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This one goes out to coach potatoes and casual viewers everywhere: those extra loud TV ads may be banned. You heard right, the obnoxiously loud commercials that punctuate your favorite television program may soon come under some serious regulation. Australia, Brazil, Russia, France and Israel have all enacted legislation aimed at reducing loud TV ads.
The Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (appropriately abbreviated to CALM) Act would require the volume of an ad to be at the same noise level as the program that it interrupts. The popular bill was not so easy to arrive at, technically speaking. The FCC received 132,416 loud TV ads complaints in 2010 alone.
It took researchers years of auditory analysis and other complicated research to determine the best way to quantify and control the volume. For years, the volume requirement has been based on the peak volume of the show the ad was played during, rather than the average volume of the show. In effect, that meant ads could be as loud as a dramatic gun shot in a show, rather than off the much longer and less cacophonous dialogue.
The CALM ACT is scheduled for its final vote in the House of Representatives before the end of the year. This marks the first changes to previous volume regulations since 1994.