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Keep CALM and Control the Loudness

Posted by Kirk Harnack [TWiRT] on Jan 11, 2013 2:07:00 PM

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TWiRT 151On December 13th, 2012, the rules of CALM went into effect, and the FCC began enforcing them. In its simplest terms, this means over-the-air (OTA) broadcasters, cable operators, satellite television providers, and multichannel video program distributors must ensure that commercials have the same average loudness as the programs they accompany.

More specifically, it means applying the ATSC A/85 Recommended Practice – a set of methods to measure and control the loudness of digital audio – to commercial advertisements delivered to viewers.

Tim Carroll, President of Linear Acoustic, discusses some history of film and television program loudness, then brings us to a better understanding of loudness management. One goal is to keep TV viewers happy, and not give them any reason to complain about jarring volume changes.

Here’s an FAQ about the CALM Act.

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Read the Transcript!

[Announcements: This Week In Radio Tech episode 151 is brought to you by Telos and the ProSTREAM audio streaming encoder with built-in Omnia audio processing. Visit the Telos ProSTREAM on the web at telos-systems.com/prostream.

And now, our feature presentation: TWIRT.

The British say stay calm and carry on. Now, US TV broadcasters have to do the same under the CALM act. We hear about it next.

All right, calm down. He says that to everyone. This calls for immediate discussion. What's up, Doc? All your bases belong to us. Hey, hey, hey.

From his palatial office of important business, or in a choice hotel in a distant land, this is Kirk Harnack.

Chris Tobin joins me to chat with Tim Carroll, president of Linear Acoustic, about TV loudness and best practices. You're dialed in to This Week In Radio Tech.]

Kirk: Hey, it's time for This Week In Radio Tech. I'm Kirk Harnack, your host. I'm so glad that you've joined us. This is the show where we talk about radio technology, mostly audio technology and RF technology, analog and digital RF technology.

Things that relate to getting audio programming out to the masses, the listeners, people who want to partake of this.

There's a lot of things about streaming, about traditional radio technology, that we talk about. Tonight's show, we've got something pretty exciting. It has to do with audio, but not audio alone. Not audio for radio. We'll get into that in just a minute.

Our guest coming up is Tim Carroll on this episode number 151 of This Week In Radio Tech. First of all, let's bring in our other frequent cohost.

The best dressed engineer in radio. From Manhattan, New York, it's my friend and yours, Chris Tobin. Hey Chris.

Chris: Hello Kirk. I'm doing well. It's a great day in Manhattan. The weather is very fair, 47 degrees. It's quite unusual for this time of year. But then again, you're in Vegas so you're having a good time.

Kirk: It's turning cold here in Vegas. The clouds are rolling in this afternoon and a cold wind blew in.

Chris: I'm sure it was, as you sat by the pool and enjoyed some adult beverages.

Kirk: No, no. I'm serious, it's cold.

Chris: I've been in Vegas this time of year. It's nice. It's cool. Still enjoyable.

Kirk: It was pretty nice when I arrived here at McCarran International yesterday. It really has turned cold. It's supposed to be cold tomorrow too. That's okay. CES is almost over. I'll share a couple things about CES. Let's bring in our guest and not waste any time on anything else. Let's bring in Tim Carroll. Tim is the president of Linear Acoustic. Hey Tim, how are you? Good evening.

Tim: Speaking of cold wind. I'm good, thanks Kirk. How are you guys?

Kirk: We're good. We're glad to have you in here. Tim is actually a colleague of mine at the Telos Alliance. Tim founded this company Linear Acoustic and joined up with the Telos Alliance a few years ago.

Tim, you're going to be talking to us about audio processing. But in your case, audio processing for television. Give us a little foreshadowing of what we'll be learning on our show this evening.

Tim: I think the one thing that is radically different is that processing for television has different goals than processing for radio. There's an old joke, television without pictures is radio but television without sound is surveillance.

The audio is important, but not in a soundscape sort of a way. We're not trying to paint a sound signature on a television station with processing. It's more for compliance and processing has turned into a crutch to fix things that really should be fixed in other ways. It is a bit different.

That was surprising for me to learn. My original background back to high school was radio, not television. We used processing for a completely different reason.

Kirk: Yeah. All right. You're going to be talking about the CALM act that we've heard some things about. The general public has heard about this. Certainly we in broadcasting have.

I'm excited to hear about what techniques that work well for television audio processing, that makes the audio just seem natural, and to go right along with the video we're enjoying.

As bad as when the audio doesn't match the video in some way, its tonality or loudness, or it's softness. I'm excited to be hearing about that and starting to understand more about audio processing for television. Our show is brought to you by the folks at the Telos Alliance, and specifically the Telos ProSTREAM.

We'll hear about that about halfway through the show. We'll take you on a little tour of the Telos ProSTREAM. It is CES week. It's been going on for the past three days.

Let's see. I've brought just a couple of things that I found at CES that might be worth our chatting about for a couple minutes here before we get into our hot topic. I got time to go through one half of one show floor at CES today.

One thing that I caught wind of before CES and saw today, we're going to start seeing Ubuntu on smart phones. At least, I hope we are. That's going to be pretty interesting to see Ubuntu on smart phones. If you've ever played with Linux, Ubuntu is a terrific release to play with. Especially for guys like me who are technically challenged just a bit.

They've got a lot of nice brochures about this. I'm sure you can go to the Ubuntu website and find out some of what they have to offer to smart phone makers. That'll be interesting. Chris Tobin, do you have any thoughts about Ubuntu on a smart phone as opposed to Android?

Chris: I think it's great. I enjoy the competition. There's more going on. Android, I find the implementation in various manufacturers as just sometimes annoying. I don't get the same experience with various brands. The Ubuntu looks good. The skin, I saw a video from CES. I'm not sure which booth had it. Somebody was showing the Ubuntu phone and the interface looked good.

The graphics looked very nice. Almost reminiscent of what looks like a Windows phone. I guess Windows 8 metro, that kind of thing. Why not? Let's see what happens. I'm a fan of opening it up, because I'm really annoyed and tired of having to be locked into a phone and a carrier and their way of doing things which is usually a crippled phone.

I've got several phones that we use for audio purposes. Every one of them has a crippled audio subsystem, because I didn't buy the particular carrier's audio or video service. Then when I get the same phone unlocked.

Did I say that? Then I use the same application software. Mysteriously, magically, it works very well. It's interesting, some of the things they're doing.

Kirk: Tim, are you the kind of guy that fiddles with your smart phone? Is it just an annoyance or a tool for you?

Tim: Generally the smart phone is an annoyance. I don't unlock. Not to defend the carriers, but there are things going on behind the scenes where the crippling, I think in some cases, is necessary to keep their network from being crippled. It's not the ultimate answer.

This goes back to Steve Church had a long conversation with a group of us, where he was saying the common carrier background is never going to be able to support what the consumer wants to do. I think, day by day, he's being proven more and more right.

Kirk: Yeah. There's a finite amount of bandwidth. It's not very elastic once we reach the boundaries of what our current technology can do. Am I totally wrong? Are they turning on a million smart phones a day? Or a million Android phones a day?

Chris: Something like that that's been touted about.

Kirk: Maybe on good days. There's another technology that I've seen at CES a few times. I just love this stuff. I've never played with it. Let me just tell you [inaudible 08:46] his age where at some point we're going to be starting to buy Lego blocks for him. Have you priced Lego blocks?

I'm thinking that for less money, I can buy one of these and make my own Lego blocks. This is one of those 3D printers from MakerBot. At their booth, they were printing up all kinds of cool things. 3D gear sculptures that worked. You ever play with one of these Chris?

Chris: No, I haven't but I did talk to someone who worked with a group, I think in Brooklyn. There's a MakerBot in Brooklyn at one of the companies. It's pretty cool. You know what's even more fun. When you see this and you read about it and watch the videos. You sit back and say to yourself, wow, just think, 20 or 30 years ago, this was science fiction. Now it's reality. It's so cool

Kirk: You're a bit limited in the sorts of things you can print. It's all made of this interesting material that is still a bit malleable slightly. You've got to print it one little layer at a time. They were printing up chess pieces on site. They were also printing up that interesting sculpture.

Maybe you've seen and extra print of where he takes a sculpture and peels it, like a peeled sculpture. They were printing stuff like that. Tim, are we going to print any Linear Acoustic processors with this, or is that still beyond the capabilities?

Tim: There are some that are pretty affordable. I think you'll see at least at least one in use at the Telos Alliance relatively soon.

Kirk: Really?

Tim: Yes sir. Because that material is malleable, we can form a mold around it, which becomes like an LP press. You make a positive and then a negative, and we can fill that negative with a material that's not quite as pliable.

Kirk: There's an idea. Yeah, okay. That an interesting idea.

Tim: We can break the test out in injection molding before we have an actual mold constructed for 40 or 50 thousand hours. Make sure that it's right. It's an amazing technology. Like Chris said, it's amazing that we're actually finally seeing this come to life.

Kirk: Skipping back to audio here. Whenever I go to any kind of show and I come across a booth where they have tube technology, I stop and salivate a little bit. And I drool on their tube amplifiers. I just think this stuff is so beautiful and so cool. These are pretty standard looking.

You see stuff like this at various shows here and there. But then they had the versions for your '90s and 2000's. Children of the '90s, where they have a USB input on the tube amplifier and a couple little tubes there on top, glowing. I think these would do about 12 watts at 1 kHz.

Then they had some pretty ones where they were brightly colored. There's an SD card, so I guess you can play your MP3s through the tube. I'm not sure if that softens them up or makes them better or not. I just love that stuff.

Chris: I want to see an E33 tube. That's what I want to see, an E33 tube with USB.

Kirk: They had some big honking tubes. I'm sorry. There were some 6SN7s I think.

Chris: That's an audio tube. Yeah, 6SN7, very popular. 12AX7, that's another one. 6L6, they were also metal tubes too. The glass ones were nice.

Kirk: Unfortunately, their specs here don't mention the tubes that are in use. I would've had to pay more attention at the booth. Finally, I did stop somewhere related to radio. I got to stop at the HD Radio booth and talk to Russ Mundschenk [SP]. Those of you in the radio business are familiar with Russ.

You know he was a radio engineer in Philadelphia for some time, before he went over to iBiquity. I'll tell you what. When you walk into the HD Radio booth at CES, the first things you see are a Ford, a Chevy, and a Dodge. Those models all come standard with HD radio.

The list now of cars in which HD Radio is either standard or available is pretty big. It used to be just the Audis or the Lexus of the world. Or maybe a Mercedes. Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom. But there's a huge list of Toyotas that comes with HD Radio or it's available.

A huge list of Ford cars. BMWs. Mercedes. Cadillac. Chevrolet. The Impala, Silverado, and the Traverse. Some of these, yes it is standard. On the Chevy Traverse, HD is standard. The Toyota Land Cruiser is standard. I guess it should be for the Land Cruiser price.

A lot of Lexus models, it's standard. All of the Volvo models, it's standard. From the C30 up to the XC90. My point is, we're finally getting some traction on HD Radio being out there.

Now whether or not people are listening, taking advantage of it, trying to tune in to the channels between the channels, as they have often called it. I don't know. I don't know what the uptake is in terms of listeners. But in terms of being available in cars, it's there.

Then there's this next radio project that we're going to do an interview with Paul Brenner in the coming weeks. Paul is going to come on and tell us about his experience with next radio and what's available in some of that metadata technology, including the traffic data.

I know the folks at Clear Channel have an agreement with iBiquity to get Garmin or Navteq, to get traffic data in all of the metropolitan areas. There's a lot going on there. It seems like most of my career, we've been talking about the introduction of HD Radio. Maybe it's finally somewhere. Chris, any comments on that, where you see HD Radio's uptake in the marketplace, if at all?

Chris: Well, I'm still on the fence as far as where HD Radio is moving along. I still think broadcasters need to come out and do more with it. Be more creative in offerings and not just rehashing what they already have.

Yeah, it's getting better. The choices. The metadata, I'll call it the metadata ancillary features, are starting to improve. I have friends of mine in brand new cars that don't even have HD Radio. XM, Sirius, everything else. Plenty of ports on the front of the dashboard to do everything but.

So I'm not sure. I think broadcasters still need to be a little more creative. Here in New York City, HD Radio channels, HDs two and three, it's okay. Why would I bother? Why spend the money? I hear that from a lot of folks who are not broadcasters.

Kirk: Would you say that the programming that we have on HD Radio, for the most part, is just not creative. It's just a lot of jukeboxes.

Chris: Yeah. I think the industry needs to wake up and realize the jukebox approach still is not the way to go any more since we have so many options. We need to be more creative. Think back in the days of the '30s, '40s, and then there was a small period of time, '60s and '70s when radio was playing music, music, and music.

But what was between the records? I think that's what we need to get back to. If you notice, a lot of cable stations, I'll call them that, cable stations that have a following. People follow these shows religiously or with passion.

If you notice, a lot of these cable channels are very creative in what they present and how they're doing it. When they muck it up by adding too many commercials, too many breaks, and disrupting that flow, how fast it drops. Radio has been in that boat now for 20 years and no one is paying attention.

Unless you have a format that's perishable, then you're lucky and you're the only one in town and you'll be fine. But if you're one of seven music stations in a market, and you have the same owner. You can't skin the cat that many times and make money off of it.

Kirk: Tim, you reside in a relatively rural area. Not a big market. Is there HD Radio? Is there any interest where you are in HD Radio?

Tim: There is some HD Radio on the air. My personal interest, I really thought it was going to be something special for AM, as the audio bandwidth kept getting ratcheted further and further back.

The blend from a marginal AM signal to the HD Radio version was pretty impressive. The blend inside of FM in my opinion, when a system is using the whole available data rate for the audio, the codec isn't really stressed.

But when you slice this up into HD two and HD three, it really pushes on that quality bar. It's not pushing it up. I'd love to say that maybe that's why there isn't the kind of interest that people were expecting, but then I tune into some of the services that come from geosynchronous and non-geosynchronous space, and that argument goes right the heck out the window.

Kirk: Where's the quality there? Where's the audio quality? Some of the content is pretty good.

Tim: You know where the quality is Kirk? The quality is going back to standard FM.

Kirk: Actually Tim, I'm glad you mentioned AM. I also heard from Russ Mundschenk today that they had been testing an all digital AM HD station. He told me where and I'm sorry I'm forgetting.

But it was in the expanded part of the dial. Like 1660 on the dial at 10 kilowatts. All digital. No hybrid operation. No analog. Just all digital HD where they were able to get real strength and substance in the carriers there.

They carried it 45 miles in full quality. I'm sorry, I don't know what the bit rate was on the codec, but obviously it can be higher than under the current hybrid AM model. They were pretty excited about it. Of course, doing that, you obliterate all of the analog AM radio use. You have to have an HD Radio for that.

We'll get Russ or someone else from iBiquity on the show within the next few weeks, and we'll get an update on that. Well, we've gotten a couple of highlights from CES and given a few thoughts on those things. Let's move into the meat and potatoes of this episode.

That's why we brought Tim Carroll from Linear Acoustic on. I'm glad he agreed to be on. In the news about TV audio processing lately, has been this CALM act. We heard about it two or three years ago when it was proposed. It was passed. Now it's gone into effect and stations have to comply with it. I don't know if that means all terrestrial TV stations, or if that means all cable channels as well.

Maybe Tim, you could tell us something about whatever you want to. I'm also interesting in hearing about some of your philosophy on audio processing for what is often dialog with a little bit of music. It's different than what we're used to in radio when you're processing audio for television.

Tim, maybe you could bring us into this subject of the CALM act however you'd like to. Where do you want to start?

Tim: Let's start with the ATSC, the Advanced Television Systems Committee. We've participated within the ATSC, or are a sponsor of the organization. That's the group that created the DTV standard for the US, Mexico, Canada, and South Korea. It's the system that uses MPEG-2 video and AC3 or Dolby Digital audio.

CALM is the culmination of several years of work. You might find this hard to believe, but the rules for consistent audio have been on the books for digital television since 1995. That's 17 years. That's how long they've been in the code of federal regulations.

CALM really was a method to compel the FCC to start enforcing something. That was the problem with the original text from the bill that Anna Eshoo in California introduced. Well intentioned.

Like with any regulation, it tends to have effects that people might not be expecting. If anybody was looking for a cure all for television loudness problems, certainly a piece of legislations, even though it passed unanimously through all of Congress, the CALM act isn't it. It's just the pointy edge of the arrow.

It gives a little bit of meat to rules that were in existence. In fact, the ATSC was already two years into a project creating what today is known as A/85. A/85 is the recommended practice for how to achieve loudness consistency.

What CALM did was essentially turn that recommended practice . . . CALM compelled the FCC who wrote a report in order. The report in order turned that recommended practice into the technical basis for how to achieve loudness consistency.

Between the report in order, which is probably a 70 plus page document and A/85, which is close to a 70 page document, it's a lot to digest. It's a lot more complex than, at least the details of how to achieve this can be a lot more complex than might be apparent.

But CALM is actually very simple. It can all be boiled down to something that everybody that is responsible for delivering a signal via television to consumers. This includes license broadcasters.

Low power television has a little way to go before they're covered by this. It covers cable and it covers satellite. Nobody is really off the hook here. What it is essentially telling them to do, is to not upset the viewers.

It seems ridiculous how simple that is, but that's what it comes down to. If you boil it down to its essence, what they say is, the FCC, we won't do anything unless we see repeated complaints. So if you're not getting complaints, you are compliant. Sounds amazing, doesn't it?

Kirk: The way you describe that Tim, sounds like a pretty effective way to write a rule, a piece of legislation, or an act. Do you find this agreeable, what's written?

Tim: Just like any rule that is that simple but then takes 70 pages to explain it, you can imagine that there's going to be some discussion about it. I think probably every broadcaster could agree there's at least one person in their audience that's gunning for them.

There's somebody that's going to complain. Somebody that wants to come by and look at the public file, just to look at the public access file. Somebody that's going to complain that close captioning isn't working. There's going to be a complainer. That is more an issue than anything else.

But the FCC got smart there too. They're not going to accept Mary Jones from Keokuk, Iowa calling 37 times to complain. They're going to see a pattern of a problem here, but it's probably not with the station if she's the only one complaining. Not to pick on any specific Mary Jones in lovely downtown Keokuk, Iowa.

But you can see that like with any report in order, any part of the code of federal regulations . . . When I was in college, one of the things we tried to interpret was part 15. How do you deal with low power. What do they really mean? I can read this rule six different ways.

Unfortunately with the actual report in order, you can read some of the technical details both ways. One page says, if you put a processor in, you're compliant. Another page says, but some people in the industry, and we know which part of the industry is saying this, that just processing might result in audio that has been affected too much.

So page after page it goes back and forth. But you can't misinterpret don't upset the audience. It's wonderfully simple. Now the interpretation comes out. What's going to make an audience happy? Is it audio that is extremely consistent? But it's very consistent because it's been heavily processed.

Is that going to make people happy? In certain parts of the country, absolutely. It's not a statement about anything other than, is television being watched actively? Are there home theater systems set up where people are expecting to hear DVD quality and DVD dynamics from a television station? Or have they given up on ever getting that from broadcast? The question gets a little more complex. This is where stations begin to interpret things a bit differently.

Quality is not the same as compliance. Being strictly compliant, by the letter of the law or even the spirit of the law, may not exactly deliver to the viewers what the station wants to deliver to the viewers.

This is where the technical stuff gets a little complex. How do you deliver a very wide program? Something that has lots of dynamics in it. A major action adventure movie, where the range between the quietest and the softest might be, on the DVD it might be 60 or 80 dB.

That's a gigantic range, even for a moderately quiet living room, which is probably looking for closer to maybe 20 dB maximum. How do you deliver that to those people that want that kind of range, and yet still satisfy the television set that's hanging in the corner grocery store, that's coming out of an ever shrinking speaker? I'm holding my hand up. This is probably being really generous these days. So it's complicated.

Kirk: Just now Tim, on the challenges of television processing. What I'd like to do is understand that a bit better, what the challenges are. I know it's very program dependent. If you're an affiliate replaying "The Price Is Right", you've got crowd noise and people yelling and the announcer going and music all the time.

It seems pretty consistent. But if you're playing a show that's very dramatic, and you want to keep that dramatic [inaudible 29:58] of the dialog, music effect, natural sounds, all that kind of thing.

And maybe a narrator would come on like Alistair Cooke to set it up [inaudible 30:16] going on. What are the most difficult challenges that people will face in providing consistent and proper audio from the type of program that's being presented?

Tim: I think if there was a specific genre for a television station, that would make things easier. I can think of a good example that occurred during the Olympics. I was in London assisting NBC.

We had the luxury of being able to hear the actual over the air broadcast from some of the cable networks and from WNBC in New York. So the encoded video and audio came back to us and we were able to modulate it and run it into a television set, and actually hear what a consumer might hear, it's interesting.

In Vancouver, we found that at least one of the cable networks, the processing had been tuned for a financial talk show. You can understand the reluctance of changing that processing on a successful cable network for a few hours of Olympic programming per night, and for the weekend as well.

What you had was processing that was really tuned for a single mic and occasional music and commercials. But fairly aggressive processing to keep that talk audio very consistent. Run figure skating into that, and all of a sudden you hear the heartbeat of the figure skaters and the announcers digesting dinner. It was tough to listen to.

We spent a lot of time working with NBC to retune the processing so that . . . A lot happened between Vancouver and London. It's a little more than two years. That was at the heart of the broadcasters actually, even without the help of CALM, the major broadcasters, the major networks, were getting in and improving consistency of their programming.

Really what that meant, was they could back the processing down significantly. We spent time pulling that processing back. What we ended up with was something that, for the financial broadcast, they were doing additional processing in the mixing console. So the processing existed either across the mix bus or in the channel strip.

The transmission processing was there more as protection and looking out for commercials that might be too loud. It pretty much left the audio that was coming from London unprocessed. It applied only a light degree of processing. It worked really well. But that was two years of work to make that happen.

The industry, I think, has dramatically improved since somebody got a bee in their bonnet about passing legislation, saying that the broadcast industry needs to make this better. They were well into this. Several years into this, by the time that legislation even passed the president's desk. By that time, consistency had improved a great deal.

Things aren't perfect. Television distribution is complicated. You have a situation where a service, let's say HBO, that's fully under the control of HBO. They control every second of that programming, whether it's delivered over cable or satellite. They control the interstitials that are inserted. There are no commercials inserted downstream. That makes it easier in that case.

Actually, the way the rules are written, it gives any broadcaster or multiple system operator who is carrying HBO the ability to say, HBO you need to certify that this stream is correct because if we're ever asked about it, we're going to point directly back at you. That's something that's sort of unique about the way the FCC decided to write the report in order.

They've really tried not to burden the end broadcaster. If they can show that what's being delivered to them, they can get a letter saying, we're certifying this audio is compliant. They're a little bit off the hook. I wouldn't say totally, because if they insert commercials, all bets are off.

They have to guarantee that insertion is not going to cause viewer complaints. A little bit of a twist in things, but still the goal is that simple rule, don't upset the viewer.

Kirk: Wow. This has been a great introduction to this. I'm eager to hear the second half of Tim's explanation of how they are solving the audio issues. Making things not only compliant, but making sure they sound good, as often as possible, if not all the time. And where those pieces of equipment go. Where do corrections go?

You are watching or listening to This Week In Radio Tech. I'm Kirk Harnack, your host. This is episode number 151.

We're here along with Chris Tobin from New York City. A former radio engineer, and now head of the guys over at Musicam USA. They're here. Also, our guest today is Tim Carroll with Linear Acoustic, known for their television audio processors.

So we're learning about compliance with the CALM act. Our show is brought to you by Telos, the Telos Alliance, and specifically this episode is brought to you by the Telos ProSTREAM. What is the ProSTREAM and why would you pay $2,000 for it, when you can do what it does for less money yourself?

We get asked that question sometimes. If you really enjoy playing with computers, and if you really enjoy keeping operating systems up to date and dealing with disk crashes and all that kind of thing, cooling issues, fans and all that, well of course you can do audio processing and stream encoding with a PC. And a lot of folks do that.

In fact, at my radio stations, we use a piece of software called Omnia A/XE to make it convenient and consistent.

But the Telos ProSTREAM is an appliance. It's an audio processing and stream encoding appliance. It also lets you insert metadata from your automation system, or maybe you have some software that collects and curates metadata from various sources, and schedules metadata to be put along with your stream.

So the ProSTREAM can do that. The ProSTREAM from Telos is a one rack unit. It's a little box. It's slim. It's compact. It doesn't require much power. You turn it on. You boot it up. You give it an IP address of where it's supposed to send your stream. You can then select any number of different audio encoding algorithms.

A lot of folks are turning to a derivative of AAC called HE-AAC v2. This is a very popular algorithm because all the smart phones will listen to this. Lots of other devices like iPads, Android tables, and computers of course, will decode and listen to this kind of coding. It sounds really good at low bit rates.

If you're transmitting across cellular phone networks, 3G and 4G networks, that's the kind of bit rate that you want. You want a low bit rate that sounds good. If you preprocess this audio using Omnia's A/X processing, that's built into the ProSTREAM, then you get audio that is properly configured, properly positioned for the encoder.

The Omnia processing inside consists of a wide band input AGC. Then a three band compressor. Then a look ahead limiter that's been very finely tuned and designed to not have any audio artifacts that look ahead limiters can have. The Omnia A/X processor is in there. The audio then goes to be encoded. The newest versions of software for the Telos ProSTREAM can do two encoders at the same time.

So you can encode one stream in MP3 at 128 kilobits if you like, and another stream at HE-AAC at 56 kilobits. Now, after the streams are encoded, you can also send them out to different replication servers. If you want to have geographically diverse replication servers, you can do that.

You can also serve a few streams out of the Telos ProSTREAM itself, for confidence monitoring, checking it from various places. But it's not meant for thousands of people to log into. It's not that kind of product. That's what a replication server will do.

You can also take the Telos ProSTREAM and send its stream to any one of a number of different services like Live365, like StreamOn, and you can use your own server like with ShoutCast or IceCast. All these possibilities are there.

Lots of broadcasters are using ProSTREAMs. We'd like you to check it out too. Check out the website. It's at telos-systems.com. You can go right to it by adding a slash prostream, telos-systems.com/prostream.

Check it out on the web. [inaudible 40:32]. Our guest, Tim Carroll, is describing [inaudible 40:39] television. Tim, thanks for hanging through the commercial break. Let's hear more about processing and fixing problems in television audio, and how we're getting that done.

Tim: Here's something that might be a little surprising. It turns out that loudness issues and dynamic range are related, but they are two separate things.

The systems for digital television, specifically Dolby Digital, want to keep them as two separate things, and it's important. Think about this. If you notice, most DVDs are encoded and they've got a loudness value that is tagged to them. It's part of metadata.

You mentioned metadata before. It's data about the audio data. Dolby Digital has metadata built in. One specific parameter called dial normal. It's essential a pointer towards what the average loudness of that program is. It's nothing more than that. The ranges from -1 to -31. So it's a 30 dB range.

It's essentially telling you and the consumer decoder what the average loudness of that audio is. So, -31 would be pretty quiet. -4 would be pretty loud. It's used by the consumer decoder to apply the inverse. Simply put, the target level for the consumer decoder is -31 dB full scale.

Think about it this way. If you have a program whose loudness average is at -31, that's the dial norm value you put in. No attenuation is applied. If you have a program that's louder, at -21, and that's the dial norm value that you enter, then 10 dB of attenuation is applied. It's a fixed 10 dB shift.

It doesn't affect dynamic range. It doesn't affect signal to noise ratio. The system can easily handle this. What it allows, is on a content by content basis, from one piece of content to the next, you could actually apply this value. Content A has a value of 31. Content B has a value of 21.

Content C is -11. It's going to apply in 1 dB steps, and it happens on almost a video frame boundary, once every 32 milliseconds. Dolby E is 33 milliseconds. It's a lot. It's very fast.

It will window that change. If it has to do 10 dB of change, it'll do an instantaneous change. There won't be any clicking or popping. What's interesting is if you were to grab a bunch of DVDs that represented movies done in the last 10 or 15 years, you would find that the average loudness of those DVDs was within about 4 dB. That's amazingly close.

I'll tell you, from having worked on the film stages why that is. When we calibrate a film stage with Dolby, we would put pink noise through the speakers and we would measure either using an expensive Larson Davis meter, a loudness meter, an SPL meter.

Or a very inexpensive Radio Shack meter, which ended up setting more Academy Award winning stages than any of the really expensive stuff. It's amazing. As long as you didn't drop it on its head, which completely killed the low frequency response, these things worked pretty good.

We'd use this very expensive BNK calibrator. We could've bought 30 loudness meters for the cost of this calibrator. And we check all the SPL meters. By calibrating that room so that on the console the 0 VU or -20 dB full scale, was actually putting out pink noise that was 85 dB C weighted slow. C-weighted and slow response for the meters. We're actually integrating.

The amazing thing is, this was happening, for decades this has gone on. That integration is what became the basis for loudness metering. Without even knowing it, we weren't actually making an electrical measurement.

Obviously we knew we weren't making an electrical measurement. We were making an acoustic measurement, that because it was C weighted and slow response, it was semi-integrating. We were calibrating the stages for loudness. That's why all these mixes ended up within 4 dB.

What's interesting about that is typical human hearing from person to person varies by about 4 dB. Pretty amazing. Now, this is important because, while this is true on film stages, it's not at all true, or hadn't been true, in television post production.

You post produce in TV, in general people were setting the monitors any level they wanted. It doesn't matter that the dialog was hitting 0 VU or -20 dB full scale. Some mixers would like to hear that loud. Some would like to hear it soft. Remarkably though, most television content, at least long form and even some shorter sitcoms, were also only within a few dB of each other. Much louder than film.

So film at 4 dB was somewhere between -27 and -31. Television mixes were closer to -20. That sort of makes sense. How it happened is still, I'm pausing because it's an amazing thing. It's certainly not describing everything.

But at least overall loudness, by overall, what we mean is we're measuring a piece of content for the length of that content. We're not interested in instantaneous values, because that's dynamic range. We're interested in, what is the average level of that content.

We focus on dialog. It's a good anchor element. Not everything has dialog, that's true. For an all music program, you would want to make that fit into surrounding programs that might have dialog. But most television has dialog in it. Dialog becomes a great anchor.

What we're interested in is, what is the average level of that dialog for that program?. That anchor is the point at which we have dynamic range around it. The gun fight will get louder. The death scene will get quieter. That dynamic range shouldn't be mistaken for the loudness of the program.

Here's where things get mushed together. You can use a dynamic range processor. So a standard multi-band or wide band processor, to turn the gain down when the audio is loud, and turn the gain up when the audio is quiet.

Essentially, if the dialog is the anchor, and the program is mixed so that at any given moment, an equal amount of loud and soft are around that center. Reducing the dynamic range allows you to create this nice dense package which you can then park at some loudness value and broadcast it that way.

We've just solved loudness problems. If we run everything through this sausage machine that controls the dynamic range and keeps it around that center, we don't have loudness problems. The problem with that is, we also don't have dynamic range.

Kirk: Yeah.

Chris: Sounds like FM broadcasting.

Tim: It works for music. Sadly, at least with a lot of what's being mastered today, doesn't start with much dynamic range. But it's different when you've got long pauses in the audio. When you've got, as you mentioned before Kirk, dialog and crowd noise behind it, you really don't want the crowd noise and the dialog to be at equal levels.

You don't want the crickets to be at the same loudness as the announcer's voice in golf. You certainly don't want the crickets brought up until somebody swings the club, and then the crickets get dropped through the floor. That's when you start to hear pumping and breathing. It's these long gaps that are a problem.

So what do we do? That's been the drive in the industry since the beginning of introducing Dolby Digital into broadcast. It was easy in film. Again, with all of that content already being pretty much correct, there wasn't a whole heck of a lot of work to do there.

But with broadcast, it was everything. Everything had to be gotten correct from day one. Now, there's no doubt, by and large commercials are louder than surrounding content. Not always, but a lot. As metering was developed, we have a thing called the ITU standard. It's called ITU-R BS.1770.

It's actually a relatively short document. Unlike the other two, which are lengthy and not recommended right before bedtime. BS.1770 is a technical read, but it's really not too bad. Essentially, it describes how to measure loudness in a standardized way. We're up to revision three.

Within that document, what it talks about is measuring over the length of a program. You're storing these values. You're making readings every 400 milliseconds and storing these values into this integrator. For a 30 minute program, you store 30 minutes worth of values.

At the end of that, you get a number that tells you what the average was. Now, you can imagine in the 30 minute average, the first 30 seconds are going to do a lot. The last 30 seconds, even if it was a near full scale explosion, probably aren't going to move that meter by very much.

But it is going to give you an average that agrees with what human listeners determine the average to be. As these things always seem to work out, the beginning of the ITU process, there were a whole bunch of very complicated meters, and some super simple meters that got submitted for consideration. It's probably not going to surprise you to know that the very simplest meter is the one that was the most accurate.

The ones that tried to outsmart the listener, there was always some piece of content that would cause the algorithm to fail. So what can we do with these meters? If you're mixing live, you can look at the meter and make sure that your loudness is consistent.

This is what we did at the Olympics and it's what will continue to be done at the Olympics. We didn't replace the mixer's meters that they're used to. We didn't replace the VU meter or a PPM meter, or even straight peak meters. It's in addition to that metering. It just lets you know where you're at.

For live mixing, obviously we don't want to set the integration to infinite, because 30 minutes into water polo, that meter is not going to be moving any more. We set the integrator to be faster, so 10 seconds. It's very much like a speedometer.

Hopefully you're not driving the car looking at the speedometer like this. You're hopefully driving the car and glancing at the speedometer every now and then. That's exactly how a loudness meter for live content should be used.

Now, content like commercials, we can actually used automated processes that will in fact measure the entire piece of content and come up with a number. Then we can also use an automated process, this can all happen faster than real time. There's tons of tools out there.

We have some, along with Woller. Dolby has some. There's tons of tools available. You can then scale that content. If your broadcast target is, let's say, -24, you can align all of your adverts and your short and long form programming to that -24. It doesn't do it by compressing, it does it by measuring, finding the average, and scaling the whole thing.

Kirk: Wow.

Tim: So what we've done though Kirk, we've now gotten loudness consistent. But we can still have that gun fight, which could be lots of dynamic range, probably too much. We can also, and this is the tough part, think of this.

We can have a commercial that measures perfectly at -24. We can have a wide dynamic range 15 minute segment of a hospital drama, because there's 8 trillion of those on television. We can line those averages up, so that on average, the dialog in the commercial and the dialog in the long form content are correct.

The problem is, at the end of that 30 minute segment, dialog gets quiet. Somebody is in bed. They're going to pass away. It's a horrible thing. The doctors are whispering. Then all of a sudden, you hit this commercial, which is correct. But you've got a 6, 8, or 9 dB difference in loudness.

Psychologically, that's not the same as hearing a gunshot. You see the gun go off, you expect a 6 or 8 dB, maybe even more, change in level. After a death scene, no matter how well intentioned that shampoo commercial is, a 6 or 8 dB jump is going to be annoying, and you're going to be on the FCC website trying to see how to complain.

It's annoying. What we have is no longer a loudness problem, it's a dynamic range problem. But now, how do we solve dynamic range problems without permanently altering the content? Because if we do it that way for services that have advertisements inserted, what about the services that broadcast movies? Who also would have perhaps an extended section of loud content that would need to be brought under control?

How do we do that without doing it permanently? And how do we have that movie channel coexist on the same cable or satellite service, a broadcaster that's also inserting commercials, has to exist on. The answer actually comes back to metadata.

Again, metadata is as old as the rules on the books, at least for Dolby Digital. It's more than 17 years old at this point. It probably hasn't been used to its best advantage. But that metadata can actually control dynamic range without touching loudness. Remember loudness is dial norm.

Dynamic range control is dynamic range control. There are ways to do this, and as an industry, now that we understand, I think broadcasters understand in general what the problem is and how to improve things, now the focus is shifting to how do we do this and not completely throw away the quality. I told you it was complex.

Kirk: Yeah. All right. I'm at the cliff here. How do we do that? I suppose the answer is coming.

Chris: You could do like the FM music stations did over the years. You could buy SelectOver and program your commercials that have loud intros with a certain category and soft intros, and match them up with the programs when you come out of the program segment. You could do it that way, like they used to do with jingles and things of that sort. Or you can educate the TV industry to find a way to stop too much AGC along the downstream side. If you're not on HBO that is. You're lucky to have end to end.

I have loudness meters set up on my TV with my cable service. It's amazing the amount of difference, as Tim points out, between dynamic range and everything else. Or just loudness or what people perceive.

Then, there are some channels that are just loud. Literally, you go from channel to channel and everything is just loud. It's interesting. And yet there are programs that are produced, like Hollywood shows, that are perfect.

As Tim points out, it's ideal. It's exactly what you said. Whether it be 1770 reading, what is it, the LKFS? NVU, PPM, reconstructive peaks, the whole bit. And you're like, wow that's great. Then you go into a commercial and you can look on a scope.

That commercial is quite dense. I don't think it's because it's just loud. It's like the typical, we're processing with something. It's going to be interesting. Just as a side note, Tim's presentation at the SMTY meeting in New York City, at 30 Rockefeller Center last year, touched on this and the folks from Fox and NBC and a few other networks talked about the difficulties, as Tim pointed out, of the complexity of, I'll just call it, television distribution and how it's not as simple.

Tim is right. It's going to be a very difficult path to travel down to find ways of what makes perceived loudness, dynamic range, dial norm, who is picking what, right and wrong. And then going from there. I think I have that in general terms, right Tim?

Tim: I think so. You're right.

Kirk: I'm good at understanding a bit about the metadata and describing the loudness of a program or a commercial. I'm not clear at all, and I hope you're going to clear me up here, what happens at the transition point of these two things?

The program doesn't know anything about the commercial that's coming up. The commercial doesn't know anything about the program that just preceded it. What happens at that inflection point?

Chris: That's the problem. That's what the FM and AM stations have had for year, between segments and programs.

Kirk: They just compress and limit the hell out of everything, but that's not what we want to do with television.

Chris: Yeah, I know that. But when I was working with some programmers, and the program was called Selector, if you're FM or AM music station, Selector is the de facto program. I would sit with these guys and ask them, how do you know this? What you do is you've got categories.

This particular song and artist is in a category we consider loud in, soft out. Or soft in, loud out. So then I program it so that anything following that will complement that. That way I can transition from commercial breaks in and out softly or hard.

I worked at stations that were hot ACs and I worked for the soft AC or easy listening station, so you can't have anything too loud at all. It was interesting. When you did it right, it took hours of programming.

The program director would sit there and go through every song in the library. Then, find out which commercials and tell production, when you produce commercials, this is the code I want you to use for loud in or soft out, or whatever it is. He would take those codes and match them up to his music categories.

When it was right, it did exactly as Tim pointed out how TV should sound. Where the dynamic range is where it should be and loudness is where it should be, and the perceived reception or audio to the listener was comfortable. There was no annoyance.

To do that in television, and the nice thing is the TV has the metadata capability. You still have to have somebody say, okay, this is a show called Gossip Girl. At this break, at 10:30, we're going to have a break.

The commercial starts off. It's going to be a loud intro. But that segment coming out of Gossip Girl is soft. Who dictates which way and how is that going to be interpreted? That's what it really comes down to.

Kirk: I'm guessing that doesn't happen at all. As I mentioned earlier, the TV program has no knowledge of what commercial is coming after it and vice versa, in radio, what you just described Chris, is a wonderful situation.

If you can get that feedback loop going and you have an idea of the characterization of the beginning and end of these various segments, songs, and commercials. I'm impressed that you had PDs that would do that. I didn't work with PDs that would . . .

They would try to keep two female singers from back to back, or whatever silly things they would do. But this loudness issue, sure, we did this with jingles, you'd come out of a quiet song that ended quietly. You had a jingle at that point. You'd pick the jingle that begins slowly and quietly and builds up and exits on to the next fast song. That's what I want to know about from Tim.

What do we do in television? Is it like that, that there's foreknowledge of the next commercial coming up? Or we just have to deal with what comes down the pike on the fly?

Tim: I think it's a good question. It is possible to do that. The automation systems are massive for television. They're describing video events and audio events. Are there fields for that? Absolutely. Is there staff that can take the time to do this? Probably not. The thing that unfortunately kills this is if you have a network broadcast.

Let's make a station up. WXGQ in New York. They're carrying a network broadcast. Let's say the network has certified that what they're delivering is consistent. You know from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. that you have audio that will be compliant. If it's not, it's really the network's fault. That's only partially true, because during that time, there's also local avails, where local commercials will be inserted. But still, that's not a daunting problem.

A programmer could sit down and analyze the programming that the commercials are going into. It's really traffic that decides what gets played when for a myriad of reasons. The order is done in the order it's done in.

But could it be done? Absolutely, between 8 and 11, then before 8 and after 11 you could day park the processing to apply more aggressive dynamic range control.

But here's where this comes apart. When you step outside of the HBO's and Cinemax's, and outside of a local broadcaster that has those controls, and go to a cable network. It's not fair to call it a cable network, but a network from an MVPD, a multiple video program distributor. They have control over that to a point, but those local avails are completely blindly inserted.

There's one cable system that manages all of this out of Texas. They are distributing the commercials out to head ends over broadband networks, because their business is broadband. They're able to get these commercials out to local insertion servers that are inserting them into that program stream.

Now, they have absolutely no idea what they're inserting into. Even if that piece of commercial content is pre encoded correctly, you're right. What do we know about the beginning of that commercial and the end of that program that it's going to be inserted into? That's where it becomes something that's beyond automation.

They wouldn't have that feedback from the MVPD to know what they're inserting into. That's where straight scaling, where we're matching averages. The averages can be made to work out. It's these boundary issues and the dynamic range within a program that require dynamic range control.

You asked about a solution. I think if the industry does part of this, and gets the averages matched, and then we end up with interstitial issues, so the boundary issues that our measurements have shown are probably 6 or 9 dB maximum. There are things that we can do to improve that.

We can do it in the metadata domain. That means that we're not actually touching the original programming. We can make a change like that. We do have the ability. Remember that video encoding, as you guys have experienced, certainly with the things you do on this network.

Video encoding takes time. It takes time if the bit rate has to be extremely low. It also takes time if the bit rate is higher but you want the quality to also be as good as it can be. Some MPEG-2 encoding can take seconds. The earliest stuff was many seconds. Certainly it can happen faster than that today. Why not put that time to use? Why not put other delays to use? Why not build systems that really look at more of the programming?

Now, there's a limit. Somebody said, if you can look at 30 minutes of programming, you could decide what to do. It turns out you can't do it any better than looking very closely at the last under a second's worth of audio. You can certainly tell what's coming and where it's going.

Are there solutions to this? Absolutely.

The thing that we're up against though, Kirk, is that the easiest thing to do is to process and over process. It's cheap. It doesn't require an insurance plan or benefits. It's there on Christmas Eve without complaint. It just runs and runs and run.

As a processing manufacturer, I feel disingenuous in saying, but that's not really the best answer. But it's not, because of metadata and because of a metadata system that's built into every single consumer decoder.

They all have it. There is no question that it exists. Unlike some HE- AAC decoders where metadata is optional. There are only certain devices where you can guarantee that it's present.

We've gone through this with mobile television, but that's for another episode. I can say with certainty that every Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital plus decoder out there has functioning metadata capability in it, and they all react the same way.

I think what you're going to see, at least from us, is more of a shift towards focusing on what we can get done in the metadata domain and leave the original audio alone.

Chris: I would agree. I think Tim has hit the nail on the head, if you will. You don't have control of boundaries, absolutely. The insertion, I can hear it on my cable service, or MVPD. It's obvious that it's the processing that's being used is the catch base to keep things somewhat in check so they don't get a phone call or the website doesn't become active now that the CALM act is running wild.

I think processing is going to have to do it properly. It's the old saying that it's subjective. If the industry could find a way, program originators and folks like that, maybe if you pushed or developed policies that could help folks that produce this product to keep it in the ranges.

As Tim pointed out, if we had certain boundaries of the audio spectrum and where things are so when it's mismatched, it's close. It's not exactly on target, but it's close enough that it may not upset the person sitting on the couch.

All of a sudden, find themselves going, whoa, what was that. I can say that working at several radio stations and one in particular I worked with the production staff. We came up with, it's basically like A/85 and all this stuff, coming up with dial normal.

We came up with a certain threshold for all recordings at the radio station for spots. By doing that, we were able to stay within a certain boundary. Ad agency spots from the ad agencies that we didn't produce, but national ads which were all over the place, we just run it through. We use peak metering. Not based on 1770, but close.

The guys in production would just bring it down, put it where it needed to be, put it in the automation system. No matter where that commercial wound up within the network of stations we had, the audio on the air, depending on where it played, would be really close.

On some stations we had, it was right on the money. Others, it was a little off, but no more than maybe 2 or 3 dB, or 4 at best. So it worked. It took a lot of work, yes. The staff in place did do it. But the policy came down from the top.

Over time, everything became very consistent. All of a sudden, people started to notice when our station was on the radio, they were like, wow, no matter what happens it's always consistent. When they compared to the others, it was all over the place. It was the same spot being played. We had compliance.

Even saying, wait a minute, this stuff sounds better on your radio station than it does on the other guys I bought time on. It took time for that to suddenly develop. But TV, people are in place. There are production facilities.

I've worked with some editors that I say, the audio seems kind of low. No it's not, the metering is fine. It's perfect. I'm like, okay, whatever you say. Then the finished product is all over the place. Nobody seemed to care.

Maybe that's another approach. I don't think you'll ever be able to get the metadata to match up the way we'd like it to. It would be nice, but you're right. There's no health care and no holiday work that I was to worry about with the other box.

Tim: I'm not sure that the metadata can't be made to match

Chris: I think it could

Tim: It doesn't actually have to be done upstream. Why couldn't that happen in transmission?

Chris: That would be similar to what we do with production guys. We receive agency stuff in. Took care of it in the production studio before it went in to automation. Then when it went downstream to the rest of the transmitters and everything else, it was where it should be.

Tim: You raise a good point. I think the networks have opened up about their program delivery specs. You can now easily access all of that from all of the major networks. ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, they're all available online.

They specify so that there is no misinterpreting. They specify what the maximum true peak should be. They specify what the loudness should be, and that it is BS.1770-2 or -3. The only difference between those, in case anybody is getting nervous, is there's a difference in the way the true peak metering is done.

It's actually leaving off some stuff that most of us left off anyway. It's mostly a procedural change. It's not a change in how loudness is measured. But definitely between 1770-1 and -2, there was a change to how loudness was measured.

But as long as you're using BS.1770 . . . You know, this is what CALM gives the broadcaster. They can go back to the ad houses and say, I'm sorry. This isn't compliant. You either make it compliant or we're going to have to. But we can't air it this way. It's illegal for us to do it.

If CALM has done one good thing, that's what I meant about the sharp point of the arrow, its finally given broadcasters the ability to go back and say this isn't right. Even though CALM actually only applies to commercial audio, the Commercial Audio Loudness Mitigation act, the spirit of the rule says the audio shall be consistent.

And so, program delivery specs are being pushed back upstream for everybody that's delivering content. It's really in everybody's best interest to, as Chris was explaining, to have some consistency before it arrives at a station.

But now the networks have the courage and the backbone to stand up and say, nope, it's not right. Fix it or we will. Believe it or not, we're not going to air it. That's a tough thing to say about a Pepsi spot or a Coke spot or a Toyota spot.

Kirk: But now you can, and it's no longer a subjective thing that the TV station is saying. It's look here, it's not compliant. We can't air this. But you can fix it.

Tim: Or we can.

Kirk: Or we can, yeah. Tim, we have run plumb out of time. Is there any final thing you'd like us to know about what we've been talking about, before we have to close the show out?

Tim: I don't mean to do an overt plug, but there is a good bit of information available on the web. Certainly ATSC.org, you can download a free copy of A/85. There is a new version coming. It adds into it the latest ITU spec. Stay tuned.

That's in process. It is just about to be released. There is a five or six page FAQ in that document. It's sort of a get started quick guide that really summarizes the key points. The report in order, if you can handle it, is always worth looking at.

I would encourage people to visit the Linear Acoustic website. you can go to telosalliance.com and it'll direct you over. Or you can go directly to linearacoustic.com. If anybody has any questions, we're always here and we're always interested in talking to people.

At all of Telos, we really believe in having a human being on the other side of the phone. You can connect to other human beings like Kirk and I. We're in this for the long haul.

At Linear, we really focus on digital television audio. We're not building video DA's or Proc Amps. We're focused on television audio. If there's anything that we can do, we're happy to.

Kirk: I'll put some links in the show notes that'll go up on the gfqnetwork.com website, and also on our own website, which is thisweekinradiotech.com. Those will be part of the show notes that we'll link to Linear Acoustic. Are there some white papers or other forms of explanation there, that folks could download?

Tim: Yup. There's an FAQ about CALM. A lot of the stuff that's posted is meant as a technical education. Unless you download a spec sheet which is product specific, the tech notes are really about technical issues and are meant to be educational and less of a sales pitch. But there's a good bit to read. I think A/85 will keep most people busy. It's a lengthy one.

Kirk: I'll link to that too. I sure will. We've got to go. We've gone an hour and 15 minutes. I have enjoyed every bit of it. I think I'm going to have to review a couple of things to understand it better.

I'm going to go to the websites at ATSC.org and get this A/85 document. We'll put that in the show notes as well.

Tim Carroll, thank you so much for taking time away from your family and being with us this evening. I appreciate it very, very much.

Tim: Kirk, thanks. I appreciate it. It's been a couple times that we've tried to get together on this. I'm glad that you were able to make the time. It's an interesting thing that you're doing here. And with four kids, I appreciate the break.

Kirk: Well, there is that. Congratulations on the latest one. That's awesome. Chris Tobin, thank you for being here with us as well.

Chris: No problem. I enjoy it. Like I said, Tim's talk at 30 Rockefeller Center with the SMTE folks last year was quite enlightening. It actually hit the nerve with a few folks in the audience.

The gentleman from NBC, I can't think of his name, was very particular about if the industry and the folks involved just paid attention, things could really work out and everybody could enjoy the CALM act and not have to worry about that government person knocking at their door when somebody or a group of people complain.

Tim: Yeah, it was Jim Starzinsky.

Chris: That's it, Jim.

Tim: Jim is the chair of the group S63, which is where A/85 came from. Yeoman's work. Lot of hours in the back. It's a tough haul. Chris, thanks. You brought up some really good points. It's going to take a lot of thinking and a lot of work. As long as we keep doing both, I think we'll get there.

Chris: Absolutely.

Kirk: Gentlemen, thanks again.

You have been watching or listening to This Week In Radio Tech episode 151, with Tim Carroll. If you like this show, you can certainly download it. You can watch it, and you can subscribe to the audio or video feeds by looking at the gfqnetwork.com website and finding this episode and clicking the appropriate links to either, download, watch, or subscribe to the RSS feeds.

Thanks a lot to Andrew Zarian at the GFQ Network for switching the show and helping us out quite a bit. Always being there to make the show happen. Thanks again to Tim and to Chris Tobin.

We'll be back next week with another episode of This Week In Radio Tech. Bye-bye everyone.

[Announcements: That's all the bandwidth we can pilfer this week. Another tort has propagated and all the transmitters and audio equipment live happily ever after, thanks to the handsome engineer and his kind, benevolent care.

We'll be back next week. This Week in Radio Tech. Subscribe to iTunes and you'll never miss a show. Search for This Week In Radio Tech in the iTunes store. Soliciting is strictly encouraged.

If you liked today's show, tell a friend. If you didn't like it, we were never here.

Kirk Harnack's wardrobe provided by the Salvation Army and the Red Cross disaster relief services. Hair and makeup provided by Penny Lopay Garcia Hernandez Weinburg. This ends this transmission. Tango Whiskey India Romeo tango, signing off. Okay.]

Topics: Linear Acoustic