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New Law Prohibits Loud Commercials

photo of Josh Smith
December 13, 2012

Lawmakers praised a new law that took effect on Thursday aimed at prohibiting commercials from playing at a louder volume than the programming they surround.

The rules have been a long time coming. President Obama signed the Calm Act in December 2010, and the Federal Communications Commission approved rules to implement the law a year later in December 2011. 

“Loud TV commercials have been among the most common consumer complaints to the FCC for decades now,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a sponsor of the bill, said at a news conference. “While this is a small issue compared to the big challenges facing our nation, it is an unnecessary annoyance in the daily lives of many Americans, and I'm glad to have done something about it.”

The rules were applauded by representatives of the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, among other industry groups.

According to Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who sponsored the bill in the House, until passage of the law, official FCC policy had recommended that consumers mute commercials if they found them to be too loud.

“With this new law, loud TV commercials that make consumers run for the mute button or change the channel altogether will be a thing of the past,” she said.

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