The term "trimulcast" was first used in May 1981 by Multimedia Broadcasting's outlets in Little Rock, Arkansas, KAAY-AM (50,000 watts, clear channel) and KLPQ-FM (100,000 watts) when they teamed-up with Cox Cable locally. KAAY/KLPQ's morning program was already being simulcasted and by building a "radio control room/studio" set at the cable company's facilities a three-camera, live feed was made available to subscribers on a Public-access television cable TV channel. The program's music format was "adult contemporary" and featured an announcer known as "The Breakfast Man" along with a two-girl news team and "Mr. Sports" -- a funny, acerbic type seemingly always at odds with station management, at the time under the direction of its VP/GM Phil Zeni who created the concept. Music videos by major pop artists were just gaining traction and were used whenever available. The effort received major national media coverage and was included as a seminar at the next NAB conference. This trimulcasted program in Little Rock debuted on Memorial Day 1981, two months before the launch of MTV.
A trimulcast is a cluster of three radio stations and/or translators that play the same feed. Normally this is done in order to have full coverage of a certain area. Some stations use this technique to provide rimshot coverage into a major market by broadcasting radio on the outskirts from three different locations or combine multiple low power television stations in an attempt to provide the equivalent coverage of one full-power station.
Well known trimulcasts include:
- WGVX/WGVY/WGVZ in Minneapolis, Minnesota making up a soft AC/ oldies station called Love 105.
- WDEK/ WCPT-FM/ WRZA in Chicago simulcasting WCPT during the day and broadcasting Dance Hits format Dance Factory at night.
- The Highway Stations out of Barstow, California cover the Mojave Desert from Barstow to Laughlin, Nevada and Las Vegas with music, weather, traffic, and news.
- WTEM/ WWXT/ WWXX in Washington D.C. throughout the D.C. metropolitan area, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
Trimulcast also refers to the same program being broadcast on the TV, radio, and internet simultaneously.