A group of smaller cable companies are asking the Federal Communications Commission for a one-year exemption from having to comply with a law enacted in December that would lower the volume on all those loud TV ads that irritate so many television viewers.
The law specifically requires that the volume of commercials should not exceed the decibel level of regular programming. Under the law known as the CALM Act, the FCC has one year to ensure that advertisers adopt industry technology that "modulates sound levels and prevents overly loud commercials."
In a meeting Monday with FCC officials, the American Cable Association argued that smaller cable firms need more time to absorb the costs of complying with the law.
"Because smaller [multichannel video programming distributors] are unable to spread the costs to comply with the CALM Act over a large number of subscribers, as a group, they should receive a blanket one-year hardship waiver with a possible one-year extension," they wrote in a letter to the FCC afterward.
Some of the lawmakers involved in drafting the law have written the FCC in recent months to say it was clearly intended to apply to not just broadcast stations but to cable, satellite and other video providers and also to all commercials regardless of who places them within programming.
In a July letter to the FCC, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who authored the House's version of the law, noted that the legislation does allow the FCC to grant exemptions to providers that might need extra time to comply with the law.