Senate Votes To Lower Volume On TV Commercials

WASHINGTON (AP) – Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it’ll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to limit the volume of commercials and keep them at the level of the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

Ever since television caught on in the 1950s, the Federal Communication Commission has been getting complaints about blaring commercials. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the “apparent loudness” of commercials. So it hasn’t been regulating them.

Correcting sound levels is more complicated than using the remote control. The television shows and ads come from a variety of sources, from local businesses to syndicators.

Managing the transition between programs and ads without spoiling the artistic intent of the producers poses technical challenges and may require TV broadcasters to purchase new equipment. To address the issue, an industry organization recently produced guidelines on how to process, measure and transmit audio in a uniform way.

The legislation, sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., requires the FCC to adopt those recommendations as regulations within a year and begin enforcing them a year later. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is the driving force behind the legislation in the House.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • James

    while i dont like TV commercials, you should be horrified that the government is doing this.
    they dont have a right to do this.
    seriously…? government control of commercials? this is rediculous.
    we are americans, less government is always the answer
    are they going to have a big government administration to monitor this?
    absolutely ridiculous.
    if a there are too many commercials demand for that commercialized product goes down, new products get new demand, and new innovation happens in order to provide content at lower costs (you tube for example) or higher value in order to generate subscription based pricing (HBO for example)
    government intervention here will mess with the markets and result in worse product for all of us

    • whimsicalpig

      You are exactly correct. If a commercial sponsor wants a loud commercial, let him have it,. what he will find is that I, and many others either bllock out the commercial or use the time to channel surf.

      Let the consumer/citizen be the arbitrator of this problem, not big brother government protecting us from some real or imagined threat.

  • Joe

    So, this includes political advertisements or did they make an exemption for themselves again?

  • Amanda

    Loud commercials are irritating, annoying, and I regret that I must pay Comcast for the privilege of hearing them. TVLand is one of the worst offenders. Also any NFL broadcast has incredibly loud commercials. I hate them and I hate the products they scream at me about. I don’t understand why television manufacturers can’t figure out how to govern and control the volume at a consistent level.

  • edy

    im sick of all the commercials. they all liars and bums

  • Alan T

    There are more important issues for our legislators to work on. why are our State Senate wasting time on such frivilous issues. I think we need to get government off our back. There is too much legislation/control for every little issue.

    • renee divine

      im so happy they made it a law to turn down the volume on those damn commercials! they drive me crazy! cuz i dnt have a remote. haha. the government gets in our personal business in many terrible ways, but this isnt one of them. who cares if they control the volume on commercials?! you can still hear them! calm down everyone..geez..

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