Lawmakers ask FCC to report on TV commercial volume

Two leading members of Congress have asked the Federal Communications Commission to report on whether broadcasters have been complying with last year’s law that put a lid on TV commercial volume.

In a letter Wednesday to acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, the two sponsors of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act asked for an update on the law’s effectiveness and an accounting of how many complaints have been received by the FCC.

The 6-month-old law requires broadcast, cable, satellite and other video providers to maintain the volume of commercials at a level consistent with regular TV programming.

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The letter, sent by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), asked the FCC whether any TV companies had requested a temporary waiver from the law.

Complying with the law proved to be more difficult than just tweaking a setting. A convention of engineers from around the world spent months developing software to recognize loud advertisements and rewriting broadcast standards. TV stations and cable and satellite TV operators also were forced to spend nearly two years upgrading their equipment to better detect sound fluctuations.

“We know the American people will be grateful when they are completely free from the nuisance of loud commercials,” Eshoo and Whitehouse wrote. They said they were interested in learning whether there were any patterns to the complaints.

TV viewers can report super-loud commercials to the FCC on the agency’s website or by calling 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).


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