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Over Sixty Years to Muzzle the Screamers

Jim Mills

I was a year old in 1934 when the Federal Communications Commission was created.

Sixteen years old when the first television set came into our house. I'll be seventy-nine this December, when the FCC finally muzzles TV commercials that are louder than the programs.

This is an issue Americans have complained about for decades; yet, it took Congress to pass a law requiring the FCC to regulate commercial audio volume. The FCC could have done it decades ago.

Virtually every professional television commercial production company has always known at what level to record sound when making a TV commercial, and the vast majority of commercials are recorded within that limit.

Rule-breakers easily could have been toned-down by the station or network. Then, after modulation finally became law, networks and stations were given another year to adjust. Stations install equipment that modulates commercial volume automatically.

This new law has no government oversight. Identifying stations that break the law will be up to you and me. If the FCC gets enough complaints about a station, it will investigate. Some fear the new law does not apply to political commercials.

The good news is that it does. Now, if we could just limit the number of political spots.


To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com.