Loud Commercial Ban Went Into Effect This Week

With the exception of the particularly creative ads, most people probably don't love commercials. But the ads that play extremely loud on TV can be especially annoying. Fortunately, it looks like that'll be a thing of the past, thanks to a law that went into effect this week, which bans loud commercials.

Television in the U.S. is a money-making industry, and for network television and basic cable, money is made through advertising. While that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon, those who are tired of having commercials blasted through their TV at a volume noticeably louder than the show they were watching will be pleased to know that the law prohibiting that is now in effect.

The legislation for this rule made its way through congress a couple years back, having been adopted a year ago but only becoming effective December 13, 2012. That gave broadcast and cable TV stations a year to get themselves up to code. Networkworld.com says the legislation, which is called the CALM act (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act), passed easily through Congress and was signed off by the president.

From what's been posted on the FCC's website, this law only applies to television (not radio or internet commercials). The site also offers instructions on how to lodge a complaint if you come across a commercial that's playing noticeably louder than what you were watching.

We recommend that you file your complaint electronically using the Commission’s online complaint form found at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints. To access the form, click on the Complaint Type button “Broadcast (TV and Radio), Cable, and Satellite Issues,” and then click on the Category button “Loud Commercials.” This will direct you to file the Form 2000G – Loud Commercial Complaint. Click on “Complete the form” to submit your complaint online. The Form 2000G has been created to specifically accommodate complaints about loud television commercials. To enable the Commission to evaluate your complaint, you should complete the form fully and accurately.You may also file your complaint by fax to 1-866-418-0232 or by letter mailed to Federal Communications Commission, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554. If you need assistance filing your complaint, you may contact the Commission’s Consumer Call Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) (Voice) or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) (TTY). There is no fee for filing a consumer complaint.

The FCC will evaluate complaints to determine if there are "patterns or trends" that indicate that there's a need for enforcement action.

Whether or not there's a noticeable difference is probably relative to how people watch TV. Those of us who DVR a lot and watch fewer commercials may not notice it all that much, but the people who tend to watch TV live will likely appreciate the lack of loud when it comes to the ads.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site. She an expert in all things Harry Potter, books from a variety of genres (sci-fi, mystery, horror, YA, drama, romance -- anything with a great story and interesting characters.), watching Big Brother, frequently rewatching The Office, listening to Taylor Swift, and playing The Sims.