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Net Talk • Voltair
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Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:43 am
by rogerwimmer
Does Voltair really work on ratings and can a radio station have an advantage over radio stations that don’t spend the money on the machine? - Anonymous

Anon: If you don’t know anything about Voltair, click here. There are many articles about the device on the Internet. Just search for “voltair radio.” However, a good start is this article by Richard Harker. On to the question . . .

I’m not an engineer, so I can’t address how the Voltair product actually works. I have read several articles, but none of them tell me what the device actually does and how it can influence a radio station’s ratings. I would think that if there is some type of “cheating” involved, Nielsen would put out some type of formal announcement. That may exist somewhere, but I can’t find it.

In the meantime, maybe another reader who knows more about Voltair will submit a response. If so, I will post it here.

(Want to comment on this question? Click on the POSTREPLY button under the question.)

Re: Voltair

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:31 am
by rogerwimmer
Matt Shapo from All Access responded to the Voltair question. He said:

Hi folks. There are many articles about Voltair that can be found on All Access by entering its name in the search box just beneath the menu bar above (upper right hand corner below the Video button), but for a good, quick synopsis. click here, and then go to this excellent run down over on that we mentioned in that article: click here.

As you'll see, the question of whether stations that spend the money to install Voltair boxes have had an advantage over those that don't is one that has been asked by many different people since it was first unveiled at NAB 2015. The reason is that it seemed to many that the device was able to cause their station's signals to be picked up more reliably by Nielsen's PPMs than if they didn't use the device.

As you'll also see, it seems that some formats may be more affected than others because they have softer sounds that make it comparatively more challenging for the PPMs to pick up their signals.

Of the smooth jazz format discussed at length in the FiveThirtyEight piece, Harker Research is quoted as saying “It’s a format that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of energy in that critical band that encoding signals are embedded in." And other formats such as talk radio have also been suspected of having a similarly difficult to detect signal compared to other "louder" formats.

All Access' most recent article talking about PPM enhancements that Nielsen has made in presumable response to what Voltair has been doing can be found here.

As I said, you can read a slew of stories about Voltair and Nielsen's response to them by doing a Net News search, which you can also jump to right here.

I hope that helps!