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Nautel Limited

Nautel: 50 years of worry-free transmission

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

16,000 transmitters. 177 countries. 152 Nova Scotia employees.

Nautel celebrates 50 years of transmission

It all began in 1969 when a small radio transmission company in the tiny fishing village of Hackett’s Cove won its first government contract.

Today, Nautel celebrates 50 years of worry-free transmission with ISO-certified manufacturing plants in both Canada and the USA, and more than 16,000 transmitters deployed to date in more than 177 countries.


Listening to customers and community

When Nautel, then known as Nautical Electronic Laboratories, won that first contract in 1969, it would have been hard to predict the future of radio transmission. That’s why the company credits its commitment to listening to customers and the community as a crucial component in Nautel’s success. This unwavering commitment to superior customer service includes the development of the Nautel User Group, or NUG.

After spending 29 years at the helm of customer support, Nautel’s President and CEO, Kevin Rodgers, says it best.

“Anyone who knows me knows I have always had a passion for customer support, and that passion is the foundation of the culture at Nautel. Customers are the life blood of our company and bring us superb ideas for product enhancements as well as new designs. When we started the Nautel User Group, we envisioned a venue for our customers to discuss products not only with all of us at Nautel, but with each other, increasing tribal knowledge throughout the broadcast community.”

Expanding to the USA and creating the largest engineering team in the transmitter industry

As the business grew and patents were added, Nautel entered the broadcast industry, creating need for additional space. The decision was made to open a manufacturing operation in Bangor, Maine.

Expansion also meant placing an emphasis on research and development. Nautel created one of the largest engineering teams in the transmitter industry to completely revamp their AM and FM lines. This also led to creation of an advanced user interface that is now deployed in more than 8,000 transmitters worldwide.

Photo: Far East Broadcasting, South Korea

Establishing parts depots around the globe

With the incorporation of new capabilities that had never been part of a transmitter in the past, an influx of new users was inevitable.

To better serve the growing number of worldwide users, Nautel established parts depots in Tennessee, the United Kingdom, India, United Arab Emirates, Philippines and Australia to ensure rapid parts delivery no matter the user’s location.

Having depots worldwide is crucial to sustaining growth internationally, and continued operations at home. “Proving that Nova Scotian companies can compete on a world stage and be major engines of the Nova Scotia economy is what makes us all at Nautel very proud.” 

“Being a successful Nova Scotia exporter enabled us to provide long-term employment stability, generate support for surrounding businesses, and create a net benefit for the community. During our 50-year history, we’ve contributed a cumulative half billion dollars of economic activity to the local Halifax-area economy.”

Looking ahead to the next 50 years

Radio broadcasting is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Nautel continues to create more efficient modes of operation and improve digital transformation for improved coverage and less interference.  

“It’s hard to predict where the future will take our industry and Nautel. Changes are coming rapidly, and we intend to be at the forefront of those changes. Advanced digital transmission technologies, cloud content delivery, and hybrid combinations of radio and the internet are examples of technologies that will keep things interesting for years to come. And as usual, we will continue to listen to our customers, who will bring us some of the best ideas for keeping radio transmission worry-free.”

Nautel is part of Nova Scotia’s growing tech sector attracting top business and talent across the province. Want to stay up to date? Subscribe to our newsletter, The Insider.