Today the Federal Communications Commission is expected to pass regulations requiring that all commercials on TV be at a constant level — which means no sudden blaring of Wacky Wild Wally screaming at you about the best RV deals in town. Well, he might still be screaming but he won’t permanently damage your hearing.
The order will go into effect one year from today, says USA Today, and decrees that “commercials must have the same average volume as the programs they accompany,” according to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
It’s taken a year from when President Obama signed a law that gave the FCC authority to even look into the problem of overly loud commercials. At that time, a Harris poll found that 86% of people surveyed said TV commercials were louder than the shows they were watching, and in some cases, extremely louder.
A normal TV broadcast is around 70 decibels, compared to 60 for a chat in a restaurant and 80 for a garbage disposal.
“It is a problem that thousands of viewers have complained about, and we are doing something about it,” Genachowski says.
Parul P. Desai, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, which endorsed the law, said, “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. The law is a relatively simple and straightforward measure that has really struck a chord with consumers.”