PRSS Releases New Broadcast Loudness Standard

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The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) has issued a new broadcast loudness standard aimed at normalizing audio levels among programs. In the coming months, the PRSS Network Operations Center (NOC) will begin to monitor all program levels and will notify producers whose content does not meet the standard. The goal of this initiative is to standardize audio levels within ContentDepot material using tools that measure sound levels according to how the human ear hears them in order to produce a better listener experience. The standard is the product of more than a year of collaborative work by the PRSS, which consulted with a variety of producing organizations including NPR and American Public Media (APM) that are already using loudness measuring tools for their content.
 
The PRSS Audio Loudness Standard has been set at -24 LUFS, ± 2 LU, with audio peaks ≤ -3 dBFS for sample peaks or ≤ -2 dBTP for true peaks, meaning producers should strive to set their programs’ audio levels at -24 Loudness Units Relative to Full Scale (LUFS), with a deviation range of plus or minus two Loudness Units. The standard also sets an audio peak at or below -3 decibels relative to full scale if using a peak program meter (PPM) or -2 dBTP if using a true peak meter (TPM). (The full PRSS Loudness Standard is available for review at www.prss.org/loudness)
 
With the audio standard established, the PRSS, working with NPR, APM, Public Radio International (PRI) and other producers, will now follow a two-track program. The first track involves educating the producer community on the existence of the standard, advising producers on how best to comply with the standard, and ensuring training resources and other communications are available. The second track involves monitoring the programs, both live streams and files, and working with those producers whose programs do not meet the standard.
 
A website has been established at www.prss.org/loudness to store all training materials and communications resources. As new documents are finalized, they will be posted to the site.
 
The PRSS also plans to hold a webinar on January 28, 2015 (time to be confirmed) aimed at providing producers, producing stations, and stations:
 
•         An overview of the PRSS audio loudness standard
•         Information about how the PRSS will monitor program loudness
•         A sampling of hardware and software tools that producers can use to assist with compliance
•         An opportunity to make comments and ask questions.
 
Additional details on the PRSS audio loudness standard were published recently in Radio World (http://www.radioworld.com/article/progress-on-pubcaster-audio-level-bounce-issue/273273) and in Current (http://www.current.org/2014/11/public-radio-satellite-system-adopts-new-standard-for-audio-levels/).
 
Going forward, we will also share new developments and details via the EsPRSSo newsletter, system messages, and our social media sites on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/prss.noc) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/PRSS_NOC).
 
If you have any questions, please contact the PRSS® Help Desk at prsshelp@npr.org or call 800.971.7677.

 

Posted: December 19, 2014