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Are TV Commercials Too Loud?

June 13, 2009

Almost one year ago I wrote on this same topic…….and now here we go again.

James and I, and everyone we know, have the same complaint about TV.  The shows are set at a comfortable level to enjoy, and at commercial time the noise level is ratcheted up considerably.  One then needs to grab the remote, and tune it down until the show starts again .  Can anything be done?

Well….. ( I am not holding my breath.)

Some members of Congress want broadcasters to turn down the volume on television commercials.

A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) would require the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to “preclude commercials from being broadcast at louder volumes than the program material they accompany.”

Broadcasters say they are addressing the problem already. “The major television broadcast networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, are each, individually, implementing policies that attempt to control loud commercials,” said David Donovan, president of the Association for Maximum Service Television, a broadcast industry trade group, speaking at a hearing Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee.

Mr. Donovan said Rep. Eshoo’s bill could slow TV stations’ voluntary efforts to control commercial volumes because any FCC proceeding would generate debate and uncertainty.

“I can assure you that the industry is motivated to act,” said NBC Universal Principal Engineer and Audio Architect Jim Starzynksi, also at the hearing. Final review of an industry standard on commercial volume is expected in July, and broadcasters could begin implementing it by fall, he said.

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