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FCC takes steps to quiet loud TV commercials

TV viewers looking to tame loud commercials are usually forced to watch their programs with the remote in hand.

One of the most persistent problems of the modern television age — loud commercials — is about to become a thing of the past with the recent passage of the 2010 Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act.

The CALM act, through which U.S. Congress gave the Federal Communications Commission the authority, for the first time, to address the problem of excessive commercial loudness, will apply to Puerto Rico.

Essentially, the rules adopted late last week require that commercials have the same average volume as the programs they accompany, the FCC said.

“Most of us have either experienced this ourselves, or had friends and family who have experienced it,” Chairman Julius Genachowski said. You’re watching your favorite television program, or the news, and all of a sudden, a commercial comes on and it sounds like someone turned up the volume – but no one did.”

“While consumer complaints about loud commercials have diminished since 2009, we expect that these new rules will reduce loudness complaints still further,” the FCC said. “Today, the FCC is quieting a persistent problem of the television age – loud commercials.”

The FCC said it has received almost 6,000 complaints or inquiries about loud commercials since 2008.

José Ramos, President of WAPA Television (Ch. 4) — one of three commercial stations in Puerto Rico — said the FCC’s decision is something that is very positive for television viewers.

“At WAPA, we apply the same volume level to our television content as well as our commercials. That practice of increasing the volume on commercials is just to draw attention, but I can tell you that as a television watcher myself, I think doing that is quite annoying,” he said.

“I’m glad the FCC has taken a stance on this issue,” said the local television industry veteran who prior to taking over the helm of WAPA TV, he was president of Telemundo (Ch. 2).

Attempts to reach executives at Telemundo as well as Univision (Ch. 11) were unsuccessful.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

1 Comment

  1. Beauty January 17, 2012

    I think that it should take effect everywhere! No one should have to listen to the commercials become randomly loud for no reason at all. I don’t like that it is going to take a year to be in effect. That is just what I heard but I’m not for sure about it. I just know that I’m refusing to wait a year for it. That is why I ordered the new Hopper (DVR) from DISH. It has an awesome new feature that levels out commercials, so they don’t become really loud for any reason. I can’t wait to get it. I was lucky enough to test it out since I’m a customer and employee with DISH, and I will tell you that it really works. SO look into it today if you don’t want to wait another year!


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