LITTLE ROCK, ARK.—
Group is one of the nation’s top 20
station groups and owns or provides services
to 72 TV stations nationwide. We
reach approximately 13.8 million television
households with ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC,
CW and My Network programming.
After the CALM Act was passed, we
began shopping for loudness monitoring
methodology that would help us comply.
We evaluated several systems at the 2012
NAB Show and that’s where Cobalt Digital’s
SpotCheck first got our attention.
During our evaluation we learned that
SpotCheck monitors every programming
segment sent as an ASI stream from a
broadcast facility and provides proof and
a record of loudness compliance 24/7.
We were immediately struck by how advanced
the system was compared to some
others we looked at, and also how operator-
friendly it was. SpotCheck became our
loudness monitoring solution for all Nexstar
call letter stations.
SPOTCHECK SYSTEMS EASILY IMPLEMENTED
I was directly involved in rolling out 10
of the units purchased, and also provided
support for the installation of several other
The initial installation and server configuration
went extremely well, with only
a few issues surfacing, mostly with integration
with our automation system. Cobalt
addressed these configuration issues
very quickly—most of them within the
same day. However, this came as no surprise
to us, as we’ve worked with Cobalt
in the past and quickly learned that one
of their strengths is superb service. How a
company handles their service speaks volumes
and can influence future purchases.
The SpotCheck unit is very intuitive
and requires little or no training to operate.
With almost no instruction—other
than speaking with a Cobalt engineer
on the phone for more in-depth analysis,
I was immediately able to go in and determine
where our audio levels actually
were. Clicking on the Web GUI tabs gave
me access to numerous screens of useful information, including graphs and logs of
As soon as SpotCheck went live, we
started tracking our loudness processing
and were able to modify and adjust
our system to ensure that we were in
full CALM compliance. Cobalt’s graphics-based
SpotCheck features user-friendly
icons to identify program segments, and
an audio graph to indicate overall segment
loudness. It sends out an alert if
commercials or programs are out of audio
And the really nice thing is that you
don’t need an engineering degree to operate
the system or to analyze the audio
information that it provides, which allows
our nontechnical staff to make refinements
to the signals being transmitted.
Without SpotCheck we wouldn’t know
whether our facilities were CALM compliant.
It’s very nice to know that we are.
SpotCheck is an invaluable tool.
Dan Stalnaker joined Nexstar in 2006
as chief engineer of Little Rock’s KARK-TV
and was promoted to his current position
in 2008. He may be contacted at
For additional information, contact
Cobalt Digital at 800-669-1691 or visit