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Cox Officials Outline Cause of Loud Commercials Amid Complaints

In response to the discussion of overamped commercials appearing on Cox cable, General Sales Manager of Cox Media West Texas Randy Anderson forwarded me what appears to be an e-mail from Cox Technical Operations Manager for Cox Media Central Group Jeff Blaszak outlining the cause of the problem.

It appears Cox officials have received several complaints about the issue, and may be prepared to take action if the problem persists.

Here is the full version of the communique:

—–Original Message—–

From: Blaszak, Jeff (CMI-College Station)

Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 5:48 PM

To: Anderson, Randy (CMI-Lubbock); LaFreniere, Larry (CCI-Lubbock);

Linton, John (CCI-Lubbock)

Subject: RE: Re: General Questions

Randy –

I know we keep saying this but it really is true. All of our

commercials are technically the same volume. By technically I am

referring to the fact that every spot peaks at the same level when we

encode it. Some spots have a more apparent loudness because of the

fidelity of the spot. Spots with better produced audio (typically Cox,

Network promos, and Car dealers) have compressed frequencies which make

them sound louder (like pressing the loudness button on your stereo)

than certain programming and other spots even tough on the audio meter

they still peak at the same volume level.

There may also be a problem with fluctuating audio levels in the headend

(although we may already be controlling this with automatic gain control

devices). If the network or program is quieter all of our spots will

sound louder in comparison. The Headend Techs are typically pretty good

at keeping audio levels on the networks even day to day, network to

network.

If you believe there is a problem with audio levels on a specific spot

or the audio levels on all spots on a particular network these are

indicators of problems that can be fixed. It might be a good idea to

record cable networks that you think may have a problem so that we can

hear the variations and determine what can be done.

If you have received three complaints already, it is certainly worth

investigating.

—–Original Message—–

From: Anderson, Randy (CMI-Lubbock)

Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 3:43 PM

To: LaFreniere, Larry (CCI-Lubbock); Linton, John (CCI-Lubbock);

Blaszak, Jeff (CMI-College Station)

Subject: FW: Re: General Questions

This is the third one of these I’ve gotten in the last few weeks.

I brought this up some time back, and it was concluded that nothing

could be identified that was causing this.

As many times as it is being pointed out, I have to think there are a

lot more people who notice it but aren’t inquiring about it, and I often

notice it myself. I can attest to the fact that it is often car dealer

spots, and I think people jump to the conclusion that they (the car

dealers) or we are purposefully trying to do it to help “sell cars”.

I get that speech from my father-in-law every time we’re together

watching TV, whether at his house or my house.

How can we identify where the problem is here?

Anderson’s observations regarding the car dealers is significant. It would seem that overamped volume would only result in viewers turning down the commercial, or changing the channel entirely — instances that are counterproductive to the goal of advertising to begin with to say the least.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous August 21, 2006, 10:54 pm

    I live in San Diego and it is the same thing here. compared with the low band frequency channels it not so bad. but with the higher band frequency channels it a big problem I have blown two receivers and cox blamed me that the cause is my falt. i did a test to check the dB levels on the RCA side when spots came on a 20 dB jump ouch that’s high! but this should be fixed with automatic gain control on the cable box. for the people with entertainment system should perches automatic gain control and connect it to the RCA auido side that fixed it for me no more plown receivers :)cox needs to do this with the internal part of the cable box

  • The Cyndicate May 10, 2009, 5:54 am

    The Commercials ARE louder!

    I live in Las Vegas, I am a COX Customer. This COX guy is flat out lying & I can prove it.

    This guy might fool people that do not understand this technology very well, but he can not fool me. Considering it is ALREADY Illegal to purposely make commercials loud via the FCC, he tries to deny understanding it to avoid prosecution.

    Watch "Fear Net" on Cox via the "On-Demand" channel( Channel 1). You will see just how quite the movies are, when the commercials come on, they are at least 6 db louder. Unlike most people, I have a VERY expensive audio set up hooked up to my Digital Cable Box. Since I am an audio producer, I have very complicated & detailed equipment. I swear to you, via a simple test, ALL levels of ALL frequencies are louder when this happens. I have to use a normalizer to fix the issue. But the report across the board proves that they purposely raise the volume.

    As far as fixing it, a teenager could fix it with relatively cheap equipment from within the Cox office. A simple normalizer would do the trick. His excuse for certain frequencies being louder it a lie and a joke. I have done work on commercails. They breif the producers that certain freqencies will be louder if all the others are turned way down. This makes the base normalizer at Cox, turn the loudest section to the highest level. THEY are the ones that tell you how to do it!

    Even the cheapest normalizer will let you set up EVERY frequency to be individually "Normalized".

    I want them to get what they deserve for it and hopefully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    So this is a flat out lie and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for it. They obviously lie about it while doing it on purpose for the highest bidder. When it comes down to it, they are just cheap, scam artists and common thieves.

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