LANCASTER, PA.–Director of Technology Projects for Hearst Television Joe Addalia was tasked with ensuring that the company’s 29 stations are CALM-compliant by Dec. 13 deadline, at which time the FCC will begin enforcing a law addressing the issues of commercials often being significantly louder than other programming.
With this goal in mind, Addalia selected the Linear Acoustic AERO.air Transmission Audio Loudness Manager and LQ-1000 Loudness Quality Monitor as the standard equipment pairing to control and meter loudness.
“CALM isn't going away,” Addalia said. “We knew we had to address compliance head on. Hearst doesn't take shortcuts, we don't compromise on quality, and we don't look for band-aid solutions just to get by. We wanted to do this right, so I researched all of our options.”
During his research, Addalia discovered that some of the other projects he was working on (audience measurement encoding, upmixing, downmixing and quality audio processing) could be addressed by the AERO.air.
“We get full control over our audio, which sounds fantastic, a solid downmixed signal, Nielsen encoding located where it's supposed to be in the chain, and CALM-compliant loudness control in a single 2RU box. Stations get into trouble when we make things too complex. AERO.air addresses so much with one box and really simplifies things,” Addalia said.
“We're putting them on the main HD channel of all of our stations. Once that project is done, our goal is to have identical, fully-redundant backup transmission chains for every station, and each of those will all have an AERO.air as well,” Addalia said.
Hearst has also installed a Linear Acoustic LQ-1000 Loudness Quality Monitor in each station. One of the meter's inputs looks at the primary encoded HD signal full time, while the other is used on a rotating basis for the required spot-checking as well as multi-cast channels or audio playing back from a server.
“We use the VGA output of the LQ-1000 to feed a section of the monitor wall in the master control room so the operator can always keep an eye on loudness,” said Richard Monn, chief engineer of Hearst's Orlando operation.
“Once we find the products that best meet our needs, we like to form a close relationship with the company that makes them and deploy those products across the board. For loudness control and metering, it's Linear Acoustic all the way,” Addalia said.
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