The FCC has put in motion a plan to ensure commercials are not louder than the programs in which they appear. The agency’s rules go into effect December 2012. They place degrees of responsibility on TV stations and cable/telco/satellite distributors.
The FCC action Tuesday implements the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM), passed in 2010 by Congress. The FCC has received complaints about excessively loud commercials for years -- almost 6,000 since 2008 alone -- and for the first time has authority to regulate the matter.
The new rules require that the average volume of commercials does not exceed the average volume of the programming. Promos are viewed as commercials. While some suggested political ads should be exempt, the FCC has deemed them just like any other commercial.
The FCC can grant one-year waivers to stations or operators displaying financial difficulty with putting in place the equipment to ensure the loudness rules are met. The FCC said programmers and networks will provide “certifications” to the stations and distributors that the volume of their ads and programs meet the FCC rules.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell stated: “From this point forward, TV commercials, such as those for OxyClean, ShamWow!, HeadOn and the like, will never be the same. Family rooms across America might be a little less noisy as the result of our implementation of Congress’ will.”