TV Loudness Bill Passes Subcommittee
October 8, 2009
The House Communications subcommittee today passed legislation that would quell
the volume on TV commercials. H.R. 1084, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness
Mitigation Act. The bill would require the FCC to adopt a broadcast loudness
standard within a year of its enactment. It was introduced in February by Rep.
Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) after failing to get legs in 2008. It was passed by voice
vote along with three other bills in the subcommittee, headed by Rep. Rick
Boucher of Virginia.
“All of us have had the experience of enjoying a favorite program only to find
ourselves scrambling to locate the remote control when at the commercial break
the volume of the television seemingly doubles. Those volume increases must
end. I look forward to the enactment of this measure,” he said.
The bill, referred to as the CALM Act, includes one-year hardship waivers for
small TV stations and cable operators, for which Matt Polka, head of the
American Cable Association, expressed his appreciation.
“ACA is please that some House members recognize the many small cable operators
have no control over the loudness of commercials contained in local TV shows or
national cable networks,” he said in a statement.
The Advanced Television Systems Committee is expected to roll out its loudness
standard soon, and while the industry was hoping to keep it voluntary, Eshoo
said “the industry’s track record has not been so great in this regard,”
according to Multichannel
The bill still has to clear the full Commerce Committee before making it to
the House floor, which it didn’t manage last year. Reports emerged earlier this
year that the industry convinced lawmakers to let it handle the issue, which
could still be the case. Legislation is frequently pressed on Capitol Hill to
apply pressure and appear responsive.
-- Deborah D. McAdams
More on legislating loudness:
June 15, 2009: “Broadcasters Avert
Loudness Bill for Now”
Let us get that for you, broadcasters told lawmakers bent on regulating
television audio. Reports from last week’s hearing on a law to equalize audio
between commercials and program content indicate that legislators agreed to let
broadcasters handle the problem
June 9, 2009: “Legislators Want to
Outlaw Loud TV Commercials”
The three-part bill instructs the commission to enjoin commercials from being
“excessively noisy or strident;” and from having modulation and loudness levels
that “substantially” exceed the accompanying programming.
(Image by Daniel Jabra)