Raycom stations commit to common monitoring platform

Establishing a common platform for monitoring, compliance and ad verification, as well as for new applications including competitive analysis, loudness monitoring and NAVE monitoring, Raycom Media has deployed new technology from Volicon across all of its 48 stations.

Volicon, manufacturer of the Observer digital video monitoring and logging system, had initially sold Raycom several units for field testing and to see how it could be used effectively across different markets. Now they’ve upgraded the units they have with the latest software and have committed to buying many more. In addition to providing value for individual stations, having a common platform allows senior Raycom Media group executives and consultants to use a centralized Observer server to access live and recorded feeds from a total of 158 stations, including their own stations and competitors across the country and beyond.

“With our initial investment in Observer systems, we envisioned them monitoring what’s going out to air and providing proof that we aired content properly,” said Dave Folsom, vice president, chief technology officer at Raycom Media. “This system-wide upgrade gives us new Observer hardware with more robust capabilities, and the fact that we have been able to add in NAVE and CALM Act monitoring and view content from mobile devices feels like a bonus,” he added.

The Volicon Observer systems are being used to capture, store and stream the stations’ content, while simultaneously offering multiple users 24/7 access to live and recorded content. The Observer systems provide monitoring functionality at the station level and also live or recorded content directly to “C suite” desktops, as well as executives’ iPad and iPhones.

Volicon’s Virtual Media Network (VMN) technology provides an architecture that allows for expansion and scalability as well as streaming throughout the organization and optimized video logging and monitoring.

A user interface accessible from Mac, PC and mobile devices allows Raycom and its authorized users to access, play, pause and search recorded content for legal purposes, program analysis, talent coaching and proof of performance.

The Observer’s audio loudness monitoring module enables Raycom to measure AC-3 dialnorm levels and to monitor broadcasts’ compliance with ITU BS.1770-1 and BS.1770-2, ATSC A/85 RP 2011, and CALM Act (FCC Report 11-182A1) standards. Overlay controls provide continuous measurements that identify program loudness and loudness range.

Easily accessible audio, video and measurement data—as well as access to any given piece of content and the ability to export a report or the content itself with loudness data overlaid—will support the group in demonstrating diligent compliance with FCC loudness rules.

Using the Observer system’s NAVE monitoring module, Raycom will be able to determine immediately whether or not a station has placed Nielsen codes in the broadcast stream properly or if anything happened to them after it left the station. The immediate feedback provided by the Observer system will reduce the time it takes Raycom to act on this information and, in turn, improve its ability to maintain accurate ratings attributions.

Raycom, an employee-owned company, is one of the nation’s largest broadcasters. It owns or provides services for 48 television stations in 36 markets and 18 states that cover 12.6 percent of U.S. television households. The company employs nearly 3,500 full- and part-time employees.