Bill To Regulate Television Commercials Volume Passes House! Don’t Expect Any Improvement.

by Ben Hoffman

The current rules state that commercials can be as loud as the loudest part of the movie. So if you’re watching a movie with some loud explosions, that’s how loud the commercials are, also. But leave it to legislatures to pass a bill that does nothing to solve the problem.

The original proposal was to limit the volume to the average maximum volume of the movie or program. Yeah, that would accomplish a lot. Instead, the new bill requires the industry to come up with standards and the FCC will enforce them.

Robert “the obtuse” Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, says Congress should have higher priorities than strident commercials.

“The idea that this is a problem that is so big that it requires legislative action is incredibly absurd,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s ears have ever been damaged by this.”

While it’s true nobody has been physically injured by loud commercials, they are undeniably annoying. Although Congress has a lot on its plate right now, what’s wrong with doing something for the good of the people? Isn’t that what we hired them to do?

But, it’s all for nothing since the bill won’t solve a thing.

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10 Comments to “Bill To Regulate Television Commercials Volume Passes House! Don’t Expect Any Improvement.”

  1. A gajillion years ago, it became illegal to ‘raise the volume’ of ads. What you describe as being the reg prior to this new legislation sounds like a watered down version of what I remember. It’s annoying as hell and it’s been getting worse in recent years.

    But let me toss out something else I’ve been noticing – the variations in volume betweeen channels. I swear this is a new problem (although a friend to whom I described it said he’d noticed no such thing). Not too long ago, the tv volume remained at the level you’d set it as you changed channels.

    Now, however, there are wild differences – I have to turn vol way up for any NBC station. My local channel I have to turn the vol way down. That did not used to happen.

  2. While it’s true nobody has been physically injured by loud commercials, they are undeniably annoying.

    Solution: Don’t watch TV. 🙂

    You would be surprised on how good radio and reading actually are.

    • Radio sucks worse than TV! They’re all owned by the big media conglomerates and stuffed with loud commercials just like TV.

      My complaint is with the on-demand cable movies that have commercials. It’s bad enough they play commercials, but do they really have to blast them? It’s all about profits. Comcast has made enough in profits to buy NBC. Rather than provide better service, corporations just milk out all the profits they can. A windfall profits tax might help to persuade them to put a little money back into the company and provide better service.

      But you’re right about reading. I just turned an unused room in the house into a library with a nice reading chair. I go in there to unwind at the end of the day and read.

      • Ah, I sometimes forget that the US does not have a national broadcaster. Commercial radio is stinky, I most definitely agree with you there.

        The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a public media corporation that thankfully is free of commercials (CBC TV however is not) and other corporate ‘ick’. It is a pleasure to listen to.

      • Actually we have NPR (, which is pretty good, too. Radio isn’t really a problem since there’s internet radio with no commercials. It’s mainly the on-demand movies with loud commercials that bug the hell out of me. But that’s more of a problem with Comcast putting commercials in there in the first place. Profit is their only concern.

      • I’m just having additional bookcases added at home. There is never enough room.

        I’m reminded of when all the cable companies were new and they were trying to drum up business. They answered every call, made deals and came to your house at the drop of a hat. And of course that was becasue they were trying to build their customer base. And once they had everyone locked in to cable? Heh. Service? Quality? Programmng? The only thing I honor them for is CSpan. They get some wiggle room from me for that.

  3. Western Colorado’s, Bresnan Communications, is no better when airing commercials. A potential solution is to send an e-mail to the solicitor and invite them to welcome your dollars back by exercising better judgment by requesting how their commercials are programmed into the system. If you speak their language, they will listen – kick ’em in the pocketbook!

  4. I posted on this subject on my blog today.

    Dr. B

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