is a trusted source of such a wide range of studio, transmitter and STL products. For all of these reasons, GatesAir has become one of our preferred suppliers.”
GatesAir, Inc. provides complete solutions for over-the-air radio and television broadcasting, leveraging wireless spectrum to maximize performance for multichannel, mission-critical services. Powering over-the-air networks worldwide with unparalleled reliability for nearly 100 years, GatesAir’s turnkey solutions enable broadcasters to create, transport and transmit radio and TV content. With customers in more than 185 countries, the company leads the industry in innovation and design breakthroughs, improving efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership. Visit www.gatesair.com for more information, Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/gatesair, and follow us on Twitter at @GatesAir.
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