New law authorizing FCC regulation of advertising loudness

Garrett Wollman
Wed Dec 15 22:15:06 EST 2010

<<On Wed, 15 Dec 2010 21:44:27 -0500, "" <> said:

> On 12/15/2010 8:41 PM, Garrett Wollman wrote:
>> to prescribe a regulation limiting the
>> volume of audio on commercials transmitted by television broadcast
>> stations, cable operators, and other multichannel video programming
>> distributors."

> I was under the impression that what people experienced during 
> commercials was simply increased density of audio or increased average 
> modulation. Is there actual over-modulation that is being addressed?  
> That doesn't sound illegal, just noisy.

Well, there's no modulation any more.  

Looking at the legislative history is often instructive.  The bill
passed the Senate by unanimous consent and then passed the House on a
voice vote.  It was sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse, and cosponsored
by Sens. Brown (OH), Johnson, McCaskill, Murray, Nelson, Rockefeller
(chairman of the committee), and Schumer.  According to the Senate
report on the bill, it merely instructs the FCC to adopt by reference
the ATSC recommendation on "Techniques for Establishing and
Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television", and authorizes
hardship waivers for up to two years.  (That's ATSC A/85 for those
following along at work.)  That's all it says -- the whole bill takes
less than a page (or would if it were printed with normal margins
instead of two inches on each side like the GPO does).

You can read the text of ATSC A/85 at


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