PRSS delays fix for audio levels

The Public Radio Satellite System has pushed back its plan to change the level at which it provides audio to member stations.

Fix to pubradio’s loudness problem rolls out to stations

Sssshhh . . . the sound of public radio is about to get a little quieter. But if all goes according to a plan unveiled last month by the Public Radio Satellite Service, listeners won’t notice the change in audio levels for programs distributed to stations around the country.

Public Radio Satellite System adopts new standard for audio levels

The Public Radio Satellite System adopted standards Thursday intended to normalize audio levels among the programs it distributes to stations. PRSS adopted an audio measurement standard using a number to denote audio levels, instead of the longtime industry standard of peak meters. Decibel measurements provided by meters are largely subjective. The loudness unit adopted by PRSS is used by organizations around the world. Because PBS also uses it, joint licensees can now rely on a single standard, which will simplify operations, according to the PRSS working group that approved the change.

Working group nears standard for audio levels in PRSS content

Members of an NPR working group aiming to standardize levels of audio content delivered via the Public Radio Satellite System believe they have found one possible solution to the problem. Programs sent to stations through the PRSS vary widely in volume and may detract from the listener’s experience, according to Chris Nelson, NPR’s director of digital strategy. In May, Nelson shared with the NPR Board results of a study in which about 53 percent of the content examined by the working group deviated from standards PRSS recommends for consistent volumes. The group aims to give stations and producers affordable best practices and resources to help solve the problem. At a meeting Thursday of NPR’s board, Nelson told board members that the working group has consulted with producers and engineers about the issue and conducted a survey to learn how the problem affects stations that use and contribute PRSS content.