| The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

June 15, 2015 7:24 pm  #1

Voltair Outlawed in Canada

In my opinion PPM is hugely flawed, especailly against talk stations or stations that have a lot of spoken word.  If there's no modulataion, there's nowhere to bury the PPM signal.   As you saw with Boom, one or two listeners can skew the entire scheme of things.   It doesn't stop there.  The timber of the announcers voice, the music you program, even the singer of the song can affect the PPM result.   If you're listening in a bedroom or living room there's apparently a much better chance of having the watermark picked up, rather than in a car, where some of the most important listening of all is being captured.  

Think of Voltair as a hearing aid for a PPM decoder.  Voltair monitors the signal a station is sending out, and makes sure it's as optimum as possible for showcasing the watermark.  It doesn't do anything illegal, it just makes the problem technology a little more reliable.  It makes sure your watermark is as visible as possible, and not subject to the whims of the signal.

So that being said, I'm sure you can understand the Canadian solution to this problem.  Ban the use of a tool that makes the technology more reliable and work better.  Numeris wants a level playing field, it doesn't explain how to level that playing field so that a station with a very boomy announcer and a station with a very nasal announcer have a fair chance of being measured properly etc.  

The reality is, it isn't a level playing field, not by a long shot.  Some of the players on the field have bright florescent numbers on their jerseys and others have mud covered faded jerseys.  The florescent jerseys get more attention because they're easier to spot, but it doesn't mean they are playing better or harder.

Anyway, here's the article..

(Via RadioInk)
It's sort of an about face for the ratings company to the north who we're told were very positive about the unit at the NAB show in Las Vegas earlier this year when they met with Telos Alliance, the maker of the processor. As American broadcasters continue to wait for the results of Nielsen's testing of the Voltair unit, to see how it's impacting PPM ratings, broadcasters in Canada are being told to disconnect the unit immediately.

A letter from the Numeris Board of Directors (Numeris is Canada's ratings service) has been shared with Radio Ink. The letter says Canada's level measurement playing field must be maintained and, "Numeris requires that any Voltair unit be physically disconnected from the Numeris encoder, and the output of the Numeris encoder be routed for transmission without further processing or manipulation. We ask that this task be completed no later than Sunday, June 14th by 11:59 pm."

One Canadian broadcaster tells Radio Ink that this isn't about Voltair or a level playing field, stating it's about Nielsen-Numeris wanting to control processing and protect their monopoly. He also believes this is a trial balloon to test the reaction before the same thing happens with the units here in the United States. Nielsen says it is testing the unit to see what, if any, impact it has on ratings. Some broadcasters believe Voltair's processor is most definitely impacting their ratings in a positive way and Telos-Alliance is selling them like hot cakes.

The letter says the dictate does not include the usual audio processing and limiting devices employed by all stations and installed prior to the Numeris encoder, but includes all devices that access the output of the Numeris encoder and in any way alter the audio that has been PPM encoded. Numeris Engineers are available to stations to provide advice any member requires to determine what devices may be acceptable post-encoding. And finally the letter says that Numeris will undertake a review of encoding advancements that may be available in 2015, and review potential improvements with Numeris members so a decision can be made on deployment in the PPM system.



Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.

June 15, 2015 8:44 pm  #2

Re: Voltair Outlawed in Canada

" . . . in a car where some of the most important listening of all is being captured . . . "

or NOT being captured; J. Oakley must be pulling out (what's left of) his hair when he sees quarterly PPM numbers,    And yet, everyone I know has AM 640 on their car buttons and some commute considerable distances


June 16, 2015 11:02 am  #3

Re: Voltair Outlawed in Canada

Interesting....I would say to that "bite me..." I'm going to do what is best for my business and bottom line.  However I don't know much about this subject.

What I do know is on my internet radio, I have 590, 1010 and 640 set at a level of 45 (based on my radio's volume scale).  When I switch over to NPR-WBFO or CBC 1 Toronto - 45 goes to 65-70 just to hear the announcer or program - which is terribly frustrating.  When they goto news, I must turn the volume down as it is too loud.  First world problems I guess.


When the hand goes up, the mouth goes shut !
~ Harvey Atkin

June 16, 2015 11:46 am  #4

Re: Voltair Outlawed in Canada

Interestingly lots of buzz on the American sites, but no mention of this on any of the Canadian broadcast trade mags web sites that I can find.  Hope they aren't waiting for a Numeris press release to put the entire situation into perspective for us folks..

(Via All Access)

Radio's attention about the ongoing saga regarding the VOLTAIR processor now moves North of the border as CANADA's ratings agency NUMERIS has pulled the plug on use of the product.
Last week, NUMERIS issued a directive to Canadian broadcasters to shut down their VOLTAIR processors for 60 days. That memo arrived on THURSDAY, JUNE 12th. The agency said it wanted to study VOLTAIR’s impact on ratings. In doing so, the agency told Canadian broadcasters, "NUMERIS is currently undertaking a full analysis of encoding methodologies that have become available since the introduction of PPM. In the interim, the NUMERIS board has reaffirmed the importance of a level playing field and has requested that all stations using VOLTAIR suspend use pending the outcome of the encoding review."

But NUMERIS then sent another memo to subscribers on FRIDAY, with a more long-term decision, writing, "in NUMERIS’s opinion the result of VOLTAIR’s use is an increase in code density that may differentially impact data.”

With that decision, NUMERIS has instructed all Canadian broadcasters to immediately remove the VOLTAIR processor in a memo claiming that, "CANADA’s Level Measurement Playing Field Must be Maintained."


Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.
     Thread Starter