Monday, December 31, 2012

RIP excessively loud TV commercials

People have described Rep. Anna Eshoo, who originated the law, as a hero.

In several places I lived, somebody would move in and start playing their music very loud. My neighbors said I was a hero because I got them to stop. If you've ever had this problem, you know that just asking them to turn down the sound doesn't work, although of course one needs to do so and give them a chance to act decently.

But in the manufactured home community I currently live, several years ago, a family moved in that had a very loud boombox in their vehicle, with very loud bass. They would turn it on as loud as it would go for hours. People around them moved out, and more noisy people moved in, causing more people to move out and be replaced by noisy ones. The only reason I and my next door neighbor are still here is because of the cost of moving. I do plan on doing so next year. However, I worry that I might use a lot of my savings to move someplace quiet, and have the same thing happen.

I have called the police repeatedly, but the next day it's the same thing. A nearby neighbor asked me why I was so "mean". I told him the noise tortured me. The result was that he got noisier. He and some others come home at 2 or 3 in the morning with their truck stereos blasting, disturbing people's sleep.

One time, when someone had their truck radio on really loud, I saw a little girl on a bicycle ride up and talk to them. They turned the sound down. A short while later, the manager's wife came along pushing her baby in a buggy. After she was gone, they ramped up the sound again.

The only way I have found effective in stopping them is to go out in the middle of the night and blow my stadium horn and wake them up. Then it's quiet for a couple of weeks.

But I'm not called a hero now. People accuse me of being a racist because my neighbors are from Mexico. Why is it racist to think that they are capable of learning to be considerate human beings? It isn't because they are incapable of learning. My next door neighbor is prone to playing the stereo in her house so loudly the bass comes into my home. A couple of years ago, when I had a job, she asked me to let her son mow my yard, for money. (She can't speak English, her son acted as interpreter.) I think she had been keeping her noise down for a short while, so I said yes. All summer she kept her noise down. When the weather changed, and it was obvious I wouldn't need the grass cut any more that summer, she was back to playing her stereo very loudly by the next day.

By Mike M. Ahlers, CNN
updated 7:56 AM EST, Thu December 13, 2012

Say goodbye to one of the greatest irritants of modern life: television commercials that are MUCH LOUDER THAN THE SHOW YOU ARE WATCHING!

Beginning Thursday [Dec. 13, 2012], the Federal Communications Commission is barring broadcasters and pay TV providers from airing excessively loud commercials, saying ads must maintain the "same average volume" as the programs they accompany.

The move -- which undoubtedly will make many TV viewers happier, and save countless marriages -- addresses a problem that, regulators say, is almost as old as television itself.

Loud commercials have been a leading source of complaints to the FCC since its consumer call center began reporting top complaints in 2002.

Since January 2008, the FCC has received about 1,000 complaints and about 5,000 inquiries, the commission said.

Congress mandated the change in the aptly named Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act in 2010. Last year, the FCC set a December 13, 2012, deadline for full compliance.


The CALM Act bill had wide bipartisan support, passing the Senate unanimously and the House by a voice vote.

Bill supporters Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and industry representatives plan an event in Washington on Thursday to mark the full implementation of the law.


The FCC says it has granted two temporary waivers to the law: one to South Georgia Governmental Services Authority, a municipal cable system, because of financial hardship; and to WPFO in Waterville, Maine, which asked for a grant because it is relocating its facilities.

Non-commercial television stations are exempt from the act. Political ads, however, must comply.

The FCC will not monitor compliance, but instead will rely on consumer complaints to assist the commission to enforce the rule.

Complaints can be filed by using the online complaint form, 2000G, at

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