Entercom sports “97.3 The Fan” KWFN San Diego is utilizing GeoBroadcast Solutions MaxxCasting technology to improve its FM and HD signals. KWFN represents the first commercially deployed HD Radio Single Frequency Network (HD SFN) to implement the four-node technology. GBS says the system extends clear FM and HD Radio coverage throughout the area and increases penetration with Nielsen’s Portable People Meters.
GBS says the implementation of an HD SFN through MaxxCasting also demonstrates that geo-targeting for radio is possible when the boosters are equipped with its ZoneCasting technology. With geo-targeting, radio stations would have the ability to add localized weather and traffic, news, emergency alerts and advertising based on a listener’s location.
GBS filed an FCC Rulemaking Petition in March to permit radio broadcasters to air geo-targeted programming using the ZoneCasting technology. The company says ZoneCasting will eventually owe its success to MaxxCasting, which is also in use at Cumulus Media hot AC WXLO Worcester. MA (104.5).
“Providing a digitally clear, strong HD signal to the flagship station of the San Diego Padres serves the expanded listening audience and advertisers,” GBS Chief Technology Officer Bill Hieatt said in a release. “The MaxxCasting system now reaches listeners in previously underserved areas north of San Diego, including the cities of Escondido, Ramona and San Marcos. The immediate results have been positive: KWFN saw a one-month ratings share increase from 1.8 to 2.5 post-launch.”
The San Diego market is very terrain-intensive, and signal penetration is limited due to the density of hills. JR Rogers, Entercom San Diego Market Technical Operations Director said the station’s “commuter listening experience has improved, as the holes in the signal coverage have been greatly diminished.”
The goal was to have the technology implemented in time for the Padres season which, after a four-month delay due to the pandemic, will begin its shortened 60-game campaign June 24. “We especially wanted to provide the Padres and their fans as close to 100 percent coverage as possible,” Rogers continued. The team moved to “The Fan” ahead of the 2018 MLB season from co-owned modern rock KBZT, which carried games for one season. Prior to 2017, “The Mighty 1090” XEPRS Tijuana/San Diego was the longtime home of the Padres.
“While high-power AM has a much broader coverage pattern, FM offers far superior sound,” Rogers explained. “The MaxxCasting system will provide the community with higher quality game coverage and better penetrate the entire market.”