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Decline in Loud TV Ads
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Authors of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) released the latest quarterly report today from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the status of the law. According to the FCC’s analysis, complaints of loud TV commercials between June and September of this year have gradually tapered off since they peaked during the first two weeks after the rules took effect in December 2012. “[Total complaints] from June 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013, are 3501, approximately 53% fewer complaints than filed in the previous four months,” the report said.
“I’m very pleased that the loudness standards set in place by the CALM Act are working,” Eshoo said. “Fewer complaints suggest that fewer TV commercials are airing at volume levels inconsistent with the programming around them. For consumers, this means they’re finally getting relief from the earsplitting volumes of the past.”
“Loud commercials have long been an unnecessary annoyance in the daily lives of Americans, and have consistently ranked among the top consumer complaints to the FCC,” Whitehouse said. “I was glad to work with Rep. Eshoo to pass a law to address this problem, and I’m pleased to see that the number of FCC complaints has steadily declined since the law took effect.”
Before the CALM Act, loud commercials were a top consumer complaint to the FCC for decades, and were listed as such in 21 of the FCC's 25 quarterly reports between 2002 and 2009. A Harris poll in 2009 showed that almost 90 percent of TV viewers were bothered by high commercial volumes, prompting 41 percent of viewers to turn down the volume, 22 percent to mute the TV, and 17 percent to change the channel altogether. Prior to the CALM Act, the official FCC policy recommended that consumers mute commercials if they found them to be excessively strident.
Rep. Eshoo first introduced the CALM Act in the House in June 2008. Senator Whitehouse's companion bill passed the Senate unanimously on September 29, 2010, and the House passed the legislation on December 2, 2010. President Obama signed Eshoo's legislation into law on December 15, 2010. The FCC passed its final rules implementing the law in December 2011.
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