FCC to Scrutinize Those Annoyingly Loud Commercials

The FCC assures TV viewers that it is aware of the loud commercial complaints and promises to look into the volume of ads in relation to the accompanying television programs. The FCC is asking people if it should update its rules to ensure that advertisements aren't louder than the programming. The organization issued a public notice on Monday: “These rules have been in effect now for many years and have been revisited only once since initial adoption to adopt minor changes,” the statement read, per The Wrap. “We seek comment on the extent to which our rules have been effective in preventing loud commercials. In particular, we invite consumers to tell us their experiences as they watch programming provided by television broadcasters and MVPDs."

Since 2010, the FCC has used the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act as a way to stop commercials from being louder than the scheduled programs. However, in just a four-month period spanning from Nov. 2020 to Feb. 2021, the FCC saw a 140% rise in complaints related to the issue compared to the same period last year. Rep. Anne Eshoo (D-Ca), who wrote the mentioned law, released a letter in April 2020 asking the FCC to investigate the rise in loud advertisement complaints. “On July 21, 2020, I wrote to then-Chairman (Ajit) Pai, requesting information about complaints related to and enforcement of the CALM Act. His response of August 11, 2020, indicated that the FCC has never brought an enforcement action under the law, even though the FCC receives thousands of complaints … It is for these reasons I ask that the FCC investigate the rise in the loudness of TV advertising complaints and take enforcement actions as appropriate," she wrote.

Currently led by chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is split with an even 2-2 between Democrats and Republicans. POTUS Joe Biden has yet to nominate a fifth person to break the tie, but it's widely expected that his nomination will likely be another democrat.