nielsen Voltair 200

Radio’s juiciest story of 2015 will be the subject of companion 30-minute Radio Show sessions next Thursday as executives from Voltair developer 25-Seven Systems, and Nielsen, host separate but very much related updates on audio encoding technology.

Geoff Steadman, founder and VP of 25-Seven Systems, plans to show how Voltair-equipped stations can correlate PPM watermarking quality with other metrics to glean new insights into their station operations and potentially inform large-scale programming decisions. Steadman is likely to talk up new data analysis tools that have been added to the latest iteration of the audio processor which allow stations to download spreadsheets containing historical encoding confidence data at intervals as small as 4.5 seconds.

One hour after Steadman leaves the stage, Nielsen will provide an update on its critical band encoding technology (CBET), which it has been testing in the Baltimore and Washington, DC markets. Broadcasters are hoping the session will offer a peek at the results. Nielsen is dispatching its top stakeholders in the encoding controversy, Matt O’Grady, managing director, local media, USA; and chief engineer Arun Ramaswamy. They have the chance, in a public setting, to disclose specifics about Nielsen’s encoding improvement plans and all the thorny issues they raise, such as how they may impact clients currently using Voltair.

“This is an opportunity for Nielsen to clear the air on the non-fact-based paranoia that exists and offer more transparency on the testing process, results and plans to improve the encoders,” says one programmer. “They have the opportunity to finally bridge the communication gap that has existed around this issue since Day 1.”