GatesAir Appoints Charles Sotto as Regional Sales Manager

March 28, 2019

Industry veteran will cover seven states in the Southeast US territory, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

CINCINNATI, March 13, 2019GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, has strengthened its North American sales team with the appointment of Charles Sotto as Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast U.S. territory, effective immediately. Covering seven states plus Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, Sotto brings three decades of industry and entrepreneurial experience to his new role, including sales and business development roles with Sony and Harris, the company from which GatesAir was born. Sotto will be based in Florida and report to Mark Goins, Senior Director, North American Sales.

Sotto joins GatesAir at a time of active business growth for the company in the United States, driven largely by the GatesAir’s market-leading share of TV spectrum repack business. Sotto sees a wealth of opportunities to help TV and radio broadcasters reduce their utility costs and maintenance activities with GatesAir’s high-efficiency transmitter designs. He is also bullish about helping GatesAir customers transition their audio contribution and distribution systems, including studio-to-transmitter links (STL), to IP as broadcasters migrate from T1 and other more expensive circuit-based links.

“The broadcast industry has made significant progress in going green and reducing its collective carbon footprint, and GatesAir has been a pioneer in this movement for transmission systems,” said Sotto. “I see tremendous opportunity to help new and current GatesAir customerstransition to our more electrically-efficient Maxiva TV and Flexiva radio transmitters, reducing operating costs and labor associated with maintaining the infrastructure. Furthermore, the Intraplex range of intelligent networking solutions has matured to serve some very diverse and interesting applications at a time when broadcasters are more comfortable using IP as a primary transport method. The innovative entrepreneurship driving GatesAir also very much strengthens the future vision of the company. It’s an exciting time to rejoin GatesAir family.”

Sotto spent several years with Harris Broadcast in the early 2000s as National Accounts Manager for Broadcast Systems and Special Markets, where he focused on complex projects for large commercial and government customers. Prior to joining Harris Broadcast, he spent 10 years at Sony as a Major Account Manager in Los Angeles focusing on studio, post-product and broadcast accounts. He was directly involved in many large-scale and technically intricate projects while at Sony, including the launch of DIRECTV as a direct-to-home satellite provider in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

“Charles brings a rare mix of customer relationship skills and technical expertise that will benefit both GatesAir and our customer base throughout his region,” said Goins. “Broadcast is a service-driven industry, and his human touch will play a big role in his success, particularly in the Southeast where we will continue to see robust and exciting business opportunities for years to come. We are proud to welcome Charles to the GatesAir team.”

About GatesAir   

GatesAir, Inc., a portfolio company of The Gores Group, 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 with all products designed and assembled in the USA. Visit www.gatesair.com for more information, Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gatesair, and follow us on Twitter at @GatesAir.

 

About The Gores Group

The Gores Group, founded in 1987 by Alec Gores, is a global investment firm focused on acquiring controlling interests in mature and growing businesses which can benefit from the firm’s operating experience and flexible capital base. The firm combines the operational expertise and detailed due diligence capabilities of a strategic buyer with the seasoned M&A team of a traditional financial buyer. Over its 30-year history, The Gores Group has become a leading investor having demonstrated a reliable track record of creating value in its portfolio companies alongside management. Headquartered in Los Angeles, The Gores Group maintains offices in Boulder, CO, and London. For more information, please visit http://www.gores.com.

WXPN Syndicates XPoNential Radio with Live, Uncompressed, IP-Based Delivery Service from StreamGuys and Barix

March 28, 2019

Barix Reflector service operated by StreamGuys provides reliable, internet-based delivery with uncompromised quality at cost-effective price point for expanding “Triple A” radio offering

BAYSIDE, CALIFORNIA, March 12, 2019 – Philadelphia-based WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania, takes great pride in its reputation for innovative programming and operational practices. When the nationally-recognized leader in Triple A (adult album alternative) radio set out to develop a more sustainable distribution model for its XPoNential Radio channel — which not only extends WXPN’s brand and programming expertise, but also produces revenue — it turned to the Reflector service from streaming solutions pioneer StreamGuys and IP audio technology leader Barix to power its new syndication system.

XPoNential Radio showcases an eclectic blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country with a unique mix of emerging and heritage contemporary musicians. XPoNential Radio is offered to CPB-qualified public radio stations for use on primary terrestrial broadcasts or HD channels, and affiliate stations can brand it at the bottom of each hour with their own messaging and station IDs.

XPoNential Radio was originally distributed to affiliates via satellite and offered only for use on HD2 or HD3 channels. WXPN wanted to widen the usage of the channel to include primary broadcast, and while it continues to use satellite for national programming such as its award-winning World Cafe, it needed to find an alternative, sustainable distribution model for the smaller-scale XPoNential Radio.

“Satellite is still an essential part of the public radio distribution ecosystem, but in a multi-platform and varying-scale environment like ours,we also need reliable, cost-efficient alternative methods to distribute our programming,” said Roger LaMay, general manager at WXPN. “It is essential that we keep the XPoNential Radio service low-cost both for ourselves and potential affiliates, many of which are smaller stations or those looking to program their HD2 or HD3 channels, so a different solution is needed for closer-to-the ground operations.”

Despite cost-effectiveness being one of the station’s motivations, quality and reliability were also key criteria. “We always have a mind for how we can have the highest-quality audio, which made an uncompressed solution attractive,” explained LaMay. “And of course, reliability is essential.”

The Barix Reflector service operated by StreamGuys allows content providers to easily deliver audio over IP without time-consuming network configuration effort. Uncompressed PCM audio is transported between Barix hardware endpoints across StreamGuys’ robust content delivery network, while link management is simplified through an intuitive, cloud-based portal. Having successfully used StreamGuys’ services for all of their streaming content for many years, WXPN found Reflector immediately compelling, but still put it through extensive in-house and beta testing.

“We weren’t sure if affiliates that had only used satellite before would be willing to go to IP, but ultimately there was very little resistance,” said LaMay. “Once stations discovered how easy it would be, they quickly got on board. They also appreciated the pristine, lossless, CD-quality audio enabled by uncompressed delivery. Our beta testing was so successful that in one case, the affiliate racked up the Barix unit after just one day and wasn’t going to give it back.”

The new XPoNential Radio distribution system was launched January 1 and is now serving affiliates as far away as Alaska, including KBIA, KSTK, KUAC, KUCB, KWMU, WFYI, WPLN, WUAL and WWFM.

As a managed service offering, Reflector makes it simple for affiliates to get started with XPoNential Radio. “WXPN purchases the Barix Exstreamer units, and StreamGuys pre-configures and ships them to the stations,” said John Bartol, IT director at WXPN. “The affiliate plugs in Ethernet, power and audio cables, and XPoNential Radio programming comes out. It’s very much plug-and-play.”

The service’s cloud-based management portal similarly makes life easier for WXPN themselves. “As the admin, I can log in to Reflectorand see that all clients are connected, streaming, and up to date,” said Bartol. “I can also start, stop and configure delivery to each affiliate, so if we ever need to terminate service to a client, I can do that directly through the management console. That wasn’t possible in our previous approach.”

Affiliates also don’t need any “special” internet connectivity to use the service. A very modest 1.5Mbps of bandwidth is enough to receivethe uncompressed signal, and most consumer-level internet connections are sufficiently reliable and stable. Even WXPN does not require hefty bandwidth regardless of how many affiliates they serve, as the Barix Reflector service takes a single feed from the origin, with StreamGuys’ delivery network scaling out the bandwidth for reaching recipients.

“XPoNential Radio is an easy way for stations to offer a fully-prepared programming service beyond what they’re doing on their own,” concluded LaMay. “The uncompressed Reflector service from StreamGuys and Barix lets us reliably deliver XPoNential Radio in unbeatable quality at a sustainable price point.”

StreamGuys and Barix will demonstrate the Reflector service at the upcoming 2019 NAB Show (April 8-11 in Las Vegas), where StreamGuys will co-exhibit with ENCO in booth N2524, and Barix will exhibit in booth C1139.

About StreamGuys, Inc.

In business since 2000, StreamGuys is an industry-leading service provider of live and on-demand streaming, podcasting delivery, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) toolsets for enterprise-level broadcast media organizations. The company brings together the industry’s best price-to-performance ratio, a robust and reliable network, and an infinitely scalable cloud-based platform for clients of any size to process, deliver, monetize and playout professional streaming content. StreamGuys supports many of the world’s largest Podcasts, global TV and radio broadcasters, video and audio production companies, houses of worship, retail and hospitality businesses, government organizations, medical and healthcare services, and live venues for sports and entertainment. The company excels in developing and deploying technologies for business growth and revenue generation, including dynamic ad insertion, Alexa skills, mobile streaming and detailed business and data analytics.

Visix Highlights Data Mapping and Interactivity at Digital Signage Expo 2019

March 28, 2019

ATLANTA, GA – March 12, 2019 – Visix will highlight data mapping and interactivity for digital signage in booth 2631 at Digital Signage Expo 2019, held March 27-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. “Our message this year is ‘communicate better’,” says Sean Matthews, president and CEO of Visix. “Every new feature of our software is focused on helping customers see real audience engagement and measurable ROI from their digital signs. DSE is a great forum to showcase not only our new software and hardware, but to inspire clients by showing them what they can do with our technologies.”

AxisTV Signage Suite

Visix will demonstrate the latest version of its enterprise digital signage software CMS. New features include right-to-left (RTL) language support, a timespan widget for countdowns, a drag-and-drop interactivity builder, and powerful data mapping widgets that let clients auto-populate screens with information from event management systems, AccuWeather, RSS, Excel, XML, JSON and text sources. Conditional logic rules can be applied to any feed to instruct the software what data and artwork to show on screen with simple “if this, show that” instructions. Clients also have the option to show or hide events, based on defined timespan parameters.

AxisTV Alert

Visix will also show their new stand-alone alerting platform that can be used alongside any digital signage content management solution. The application has streamlined workflows specific to alert notifications, is built around Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standards, and easily integrates with popular third-party alerting suites like Alertus and Rave Mobile Safety.

Interactive Designs

Visix will showcase award-winning interactive signage designs created in their AxisTV Signage Suite software, as well as responsive HTML5 projects highlighting employee communications, wayfinding, directories, donor boards, menu boards and social media.

Digital Room Signs

Also on display will be the company’s Touch, Connect and EPS room signs, offering both interactive and affordable E Ink options for space management.

Visitors to Visix booth 2631 who scan their badge can pick up t-shirts, eco-friendly travel cups, koozies and more. To learn more about Visix products, or to schedule a booth tour at DSE, go to visix.com/contact.

About Digital Signage Expo 
DSE is the world’s largest and longest-running conference and trade show exclusively dedicated to showcasing innovative digital communications and interactive technology solutions for customer- and employee-facing organizations. Learn more at www.digitalsignageexpo.net.

About Visix

Visix, Inc. offers a robust suite of digital signage software, content designs and meeting room signs for any organization wanting to engage, excite, and inform their audiences. Our products work separately or together, are competitively priced and scalable, and have powerful interactivity and data integration features for a unified, enterprise signage solution. Our award-winning service and support teams consistently rank the highest in customer satisfaction for fast, professional responses and solutions. Learn more about Visix digital signage products and services at www.visix.com.

Dielectric Designs VHF Antenna System for Sutro Tower Repack Project in Compliance with Stringent Earthquake Code

March 28, 2019

Two San Francisco broadcasters will leverage structurally complex, top-mounted stacked antenna array; Dielectric to showcase THV Series of VHF antennas at 2019 NAB Show

RAYMOND, Maine, March 12, 2019 — As a leading maker of innovative TV/FM broadcast antennas, Dielectric has completed the design of a technically complex, stacked antenna array for San Francisco DTV broadcasters KGO-TV and KRON-TV. The stacked array—a specialty of Dielectric’s—is slated for installation later this year atop Sutro Tower in downtown San Francisco.

KGO-TV, the market’s ABC owned-and-operated affiliate currently broadcasting on VHF channel 7 will be repacked to channel 12. KRON-TV, the Nexstar Media Group-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate now broadcasting on UHF Channel 38 (Virtual Channel 4) will be repacked to channel 7, once vacated by KGO.

Dielectric THV Series directional pylon antennas have been customized to each station’s unique needs. The stacking of KGO’s antenna on top of KRON’s required a careful design process to factor in earthquake compliance and other critical, environmental considerations.

“This is one of our most complex repack antenna designs, in large part due to the strict earthquake code that applies to antennas installed in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Keith Pelletier, vice president and general manager, Dielectric. “Our mechanical engineering team also ensured that KRON’s antenna could support the weight of KGO’s antenna. These design considerations called for a grade of steel that is much thicker and stronger than that which is customary for antenna construction. By design, the stack will be capable of handling the extra weight, and compliant with all earthquake restrictions.”

According to Pelletier, the final designs are currently being reviewed by a third-party structural engineering firm in San Francisco to ensure that they meet the earthquake code. The antenna array will then be constructed during the second quarter of 2019.

“Sutro Tower is scheduled for Phase 9, which means that the installation must be completed by May 2020,” said Pelletier. “We will be ready to ship in June of this year, and install the system by the end of 2019. This will ensure that the new stacked array is up and running before the strict repack deadline.”

Challenging Installation Planned

The stacked antenna array will be affixed to one of the three “candelabra” arms extending from the top of 977-foottall Sutro Tower. In order to meet the earthquake code the stacked array is being reinforced with guy wires which are anchored at the top of the candelabra platforms.  Dielectric specializes in tower top and tower stacks but the guy wire requirement is unique to Sutro Tower.  The installation grows trickier given the densely-packed downtown residential neighborhood and busy streets surrounding the tower – a job that only a handful of specialized tall tower crews can accommodate.

Each station chose to customize top-mount (slotted coaxial) designs to avoid possible interference between the antennas and the tower that could affect radiated patterns and power levels. Pelletier notes that the design offers the industry’s lowest windload – yet another critical consideration for this project.

Dielectric will also supply its auxiliary antenna (TLSV series) antenna, as part of an effective strategy to ensure a clean repack process with no off-air time.

“Since KGO is already operating in the VHF band, we will install an auxiliary antenna lower down on the tower that allows them to operate on channel 7,” Pelletier said. “That frees up the tower top and allows us to install KRON and KGO new antennas on top of the tower and allows KGO to remain on the air. Once that’s completed, KGO can move to its permanent antenna on top and Sutro Tower will remain outfitted with an auxiliary VHF antenna.”

Pelletier adds that as many as 50 of the 900 TV stations that Dielectric is assisting with repack have selectedDielectric’s stacked antenna array designs, which he calls a “Dielectric-developed specialty.” Dielectric will demonstrate its range of VHF repack antennas, including the THV Series, at the forthcoming 2019 NAB Show from April 8-11 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Dielectric exhibits at Booth C2213.

About Dielectric

Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Dielectric is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. Now celebrating its 76th year of operation, the company builds and delivers antennas and RF systems optimized for every TV and FM radio broadcast 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. As a trust partner of broadcasters worldwide, Dielectric maintains its legacy of advanced, precision RF solutions while building in features that prepare broadcasters for the future. More information can be accessed at www.dielectric.com

Austin-Peay State University Delivers Hands-On, Educational Production Experiences with Hitachi HDTV Cameras

March 28, 2019

Purchase of three Z-HD5000s expands university’s use of durable, high-quality cameras from sporting arenas to instructional television studio

Woodbury, NY, March 11, 2019 — The Department of Communication at Austin-Peay State University (APSU) is proud to offer students real-world, hands-on experience in a full array of television and sports broadcasting disciplines. Building on positive experience with cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) in the university’s athletic arenas, the department has expanded its use of Hitachi cameras into its instructional television studio by purchasing three new Z-HD5000s.

Hitachi Kokusai will exhibit in booth C4409 at the 2019 NAB Show from April 8 to 11.

Located just 45 minutes from Nashville in downtown Clarksville, Tennessee, APSU is a four-year public university with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. APSU Television (APSU-TV) operates 24 hours per day and features student-produced news, public affairs, sports and special event programming. The APSU Department of Communication also offers the only Sports Broadcasting major in the state of Tennessee, providing students with live production experience on APSU football and basketball broadcasts, as well as video scoreboard productions.

While APSU-produced programming can be seen on outlets ranging from the campus cable channel to the EPSN+ streaming service, the department’s primary focus is on the educational experience. “Even though our department does productions, they are all embedded within our curriculum,” said Kathy Lee Heuston, professor and interim chair, Department of Communication at APSU. “Even our sports broadcasts are part of the curriculum. We properly train the students, and then they apply those skills on actual productions.”

That emphasis on experiential learning was core to the university’s earlier purchase of six Z-HD5000s from Hitachi Kokusai for its basketball and football venues, the Dunn Center and Fortera Stadium. “Our objective was to have a professional camera to teach the students on, so they would be prepared when they went out into the real world,” said Lee Heuston. “The Z-HD5000 met all of the requirements while best fitting the budget, making it the first time the department was able to purchase professional-level cameras.”

“While streaming Ohio Valley Conference games on EPSN+ was not a consideration when we bought the Hitachi cameras, it was a huge benefit when we started with ESPN+ that we already had cameras that met ESPN standards,” added Steve Sawyer, video production coordinator at APSU.

When it came time to upgrade the department’s educational television studio, the Hitachi cameras were again a natural fit. “Our previous studio cameras were not professional-grade and were due for replacement, so we needed to upgrade to make everything function the way we wanted,” explained Lee Heuston. “Adding more Z-HD5000s gave us consistency, so once the students learn how to use them in the studio, they’re immediately able to use them in our other venues.”

While the three new Z-HD5000s are deployed in fixed positions in the studio, the arena cameras are deployed in various combinations of tripod-based, ladder-mount and handheld operation depending on the sport. Sawyer highlights the cameras’ durability as particularly valuable for the rigors of their athletic productions. “The Z-HD5000s are very rugged,” he said. “We’re constantly setting up and tearing down the cameras, and moving them across campus. We’ve had absolutely no problems – they’re like tanks.”

The visual quality of the Hitachi cameras has also benefited APSU’s productions. “We use other cameras in certain situations, such as robotic basketball backboard cameras, and there’s just no comparison in quality,” said Sawyer. “When we do need to take those other shots, we use them very sparingly, because you can definitely see the difference.”

The quality improvement compared to APSU’s earlier studio cameras was similarly evident. “When we had the older cameras in the studio alongside content coming from the Hitachi cameras in the arena, you could see the quality difference,” said Lee Heuston. “Now, with the Z-HD5000s feeding our NewTek TriCasters, we get very clear pictures and the results really look professional.”

Last but certainly not least, Sawyer compliments the intuitive nature of the Z-HD5000s as well-suited to their educational goals. “The Hitachi cameras are very easy to teach,” he said. “Everything is very well-placed in the layout of the controls.”

Those instructional benefits align nicely with the department’s primary objective. “We are very fortunate to be able to use the Hitachi cameras in our classroom environment as well as in our productions, to give our students hands-on experience with professional equipment that will benefit them after graduation,” concluded Lee Heuston.

About Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a company that manufactures broadcasting systems, security and surveillance systems, wireless communications and information systems. Fiscal 2017(ended March 31, 2018) sales totaled 171,791 million Yen. For more information on Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi-kokusai.co.jp/global/en/index.html.

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