Archive for Saturday, June 13, 2009


Will something, at last, be done to lighten the audio bombardments from TV ads?

June 13, 2009


So where has Congress, or anyone else able to deal with the problem, been all these years?

We’re told that Congress might soon do something to mute screaming television-ad announcers. Word is that if broadcasters don’t do something about the audio bombardment, lawmakers will.

Under a current proposal, the Federal Communications System would limit advertising volumes to the average decibels of the TV show during which they appear. Currently, TV ads legally can’t be louder than the audio peak in a show, according to David Perry, the chairman of the broadcast production committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies in New York. He says ads often seem louder to viewers because a program’s volume peak rarely comes just before an ad.

At last, somebody has owned up to the fact that TV decibels often take a decided jump when commercials come on. Americans have been howling about this situation for years and most often have been brushed aside with the explanation that “there really isn’t a major jump.”

With a regulatory gun now being aimed at their heads, broadcasters say they have their own plan to lower TV ad volume, which could take effect (please! please! please!) within a couple of months. The switch to digital TV, they say, also can help by enabling advertisers to use a wider range of sounds instead of relying on pure volume to get attentions.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., concedes that the sound-level bill she recently introduced doesn’t deserve the priority of health care and war funding measures, but she considers it important and plans to pursue it. “People practically throw their arms around me when they hear about it,” she adds.

For decades, millions of Americans have been complaining about the up-step in volume when commercials hit the TV screen. Naturally, we’ll hear from TV people who feel their rights and privileges are being violated by down-volume legislation. But after years of hammering consumers with sounds they do not want, advertisers will draw little sympathy when appropriate legislation forces changes.

Promises, promises, promises. Time and again we’ve been told there will be beneficial changes. Is this finally it? Are you listening, Congress? Or do we need to make these complaints even louder?


Steve Jacob 8 years, 7 months ago

Let me declare the first offender of this, "Spangles".

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 7 months ago

For real. Why do commercials have to be so much louder than the programs??!

jonas_opines 8 years, 7 months ago

But seriously, Congress needs to fix this? Why don't we just vote for our representatives to come into our homes and turn the volume down for us?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Why do commercials occupy as much time as any show?

Why do commercials eat up about 50% of news time in mainstream media?

Why do advertisements eat up at least 50% of news space in newspapers?

Why do consumers allow advertising to dictate their social life aka "shop till you drop"?

Why not take the family walking,biking,swimming or hiking in the woods? Go to a zoo? Go to movies? Go on a picnic? Host a party for the children? Host a block party? Take a long nap? Go to the parks?

Oh I understand that shopping is important since corporate america and politicians teamed up to make it lucrative outsourcing jobs. How else can we support america if we don't buy all those USA named goods made in foreign countries? Is this shopping americans out of work?

We watch little TV but like most folks we find so many very loud commercials annoying. Perhaps corporate america has found loud commercials to have more impact?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 7 months ago

Try to watch a movie! You get ten minutes of movie followed by ten minutes of commercials. If you turn the sound down and fall asleep you miss the rest of the movie. It is a bit of a bother to keep reaching for the remote to turn it up, turn it down, repeat endlessly. I have Firefox and never get pop-up ads.

jaywalker 8 years, 7 months ago

jonas at 8:10 sums up my feelings exactly.

notajayhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"Why do commercials occupy as much time as any show?"

The portion of my day that is lost watching commercials is more than made up by skipping over merrill's posts. I'd much rateher have an advertising agency tryig to convince me what to do with my time and money than listen to his pontificating.

SandCoAlmanac 8 years, 7 months ago

When I first heard and read about this proposal / bill, I felt slightly vindicated, realizing I wasn't the only one who felt assaulted by the higher volume of TV commercials. Then, I wondered about radio commercials. They do the same thing, don't they? I listen to the radio much more than I watch TV, and the radio commercials seem much louder than the programs they interrupt. I plan to ask Rep. Eshoo if she has included all audio commercials in her bill and not just those on TV.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 7 months ago

OK, who else finds the ad placement immediately following Reticent's 8:43 am comment hilarious (given the nature of the comment.)

Bet it wasn't intentional, but thank you LJW for thrusting the ad in at just the perfect place.

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