FCC: Top Gripes of 2Q13

WASHINGTON — TV and radio broadcasting was less of an irritant to people in the second quarter of the year compared to the first. The Federal Communications Commission received a total of 3,828 informal complaints about the over-the-air mediums versus 7,413 during 1Q13.

The most, as usual, involved the “Programming” category, a catch-all that includes complaints about content, schedule changes and loudness issues. Programming complaints numbered 2,312 in 2Q compared to 5,404 in 1Q, when gripes related to the CALM Act were pouring in. The CALM Act, which went into effect last December, was intended to reduce the jarring changes in audio loudness between programming and commercials. The commission reported a spike in loudness complaints after the law went live and attributed it to publicity.

Other 2Q complaints covered “Service,” i.e., availability, customer service and interruptions, totally 79 versus 64 in 1Q. A total of 155 interference complaint were filed, versus 186 in 1Q. Indecency and obscenity were the subjects of 227 complaints in 2Q versus 619 in 1Q (which had a spike of 375 in February after the Super Bowl). A “Miscellaneous Programming” category that covered children’s TV, pirate radio and a variety of other complaints, had 1,055 in 2Q, compared to 1,140 in 1Q.

Non-compliant inquiries are also tallied. These totaled 1,685 compared to 1,857 in the first quarter and covered disability access, digital TV service, marketing and advertising, interference and programming.

July 2, 3013,CALM Complaints Total 15,850
“Not surprisingly, the special form and the publicity surrounding the new rules prompted a large wave of complaints, which has subsided significantly and consistently over the past six weeks,” Clyburn’s report said.