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:
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
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
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
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.