The wheels of government turn slowly and even some of the biggest problems we have aren’t able to be managed or controlled by a behemoth institution like this. We can’t look to the powers that be to solve all of our problems, but we can at least have them look into things that are super annoying. And when they find them, all we ask is that they make them stop. That’s the case with a recent move by the Federal Communication Commission to finally put an end to those commercials that make you want to punt your television through the window. That’s right, TvLine is reporting the FCC is finally trying to (maybe) put an end to crazy volume differences you hear between a television show and a commercial.
It’s worth noting here that while the FCC looks like it’s starting to address, in a more formal and regulatory fashion, to monitor the loudness of certain commercials, it doesn’t necessarily seem like it’s all that imminent. In true government fashion, they are starting things off by putting up a form on their website that asks consumers to report how the issue is affecting them and to let the FCC know some more details around the problem.
This is, of course, not the first time that the FCC has wanted to start curbing some of those super-annoying commercials. In fact, they’ve already passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or easy to remember as the C.A.L.M. Act back in 2012. What did this act do? Well, not much. But what did it intend to do? In that case, it set about rules that both cable and broadcast companies were meant to follow that would regulate the loudness of commercials compared to the airing television program. Companies were given a year grace period to implement any software or hardware changes, though no specific penalties were outlined for companies who didn’t do it.
But, as with all regulations, there were ways around the FCC putting in the C.A.L.M. Act. For starters, the loudness of a commercial didn’t need to adhere to the rules throughout, it just had to meet an average loudness over the course of the commercial. This meant that broadcasters or advertisers could dial up the volume for certain parts of the commercial and then down in others to even things out. The average could be within the rules and therefore be legal. This was just one workaround to keep some commercials with a super loud call to action.
Now, the FCC is trying to hear from consumers about whether things are actually working. Feel free to go over and fill the form out yourself if you want to make yourself heard, so to speak. But does it even matter? With so many folks cord-cutting these days and heading over to streaming services, the issues around broadcast commercial volumes are becoming less and less. More and more folks have found a way to avoid commercials almost permanently. So it was a perfect time for the FCC to step in. The problem has almost already been completely solved.