FCC Hopes To Spare Your Ears, Tweaks Rule To Turn Down Obnoxiously Loud TV Commercials

Some things haven’t changed in 20 years: you’re watching some old movie late at night on TV, and you turn the volume up because the dialogue is so quiet. Then the ad break comes and suddenly salesmen are shouting at you so loudly you could practically hear them from space and you bang your head on the coffee table in a frantic dive for the remote. Everyone hates that — and the FCC hates it, too.

Close to three years ago, the FCC passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, decreeing that all ads need to be played at the same average volume as the programs they accompany, or else. The rule went into effect in December, 2012 despite protests from cable networks.

However, despite the CALM act, consumers continue to feel that commercials are out-shouting the rest of their content. Complaints continued through 2013, and so the FCC is tweaking their rule hopefully to end this problem once and for all.

In an update to the implementation of the CALM rule (PDF), the FCC has announced a change to the algorithm they use to measure loudness. Changing the algorithm will hopefully make advertising seem more quiet or, in the FCC’s words, they “hope that these changes will result in a modest decrease in the perceived loudness of certain commercials.”

The tweaked version of the rule goes into effect on June 4, 2015. In the meantime, if you happen to see particularly shouty commercials that really annoy you, you can report them to the FCC.

[via DSLReports]

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