FCC Passes Rules Requiring Broadcast, Satellite And Cable Companies To Quiet Down Loud Ads
So many times I’m watching a show and then BOOM! A COMMERCIAL COMES ON SO LOUD I DROP MY DORITOS!!! Looks like others have noticed too and now regulations are ready to be enforced.
On Tuesday, the FCC passed a set of regulations that will prevent commercials from being louder than the shows around them. It’s all part of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (or CALM) Act, which President Obama signed into law last December. The rules go into effect a year from now. Companies that don’t comply will face unspecified FCC action.
Thunderous television ads have annoyed viewers for years. The FCC says people have grumbled about the issue for at least a half century. But since 2002 — thanks in part to all those clangorous car commercials, earsplitting electronics ads and booming beer pitches — loud advertisements have been one of the top complaints the FCC receives.
Complaints grew in recent years, as ads became even louder. In the days of analog TV, louder ads took up more space on the airwaves. So broadcasters toned them down to avoid interfering with other channels. Since the conversion to digital TV broadcasts two years ago, loud ads no longer take up more airwave space than quiet ones. The change transformed the commercial break into a noisy arms race.
“Nobody wanted to be the quiet guy in the set of commercials,” says David Unsworth, senior vice president of satellite and technical operations at DG, a company that distributes ads to broadcasters.
In a recent analysis, DG found that some ads were 10 times as loud as the programs they interrupted.
“Everybody’s been trying to push the envelope using (digital) compression to make their spots as loud as they can,” Unsworth says.