WASHINGTON -- TV broadcasters will have to turn down the volume on commercials, at least to the level of the programs they accompany, according to a proposed rule issued by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC must adopt regulations requiring broadcasters to limit the volume on the transmission of commercials by Dec. 15, 2011 to comply with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act.
Congress passed the Act in response to viewer complaints about the sudden increase in volume during commercial breaks.
According to the FCC, change in volume at commercial breaks has been a long standing complaint of viewers. The problem appears to have been exacerbated by digital broadcasting technology, which allows the creators of programs and commercials to encode more dynamic sound options than were possible during the age of analog TV transmissions.
By mandating that commercials can not be louder than the programs they accompany, the FCC says the Act allows it to avoid making subjective judgments about the overall volume of broadcasts.
Broadcasters, including cable and satellite services, will have one year to implement the agency's final regulations.
The FCC is requesting public comments on implementation of the Act's requirements until July 5, 2011.