GatesAir open house previews growth spurt

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 7, 2017 9:30 am

QUINCY -- GatesAir, a broadcast technology giant that is known worldwide, is celebrating its anniversary with an open house Saturday with guided tours.

GatesAir vice president of operations Bryant Burke said the company that manufactures transmitters and other equipment for television, radio and emergency systems is poised for a growth spurt and wants to thank the community where it all started.

GatesAir was founded in 1922, when Henry C. Gates and his son, Parker, established Gates Radio Co. Parker Gates was 14 when the company formed and became a prolific inventor who was responsible for many industry firsts that laid the groundwork for radio and television transmitter design.

"It's going to be great to open the doors up to the public. It's a good time to showcase a lot of our investments before the growth spurt," Burke said.

Growth is coming because of the reallocation of broadcast spectrum in many nations. Government agencies will be licensing certain broadcast frequencies for use by broadcasters, telecommunication companies and other users. Some nations also will move to digital broadcasting, which occurred in the United States several years ago. All of those changes will increase demand for new transmitters and related equipment.

"We've got about 200 people in Quincy ... and we have about 320 globally. We're going to be adding to that up through 2021," Burke said.

Burke said there will be other innovations in the U.S. market. About 30 percent of households in some markets in the U.S. rely on antenna reception. Future industry standards would allow broadcasters to be able to target content, such as advertising, to specific areas.

In addition to broadcast technology, GatesAir is a leader in public safety and emergency response communications.

The company also is a leader in energy efficiency standards, lowering the electric costs for broadcasters using GatesAir transmitters.

"When we can eliminate 50 percent of the operating costs for our customers, that's pretty compelling," Burke said.

GatesAir has operated under several names. Gates Radio was sold to Harris Intertype Corp. in 1957. Under Harris Corp., the broadcast division shifted into television, digital and high-efficiency transmitters, along with a vast array of more than 500,000 products used in the broadcast industry.

Harris Broadcast was split into two companies in March 2014, and GatesAir became the name of the broadcast equipment company.

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