October 1, 2009

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Albany: The Federal Communications Commission has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for failing to regulate loud television commercials.

Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, has introduced the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, which would require the FCC to establish new limits on the volume of commercials, and would ban commercials that are “excessively noisy or strident.”

Eshoo stated, “It’s enough to blast you off the sofa when some of these ads come on. It’s a source of irritation to people when they’re relaxing in their own home. For decades, there have been complaints and investigations by the FCC, but nothing has ever been done about it.”

Kendra Cunningham, a columnist for Switched.com, stated that “it’s bad enough that commercials are inherently obnoxious…but do they have to be deafening on top of it? Ads can reach a level of volume that threatens the viewer’s cardiovascular health….Television commercials are currently allowed to be as loud as the loudest point of any program. But is it really necessary for a male enhancement ad to reach the same decibel level as a screaming female victim?”

Advertisers make their commercials as loud as the FCC will allow. They also, according to Jeff Bercovic, www.dailyfinance.com , “use technological tricks to make them sound even louder than they are, like packing more sound energy into mid-range frequencies, the ones that the human ear is most sensitive to.”

Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s communications director, noted that “television viewers have complained about loud television commercials for 45 years. Loud television commercials are yet another intrusion into peace and quiet. Your home should be a refuge from all the noise generated by boom cars, motorcycles, leaf blowers, Muzak, and barking dogs. Unfortunately, it is not. Loud television commercials represent the complete ‘noisification’ of daily life.”

Rueter also stated that “Representative Eshoo’s CALM legislation has 59 co-sponsors. Amazingly, one of them is California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa–the king of car stereos and car alarms. In April 2003, Noise Free America gave Darrell Issa a Lifetime Achievement Award for “promoting dangerous boom cars, the use of racing-equipped hot rods on public roads, useless and annoying car alarms, the violently loud ‘Boom and Vroom’ lifestyle.’ support of legislation to restrict loud television commercials is utter hypocrisy.”

Noise Free America is a national 501c3 citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the United States Congress, OSHA, the Massachusetts Department of Education, and the Oakland Police Department.