FCC Provides Nice Gift for Television Viewers
This year, we've all gotten a present from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Although you have already received the present, you may not even be aware of it yet. However, I can almost guarantee that if you watch television, it will make your life just a little bit better.
What I'm talking about is one of the things about watching television that has been an aggravation for years and years. This is something that has had many of us reaching for the remote to turn down the volume.
Have you guessed it yet? I'm talking about the television commercials always being considerably louder than the programming.
I don't know how many times I've been aggravated by the blasting noise of the commercials. And I'm not the only one. It turns out that over the years, loud television commercials have been one of the biggest complaints handled by the FCC in its consumer call center.
It seems that up to now, the only restriction on the volume of television programming and television commercials was the one set by the television stations. That was a cap on the highest level of volume that the stations' equipment could handle.
Most of the time in regular programming, that cap was only reached during a loud explosion, car crash or other singular event. However, many commercials set their volume level just under that cap to make the listeners perk up and buy the coffee or whatever they were selling.
Citizens have been inundated by these loud commercials for years. It took an act of Congress, but it is finally over. The restrictions included in the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act set a limit on the loudness of commercials.
CALM has mandated that all commercials be not more than 2 decibels higher or lower than the television programming. Thankfully, even political ads must comply. (I am still aggravated by the fact that political calls are exempt from the telephone do-not-call law.)
The FCC set the date of Dec. 13 for full compliance.
There's only one fly in the ointment. Although compliance is expected to be widespread, and the major broadcast and cable trade associations have pledged to uphold the CALM act, the FCC has said that it will not monitor compliance. Instead, it will rely on consumer complaints to assist in the enforcement of the new law. You can find an online complaint form at www.fcc.gov/complaints. You can also call an FCC hotline toll-free at (888) 225-5322 to file your complaint.
Hopefully, we won't have to do much complaining, and now our television viewing may be just a little more enjoyable.
Special thanks to Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who all helped push through the legislation. It's good to know that even though Congress is dealing with large looming problems, they have not forgotten the little things that make our lives better.
Contact Sandy Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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