For about a year now, Wayne Dykes and his team have been prepping for legislation that ensures the average sound on commercials doesn’t exceed the
programming. As CEO of SpotGenie, which digitally delivers ads to stations and networks, Dykes feels his company is ready. As for the industry? That may take some time.
SpotGenie has found that up to 30% of the ads it deals with would violate what’s known as the CALM Act, scheduled to go into effect in December. One reason: ad delivery operations such as SpotGenie may be using different software algorithms to gauge sound levels than stations, networks or cable operators, Dykes said.
While he does expect it to be corrected with updates and efforts at coordination, he said: “Not all the equipment measures it the same way. It really is kind of a mess right now.”
SpotGenie is adding a quality-control measure for its SpotCheck system, which will automatically gauge loudness to guarantee that an ad meets FCC standards. The system already runs quality-control checks on about 25 specifications for ads it places.
When CALM is implemented, ads that don’t meet the standards will be “kicked back” to agencies for remixing. Dykes suggested that agencies might want to work on awareness with their partners. “I’m not sure that the mixers are even aware of this standard,” Dykes said. “They don’t deal with the broadcast world directly.”
Atlanta-based SpotGenie works with over 100 agencies, as well as hundreds of stations and cable operators and about 10 national networks.