The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday adopted rules to lower the volume on blaring commercials that are louder than the show being watched.
Starting in December 2012, commercials must have the same average volume as the television program they accompany, the FCC said.
Rules to lower the volume of television commercials were drafted when Congress passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act, in response to complaints from viewers.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat who was the House sponsor of the CALM Act, said loud commercials had been a top consumer complaint in FCC reports between 2002 and 2009.
An Annoying Practice: Suddenly Loud T.V. Commercials
TV stations now have the responsibility to turn down the volume on excessively loud commercials, and it's about time, she said in a statement. Households across the country will soon get the relief they deserve from the annoyance of blaringly loud television commercials.
The CALM Act gave the FCC for the first time authority to get cable operators and television broadcast stations to address the volume of commercials.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, a trade group, told the FCC in August that operators would be forced to shoulder the burden of compliance for commercials that networks provide.
If the Commission nonetheless were to make cable operators liable for distribution of commercials contained in cable network programming, the NCTA said in comments submitted to the FCC, the commission should not require operators to purchase expensive equipment to demonstrate compliance.