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FCC to ban loud TV commercials today

Consumer Reports News: December 13, 2011 03:08 PM

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The Federal Communications Commission will pass regulations today to limit the volume levels of TV commercials and penalize broadcasters that bombard consumers with loud ads between televised shows and programs.

The regulatory guidelines that the FCC is expected to establish would be enforced by the the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act, which was passed by Congress last year and gave the FCC until Thursday (December 15, 2011) to develop rules on broadcast-commercial volume levels and penalties for violating those regulations.

Under CALM, televised ads' volume levels cannot exceed the loudest portion of the TV show in which they are placed. And that loudest allowable volume cannot be sustained for the entire commercial.

USA Today reports that some broadcasters and television providers have already started implementing the ideals of CALM, in preparation of the final rules that the FCC is expected to generate. But as provided by the law, broadcasters will still have a grace period —up to year from when the final FCC volume level rules are passed—from penalties for loud commercials.

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, supported CALM when it was first introduced by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said the following in regard to the FCC's pending action:

We're glad that consumers are finally going to get some relief from extra-loud TV ads. People have been complaining about the volume of TV commercials for decades. This law is a relatively simple and straightforward measure that has really struck a chord with consumers.

Program Background Noise and Loud Commercials [FCC]
Loud TV commercials to leave quietly, thanks to FCC [USA Today]

Maggie Shader

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