Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rule on Loud TV Commercials Goes into Effect

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rule on Loud TV Commercials Goes into Effect

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- No need to dive for the mute button anymore. A new rule aimed at lowering the volume on loud TV commercials took effect Thursday.

"This is clearly not the biggest thing happening in Washington. But it is one less nuisance" for Americans, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., sponsor of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (or CALM) Act, said at a Capitol Hill gathering to celebrate the new law.

Under the rule, commercials should have the same average volume as the programs they accompany.

The Federal Communications Commission, which has called loud TV commercials "one of the most persistent problems of the television age," will rely on consumer complaints to monitor industry compliance.

President Barack Obama signed the bill nearly two years ago, but it took time for the FCC to draw up a rule, and for industry groups to work through the technical issues and come into compliance.

Former Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., who heads the National Association of Broadcasters, said the issue was a "problem of great technical complexity," not just like turning down a knob. …

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