December 16th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Where does controlling the volume of TV ads rank as an issue?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress is turning its attention to one of the most pressing issues of our time: lowering the volume of TV commercials.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/16/art.commercial.jpg caption=""]
That's correct - apparently we no longer need to be concerned with the little stuff... you know... like the worst recession since the Great Depression, health care reform, skyrocketing deficits, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 10-percent unemployment, a crisis in education... the commercials on television are too loud and something must be done.

The House has passed a measure by a voice vote called Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act - or CALM... which says that ads can be no louder than the TV shows during which they appear. An identical measure is making it way through the Senate.

Supporters call loud ads annoying and frustrating and say they came up with the bill after finding out this was a common complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The measure would require the FCC to set new rules within a year - and start enforcing them a year later. Meanwhile - experts say viewers may not even be able to tell the difference if this becomes law.

When asked why Congress has to get involved in this, Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida said: "You can say, 'Well, that's fine. Just turn it off. But it's constantly an irritant when you have to do it. And we've got all the new bowl games coming up."

I now want to sharpen a pencil and jam it in my ear because I cannot take it anymore.

Here’s my question to you: On a list of the great issues of our time, where does controlling the volume of TV commercials rank?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Government • Media Coverage
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. David Douse

    Jack, Congress just might be able to pull this one off after several months of back room wheeling & dealing, PAC money, golf trips and the like. Of course the final bill will require all TV shows to match the loudest infomercial instead of the other way around; and there will be a long, long list of exceptions, loopholes & earmarks.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  2. Jon Kennell

    I'm happy to see congress fix this problem. It's not a big as health care or the economy, but they're not spending that much time on it. I'm glad the government is tackling all sorts of issues and not just getting deadlocked on the big stuff.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  3. Tony, Houston Texas

    This is a VERY important piece of legislation. After this passes, congress should continue to work on critical issues such as making it easier to open the packaging on audio CDs, and outlawing extremely bright halogen car headlamps, and enforcing that a bag of mixed nuts include at least 25% cashews. Once we solve these critical problems we will no longer be worried about such trivial issues as health care, unemployment, climate change and terrorists. Jack, when you are done with that sharp pencil can I borrow it?

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  4. Ed

    Now we just need a law against sidebar internet ads that start playing videos with sound. There's nothing more annoying at work than pulling up a webpage, even if it's job-related, and have some ad start screaming at me... and all of my coworkers within earshot.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  5. D. Kisting

    Not only are they too loud, but most of them are totally stupid. The people that make them, are trying to reduce us to idiots.The mentality of a 5 year old, might get their attention. Thank God, for the mute button. I refuse to buy any of their products. They have ruined TV, since they take up so much time. Newscasters are out of breath. They have to talk so fast, they are hard to understand.

    Needless to say, everyone I know HATES commercials! TV doesn't cost me much money. It is dark 23 hours of everyday.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  6. Neil

    I know this sounds trivial compared to the litany of issues in your commentary and a year ago I would have agreed with you, but that was before I became a dad. I now have a seven month old and when we set the volume on our TV to a level where he can sleep and we can enjoy a program, we have found a balance. That little comfort in our quality of life is disturbed when a commercial is aired. This is a quality of life issue and it is not too much to ask that commercials be the same volume as the program they sponsor.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  7. Monica Stabin

    Posing your question in that way, No, it is not one of the "great issues of our time", but I am very glad someone in Congress is dealing with this issue.
    It is a matter of privacy and consumer rights. I/We pay for cable TV to watch in the privacy of our homes. We play the TV at a certain volume and are constantly turning the volume down during commercials, which are are obscenely loud.
    If we benefit from Congressman Cliff Stearns' bill, so be it.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  8. Tom Dittrich

    It must be a big issue your covering the story .

    December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  9. Mike

    It's an issue that is certainly not the most critical but it's needed addressing for a very long time. I shouldn't have to turn down the volume during a commercial break. When I watch TV I expect to be able to kick back and relax. A loud break is like a rough shake awake from a good rest. Heck, since "Going Green" seems to determine how important something is I'd like to point out that an unnecessary increase in volume contributes to a slightly higher carbon footprint for every television viewer. When a loud commercial is on I'm not paying more attention to the advertisement – I'm fumbling for the remote and the volume control.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  10. E. Wallace

    I love it that our lawmakers want to put rules on something they don't even understand. There are no volume knobs when you make an ad that magically can be turned down. It is a little more complicated than that. Now, if only they will sprinkle some of their pixie dust on healthcare!

    December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Nancy from Tennessee

    In the scheme of things the volume of the T.V. ads seems small, but there's nothing like being blasted out of your favorite recliner by the latest advertising jingle. President Bush made our lives better by getting us the "Do Not Call List". Maybe during the Obama administration we will get the "Do Not Yell Law". Everyone has to have something good to be remembered for.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  12. Bob in Florida

    If you are sitting in a war zone the Tv isn't very important. If you are one of the several million American's who get their connection to the rest of the world through their TV it is.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  13. jz-Madison, WI

    Controlling the volume of a television commercial ranks at the bottom of my world; having lost my job, exhausted all of my unemployment benefits and the looming potential of loosing my home due to foreclosure,(I dont qualify for the modification program-thank you WELLS FARGO!, interest rate hikes to 30% on my credit cards and 2 sons whom are soldiers in the Army, the volume is kids play.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  14. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    It ranks in the sucks category along with the commercial the only commercial worth watching is the Michelin commercial with the forest creatures turn the volume down and start with internet commercials.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  15. Wally

    It is about time someone does something about the high volume level of the commericals! A person needs to hang on to the remote and lower the volume or usually hit mute. It seems to be worse in the evening and a person wants the house a little more quiet. This law can not come soon enought. I was considering buying a TV with constant sound level.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  16. Adam

    I agree that it's a non-issue in the grand scheme of things. And to think that not "...important televised debates...", not "...educational programming...", but "...bowl games coming up" is one congressman's motive for pushing this through...it's pathetic.

    However, I admit there is something so repulsive, insulting, and backwards about such a crude, gimmicky marketing tactic that I'm happy to see my tax dollars going towards its eradication. I would have preferred to see the FCC squash this from the get-go, not the legislature, but I'll take what little government competence and action exists whenever I can get it. I watch TV exclusively via Hulu, and even online the ad volume is deafening.
    "Just make it louder!"
    I guess 100,000 years later, there are still neanderthals on Madison Ave.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  17. Evelyn Kiresen

    Thank you for taking issue with this situation on our TV. I thought I was the only one who was constantly fiddling with the volume button. It is particularly annoying at night when a sudden bump in the volume of sound can literally rock you in your chair. I have noticed that it is contributing to carpel tunnel syndrome!

    December 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  18. Josh B from Ohio

    It ranks in the trash bin.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  19. Weldon from Canada

    The TV ads are much more entertaining than any government ad they could put on!!

    December 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  20. Need A. HearingAid

    Certainly, this isn't one of the more pressing issues of the day, but neither was legislation addressing telemarketing calls. Those were also "merely" a nuisance, but I know my quality of life has improved since laws were enacted restricting those calls. I get far fewer. And fewer calls waste less telecommunications resources.

    Sometimes, you deal with a widespread annoyance because you *can*, and because the little things add up. Some of those commercials now are at almost TWICE the volume of the television program. After that happens repeatedly, over the course of a game or another extended program, that jarring burst of noise can become a severe annoyance. Maybe Americans spend too much time watching TV, but torturing them out of it isn't the answer.

    Don't spend forever on it, but get something done, sure.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  21. Farima

    Actually high since there isn't a day that I'm not annoyed by the technique that assumes I need commercials blasted in my ears. There is no winning....if they try to solve the big issues, they're told it is impossible and when small annoyances like this, you get on their case.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  22. Norm

    Well, at least Congress may pass something this year unless the GOP decides to filibuster this bill also.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  23. JKS

    I was just complaining about this 2 nights ago while watching TV with my family.

    In the grand scheme of things it should NOT be on Congress' radar – but – it would be nice if this was fixed.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  24. Mike from Lone Tree

    Congress has a way of setting priorities that causes one to shudder.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  25. Carol

    C'mon, not everything has to destroy the world to be considered! Do you even watch TV, Cafferty?? It's VERY annoying when you have to mute your commercials each time because they're screaming at you. OK – it's NOT a roadside bomb, but quality of daily life is important, too.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  26. Erin, CA

    New TVs have a setting to control the volume of ads automatically, making this issue even less important than it could be. Commercial volume does not make the list of great issues in our time. However, the fact it is being debated in Congress speaks volumes to the couch-potato society we've become.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  27. Ryan

    Here's the thing, we elect our representatives and senators because there's something we see in them that we think makes them good decision makers. Not every one of them is an expert on economics, banking, military affairs, or a host of other "pressing" issues. We also elect them because we expect them to be able to multi-task. So personally, I see no problem with Congress continuing to handle the little things about the country while pressing forward on the big things. Let's face it, if we stopped for the big things, nothing would ever happen... it's the little stuff that most congresses achieve, because there's far less partisan bickering and stalling.

    As for overly loud television advertisements, it's obnoxious and I support our government (Congress and the FCC) for trying to do something about it.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  28. Jim Underwood

    No surprise here! Seeing that our elected representatives have the attention span of a 4 week old beagle, I'm surprised they didn't act sooner!

    Jim Underwood,
    Kissimmee, Fl

    December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  29. Tony in Virginia

    Although it certainly doesn't rank up there with the most pressing issues of the day – if Congress can do something about the ridiculously large difference in volume between regular programming and commercials, then I will be quite pleased. Considering that Congress is unable to make headway on the big issues, then taking care of some of the small ones shouldn't interfere. Normalizing the volume of TV ads works for me – and I will be grateful for the effort.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  30. John Greene

    My wife and I are constantley reaching for our remote during commercials to turn them down. NBC, TNT, FX are common to have these offenders.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  31. Patricia Sweeney

    When you husband is practically deaf like mine is and the TV is turned up so loud you can't stand it and THEN the commercials come on, it's like living inside a volcano eruption. My husband, meanwhile, remains blissfully unaware. So, yes, controlling the volume of TV commercials ranks right up there with me. I support this measure 100%. It's either that or divorce. Save my marriage!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  32. Nicholas Laird

    I'm actually glad they're doing this. While there are obviously much more important issues at the moment, it seems like it will take almost no time at all to pass this and get it through, and I think it will be beneficial. I do actually notice the difference in volume between shows and commercials. I live in New Brunswick, NJ, and my roommates and I ALWAYS comment on how much louder the commercials are than the show we are watching and its incredibly irritating and obnoxious. I am thankful for this bill.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  33. Jim Divan

    I’m for it especially if political adds are included, maybe those should be automatically muted.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  34. Jack Bauer

    Based on the amount of TV watching most people do these days, I would say that "On a list of great issues of our time", this may rank higher than you would think, Jack. Although I agree that there are more important issues, this one is a no-brainer. Do it. True other issues may be of greater signifigance, but they are not easy answer no-brainers and are consuming rediculous amounts of time and resources. At least something is getting done that I can appreciate. Hopefully, Congress can build off of the momentum and start chipping away at bigger issues.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  35. Richard

    Of course it isn't a major issue, but to make it appear that this is the only thing that the government is working on is irresponsible. It is shameful that you would put that sort of spin on it just for viewership. All of the other things you listed are concurrently being worked on by the government. We should not become angry over multitasking. Please, next time, find better news instead of making news up to be angry over.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  36. Pete


    Not a "pressing" issue and it does not necessiate a mandate from Congress...but, and I may speak for many...it would be welcome.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  37. Eugene, Myers Flat, CA

    Poppa Jack,

    My wife and I are always complaining about this same invasive, noise pollution problem. I'm a veteran with a combat related hearing disability and these loud TV ads make my hearing aids want to explode. It's painful and I don't need another Shamwow anyway. Turn the damn volume down on these invasive TV ads. And Jack, could you let ole Ba Ba Ba Boo Blitzer sing us a song sometime?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  38. JIM from Mansfield, Ohio


    I will be brutally honest with you, Jack: I would rather tolerate listening to one loud television commercial EVERY hour for the rest of my life than to listen to one single more media story about the Tiger Woods scandal.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  39. Buck

    I now the are other very important matters but I am sure this bill didn't take up much of their time and the commercial volume being louder than the show has annoyed me for many years.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  40. Vivek

    Now I would like to know who were the lobbiest for this bill. There has to be an angle, like there is for everything else in Washington.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  41. Jackie Mosley

    Definitely at the bottom. Big deal you have to turn it down every commercial. We are lucky we even have a tv. Waste of time right now.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  42. Michael K. Burt

    Oh.....you didn't know??? Our enemies are making these commercials louder to eventually make us all deaf!! It is a international conspiracy that our lawmakers have jumped right on to save the world. LOL

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  43. Pat from Indiana

    It's often the little irritants that send the already-unstable off the deep end. I can only imagine how many whack-jobs Billy Mayfair pushed over the edge!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  44. David Evangelista

    Thank God. And that's not sarcastic. It's about time SOMETHING about commercials is controlled. It's bad enough I'm sometimes subjected to them above the urinal in a public bathroom when it's unavoidable. It's a quick distraction from the important issues Congress has to deal with but I think necessary.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  45. Barbara in Houston Texas

    Political ads are the worst when it comes to hiking up the volume. However, the automobile ads are crazy loud. I'm not going to buy a huge half ton Chevy Pick-up just because the ad is louder...I'll hit my mute button! And don't get me started on Nancy Grace ads...ugggggg.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  46. Leo mcGill

    All for it. Constant irritant. And as for the perspective that this shouldn't be a priority in terms of more pressing issues...... Obviously. But as Congress focuses on the more pressing issues, there is plenty of wait time and bandwidth available to deal with theseeasy issues that can get quick resolution and show us that they can actually get stuff done. Next on the agenda should be all the sleazy male enhancement commercials in prime time, especially during NFL games. That intrudes on my young family's right to wholesome sports entertainment (sort of). Embarassing for those of us with younger children. With the use of TV preferences, we should be able to block certain types of commercials or at least choose the maturity level of the commercials we choose to permit.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  47. John - Salt Lake UT

    I show my disgust in advertisers who blast their message by muting their commercials and not purchasing their products. Let them waste their advertising dollars. They are foolish to anger the consumer with such tactics. If you want my attention, develop a more effective message. Screaming at the consumer is a sure way to get people to tune your message out.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  48. Rich

    I find it annoying, but why stop there? How many times do you change channels and you have to adjust the volume of your TV because some stations are louder than others? You call the cable company and they say it's from the channel's network. You call the channel network and they say it's the cable company. Why is it that nobody has the nerve to step up and say, "It's me, sorry, but we're not going to change anything". Why can't we just change channels and not have to adjust the TV volume?

    Thanks for your time.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  49. Les Liss

    I don't think the marketing companies realize how many viewers simply and automatically mute the commercials because of the annoying increase in volume. Though this doesn't rank up there with the economy issues, it is still important to deal with.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  50. kay schroeder

    This may not be earth shatteringly important however it annoying as heck to have to keep turning the volume up/down or muting it every time a commercial comes on.

    When facing tough issues, many times the easy issues get attention first because they are easy.

    Diverting attention away from the real problems is a talent that Congress seems to have.

    Or looking at it from a different perspective, the less Congress passes, the better off the American people are.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  51. Mario Colon

    Well as long as our tax dollars are being focused on something as asinine as this in these troubled times, they ought to give it an equally asinine title; something like: 'The Billy Mays Act'!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  52. Linda in Arizona

    Jack, what kind of an ingrate are you? The House managed to agree on something that will help the average person, and you're complaining because it isn't important enough? I'm glad they passed this bill. I hate loud commercials. Lower your expectations, please. These days, we're lucky to get anything.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  53. RGuit

    So this is only in the power of the FCC? So, cable, which most Americans use, would not be covered. Oh boy. What a great bill. Four or five channels out of my two hundred would be affected. Lame. Just clock out early guys and save us real workers some tax money.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  54. milli

    I understand that this is not a burning social issue, but it is my pet peeve. Many a night I have fallen asleep with the TV on only to be awakened in the middle of the night by the voice of some character yelling at the camera in an effort to persuade me to buy a gadget that chops things to pieces...like I really can't live without a chopper.

    I am too busy to make it my personal crusade, but I am very happy that other people have taken action. Finally, something that I agree with that our government has done.
    Milli in Dallas, Texas

    December 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  55. kate

    Admittedly, it's way down there. But, I have stopped having CNN on as my "go to sleep" channel at night (timed to go off after a certain time) for that exact reason.

    Can't wait to fall asleep with Anderson again!

    Kate in Canada

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  56. Brook E. Mantia

    Hey CNN, you do the same thing with your ads in your videos, and it's annoying as all get out. It's such a PITA to have to continually adjust the volume up and down–not to mention the ire it triggers against the advertisers themselves. It's pretty naive to assume that your advertising is going to be more effective just because it's LOUDER.


    And with all the "real" problems we have to deal with, that might go a little easier if we weren't kept in a perpetual state of irritation and impatience.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  57. Mark

    I'd much rather congress spend their time worrying about this stuff than the big issues you mention. They are bound to screw up anything they touch, so better it is something that doesn't much matter. Those loud commercials ARE annoying, though.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  58. Mike

    You know Jack – I like this. While I agree that there are all sorts of issues more important than this one, I like the idea that Congress is spending a small fraction of its time on less important issues that might reach a quick resolution.

    Unemployment isn't going to be solved by a quick verbal vote. This probably will. Who likes loud commercials?

    Go Congress.

    Mike P
    San Jose, CA

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  59. aaron

    I for one am very glad they are doing this. At least it's something that republicans and democrats can agree on. There are thousands of bills that come up in congress every year, while this is no where near the most important, it doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Why is Jack Cafferty think it's a big deal? Who knows, maybe it's a slow news day.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  60. Barbara in NC

    Hey – it's something the Republicans are willing to do to earn their money (like the BSC resolution by Hatch instead of Healthcare).

    They've finally reached the top of their capabilites !!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  61. Kim

    Wow this is the stuff of Country Bulding! Only in USA , baby, only in USA. Give me a break!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  62. X-Man

    Just as the unsolicited phone calls issue was not on the list of the great issues of our time, this is still something that a great many feel is an intrusion into our privacy and needs to be dealt with as well.

    BTW, couldn't it be dealt with using technology?

    City of Commerce, CA

    December 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  63. Marty

    It ranks high Jack,my thumbs are killing me from turning the volume down every time Wolf goes to a station break.These advertisers would sell more stuff if they wouldn't try to jam their products down our throats.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  64. john madge


    Obviously not an earth shattering issue (ranks just behind my annoyance at talking heads that show a very dated picture of themselves 15 years or so younger) but if government stops all action on other than the top 10 or so issues of the moment nothing will ever get done.
    Lighten up!!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  65. rob wall

    It ranks right up there with a libotomy for Rush Limbaugh, the vote to change street names to dead senators and of course the idea of promoting Dick Cheney to warden of the new Gitmo prison.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  66. Squirt South Carolina

    I personally make it a point not to patronize the advertisers who think I have to hear their ad over my rich, baritone voice while I am in the shower! And the louder they are, the more I boycott their butts!! It may be a minor problem to you, Jack, (and we love ya!) but it is a major problem for many, many tv viewers. I also turn them off....if I'm not in the shower singing!!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  67. Melinda

    Wow – I totally thought it was my years old TV, or the fact that I only seem to notice it when I'm watching older programming.

    Yes it's an annoyance. However, I don't think it's a major priority.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  68. morcutt

    Thank God! There has been some PSA running with a Randy Travis song that blows me right off of the sofa every time it airs. Now, don't get me wrong, I like Randy Travis, I'm just not prepared to hit the volume for the +15db volume gain that this commercial/PSA has....

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  69. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Was the volume thing an Obama tactic if it was the election's over turne it down some of us have heart conditions .

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  70. Tyler

    Advertising promotes a myriad of undesirable social norms. Congressional intervention is an important step. I'm just glad the Democrats were able to pass anything... What with all of their time being spent reading that 2,000 page health care bill, apparently.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  71. Glenn Warrick


    The concern about commercial noise levels ranks along where the approval rating for Congress resides-at the bottom of the ocean with the whale dung.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  72. Roswell

    The volume of Ads has gotten completely out of hand. Its not just a turn it off problem. The volume can change so dramatically that it can bother neighbors and hurt the ears of listeners. The FCC used to be able to regulate this, but the no-government advocates saw fit to strip them of that power. I suspect a few corporate lobbyists may have been involved. No it's not on the list of top 10 issues, BUT at least Congress can get something fixed.


    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  73. Sue

    Many higher-end TVs already automatically adjust the volume of commercials so they are not louder than the actual TV program. If you don't think this is a big deal, your TV is probably adjusting it already. Believe me, if you switched to a different TV without this feature, you would understand what all the hullabaloo is about.

    Sue in St. Louis, MO

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  74. jeane

    I support the action...it is about time. The people can write and complain to the commission with no results, Now maybe with congress involved, we the people can enjoy your show w/o having to adjust the volume up and down.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  75. Tommy

    Why don't we as a group quit paying for TV? Let them pay for if they want to show commercials. Simple! We cannot control anything with TV, but we control the money!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  76. James from Tennessee

    It should not even be an issue. I mean, what's not simple about turning the volume down on your own television. I never pictured that we Americans were that lazy to do something so simple.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  77. Stacey

    It's about time. Loud commercials SUCK! Too bad the FCC can't figure this out without Congress telling them to do their job. If the FCC could take care of this then Congress wouldn't have to "waste" their time on something so insignificant in comparison to the other issues they are tackling.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  78. Finagle

    Yes, the volume of most commercials is dramatically louder than the show I am watching. My solution is to mute the commercial if live or fast forward if recorded (personal preference). I also skip commercials if they are excessively annoying.

    It was my understanding ads are to entice the viewer to purchase their product, but if the commercials continue to antagonize the comsumer then either the manufacturer or advertising agency might want to reconsider their strategy before action is taken to rectify the problem. Oops, too late.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  79. Anna Sarasota FL

    I think it ranks as important because it goes on my nerves every day.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  80. Ron

    I think that this is a microcosm of issues people are grappling with. They feel frustrated and put upon by larger, wealthier and more powerful groups, mainly big businesses. They see our former administrations in bed with these groups and no, this wasn't an issue til Ronald Reagan made it one. Do people hate louder commercials? You bet! Is it life and death? No. But it represents the helplessness people feel about banks, government, job loss, war and health care, or lack of it. We, apparently can't get these other things taken care of but just maybe we can get this one little thing corrected.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  81. Dann

    Jack, TV commercial volume doesn't even register on the radar of things Congress should be addressing. Besides, as long as we have screaming hucksters trying to sell us everything from Electric Dog Polishers to some Miracle Tool that will end up in our kitchen junk drawer no legislation will work. My remote has a mute button. It works. I use it.

    Vancouver, Canada

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  82. Jacque D (Oregon)

    In truth, very low, even though it is a constant irritation. I'd rather see Congress doing something towards banning Pharmaceutical Ads that push dangerous drugs and are constantly creating or feeding into hypochondia thru out society. But due to our system of lobbist and the influence of big money corporations, I know that will never happen, since Congress is bought and sold by that particular element of our society..

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  83. that guy

    Thank god, it's about time. This has been getting on my nerves for a while.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  84. Gordon Daily

    My problem is that why is this the place of the Federal government to determine? People can vote with the remote. Turn away from channels that broadcast commercials in a manner you don't like.

    Can't find any that are to your liking? Turn off the boob tube and read a book!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  85. Sally Zitzer

    Of course this issue is not as important as global warming, over
    population, and the recession.
    But it is extremely annoying when watching a good TV show to
    have to keep muting the sound. I hate being shouted at by
    the commercials.

    Sally Zitzer
    Edmonds, Washington State

    December 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  86. Mark Salick

    Hey Jack, Why don't you think unnecessary noise pollution in our own homes is not important? And why don't you think that we can't multi-task and be concerned about more than one thing at a time? Maybe because you're on TV, you don't watch TV.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  87. Karol Scottsdale, AZ

    Congress should be embarrassed even to address the volume of television. It ranks way below zero in national importance.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  88. JC

    Head On, Head On...not to mention the now-deceased loudmouth Billy Mays...at least with phone solicitors I can choose not to listen. The marketplace failed to fix the problem, so the government has to, that's why we have a government. Of course you don't care because they pay your exhorbitant salary.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  89. laurentcid

    Is this really serious ?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  90. Matthew J. Atlanta

    Is this an issue of our time? – HARDLY! Tax dollars spending any time towards this topic is a waste. Only in America!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  91. Paul Caronna

    Jack who cares? Why would anyone watch commericals when you can skip right thru them with your DVR........lol

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  92. Viktor Hlon

    In harsh times of recession people start noticing those things very well! You should know better the importance of bowl games for calming down angry people. And loud ads aren't helping.

    By the way, I'm guessing someone is going to rise this veriest question in our Parliament really soon.

    Kyiv, Ukraine.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  93. Kathy

    Ok, so it is not one of the great issues of our time, or even one of the somewhat important issues of our time. But, I must confess that I have complained repeatedly about the volume of the advertisements and it will be a relief to have them controlled.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  94. Bill

    Jack -
    The advertisers should know that I (and others I've spoken with) will take my business to their competitors if I have to turn down the volume on their ads. Cox Communication is a good example.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  95. Chris - Durham, NC

    Well, don't you have anything more important to report about?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  96. Frank Corrigan

    Jack, In Canada the only offender is CNN. Your own station is the only offender here that raises its Commercial Volume.

    How ironic Jack you haven't got a clue what your own Network is up to.

    sorry Jack that's very disappointing,


    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  97. Ray Janis

    A worldly issue, No. A 20 times an hour irritant very much so.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  98. Gerald St. Germain

    Presiden Obama's plan to have a commission decide how to handle the deficit is just another way to get around keeping his promise of not raising taxes.

    He will let the commission raise taxes and then say he is not responsible for it.

    He definitely does not want to reign in his deficit spending on his pet projects that move us toward socialism.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  99. Paulette, Dallas,PA

    Extremely high Army suicide rate,people are homeless and jobless,and we're in the deepest Recession since the Great Depression and people can't figure out how to mute TV commercials. Just mute the TV and boycott any annoying products that are driving you crazy. Men should have no problem doing this. I often wonder if my husband hears me but I know damn well that he does because he had his hearing tested. So folks who are experiencing anxiety over loud commercials – take a tip from my husband – use selective hearing!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  100. Gary

    From Hawaii;

    TV noise is a problem that ranks way up there for congressional concern. Would you have them waste time on this OR spending time on how to earmark $100 million here and there for more "bridges to nowhere"? At least this costs us nothing?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  101. Julia

    Just because an issue or problem is not huge or great, doesn't mean it should be ignored. A Feb. 2009 Nielsen report showed that the average American watches 151 hours of television per month. There's an average of 16-20 minutes of commercials per hour. So that's 45 hours of commercials per month. If all those commercials have increased volume, it's a huge annoyance for the average American. And come on, do we really need more annoyances in life? Since my government is in charge of this regulation, I want them to pay attention to this issue as well as the huge issues like healthcare and economic recovery. I would love it if this bill were to pass.
    Portland, Oregon

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  102. Peter Greene

    Agree 100% not the primary issue of the day, but problem is definition of loudness: ordinary program fluctuates in loudness, only sometimes reaches the maximum, but I believe regulations say ads must not be luder than the maximum for programs, so they advertisers make ads stay constantly at the maximum, so they get away with sounding louder. Assuming we need a law, it should say the average loudness of ads shouldn't exceed the average loudness of programs.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  103. ryan

    It's not something I'd consider more important than anything else. But, if Congress can pass this, who knows, maybe they'll be able to actually pass other legislation.... πŸ™‚ I do agree that the legislation would be worthwhile, I'm sick of having to routinely crank my TV volume down.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  104. Amy TC

    Hey, more power to them. At least this will have more of an impact on our daily lives than providing economic stimulus to the middle class.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  105. Beth

    I am thrilled that somebody is going to take this action, and I don't care who it is. THE LOUD ADS ARE SO ANNOYING!!! I am sick of having to click the volume down every time an ad comes on, then click it back up when the program is back. And my husband keeps the volume so loud during the program, that when the ads come on I think my ears are going to bleed! Please, save my ears!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  106. Harry Applin

    It is about time. England actual has a "Truth in Advertisement" law. Quieting them down is a start in that direction. And congress should be able to do more than one thing at a time, though this hasn't always been the case. Remember that the congress, in 2004, was only spending 3 days a week working. Let them do the work and maybe we will get something done. What will be important is who will be voting against the measure.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  107. David in Los Angeles

    It may not be as important as the 2 wars we are in or the recession, but atleast it is clear. It is as invasive as a phone call during dinner by a telemarketer. They shouldn't spend too much time debating it, but is there really any debate necessary. Let the individual decide the volume The manipulation of the volume is invasive and it is wrong.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  108. dandee

    oh thank god.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  109. Rex Meade

    The issue of volume control on commercials is the greatest issue in America and is more important than the economy, health care or Afghanistan.

    During the past 6 months I have destroyed seven TV sets with my Uzi when the damn commercials come on and blast my ears with 200 decibals of total crap.

    I say let the Congress fix this before I kill more TV sets. Please.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  110. Ted

    This issued doesn't rank that high in the over scheme of things, but this is exactly the type of thing our law makers are supposed to do, make laws. Unfortunately, they can't spend every waking second on health care or the middle east. They have to take care of smaller less important stuff too, or the whole shooting match will come to a halt.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  111. Jamie

    This may not be important to you, but it is important to other Americans. The tension level in our country is through the roof, and a big part of it is the fact that we can't escape from the media anymore. Things are constantly screaming for our attention. News articles use over-exaggerated phrases to get us wound up over issues that are already distressing. The Internet now has things popping out at us and yelling at us. Television shows now play ads at as WHILE we're watching the show, rather than giving us a break for a few minutes. Ads - how frantic they are and how loud they are - are a major contributor to stress levels.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  112. Lee

    Waycross, Georgia

    In the big picture it is not a priority on anyone's list, but I have to say that it is irritating as hell to constantly have to adjust the volume when going to and from commercials. Like an earlier comment I read: at least their doing something for the average citizen. That in itself should be a notice of how fed up americans are with their government.
    I vote to turn it down, then I won't have to listen to all the political lies being broadcast.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  113. Joe, Las Vegas (the dealer, not the plumber)

    Hey Jack! Yes, it's silly that Congress is dealing with TV commercial volume at this time. At the same time, CNN and other cable news networks need to prioritize they're concerns. When will we hear the end of the Tiger Woods situation. Instead of asking questions like this Jack, maybe you should spend some more time on real issues like the problem in Darfur, the worldwide environmental problems, or maybe even something positive like the 12,000 new jobs that will be created in Vegas on the 16th at the new CityCenter.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  114. Cody

    True the Volume of TV Ads is not one of the top priorities facing the nation. It could however be one issue both sides can agree on. Maybe if Congress could manage to pass a bipartisan bill limiting the volume of TV Ads it would lead to cooperation on bigger issues. If not, at least they could brag about passing something while they're home for the holiday break.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  115. David

    I love that this is a story! I was commenting to my wife about the new trend of TV commercials getting louder and louder; I don't remember this as a child growing up, or even a few years ago. Personally I just noticed it within the last 6 months, and it seems like they're increasing the volume even more !
    Anyway, can't believe I sound like an old man, my wife makes fun of me for it, (I'm 40) but hey, I was in the Persian Gulf War, so I understand the concern for the war in Afganistan, and I now run my own business, so I clearly have concern for the economy, and being a small business owner puts me on top of the health care issue. However ! That being said; I still like to sit and relax in front of the tv without being blasted by a commercial, so yes! I love that I'm not the only one that has noticed this this, and if someone can do something about it, have at it. Peace and Happy Holidays David from Salem Massachusetts πŸ™‚

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  116. Marty Donegan from Bethlehem PA

    Apparently right after lame health care reform

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  117. MB

    I am as annoyed as any one but thought the TV manufactures could handle this as a voume issue of the TV set. A TV can easily be set to control the decible output so that the input signal from comercials is no longer an issue the output is constant. Seems easier then congress getting involved

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  118. Chris from KC

    I say it's about time. And shame on communications companies for letting it come to this.

    I am perhaps more sensitive to this issue than most people, as I am an audio engineer AND I am vehemently opposed to commercialism and consumerism. Obnoxiously loud commercials are like bullies, trying to coerce people. Demanding people's attention whether they are interested or not. It's downright abusive. Do you just sit and take it when someone yells at you repeatedly for no reason about things that don't even interest you?

    And what most people don't realize (but as an audio engineer I do) is that commercials are louder not because the signal level is stronger, but rather because the signal is more dynamically compressed (same maximum signal level, but higher average signal level). Without getting technical, let me just state that the trade-off is lousy sound quality. But what do advertisers care? They have your attention!

    Excessive dynamic compression is rampant not just in TV commercials, but also in radio broadcasts and even in the music industry. It's gotten so bad that the average listener wouldn't know quality if they heard it, because they seldom hear it. If the FCC were living up to its responsibilities as a regulating agency, it would establish standards for average audio volume, not just maximum signal level.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  119. Shaun

    Jack.....could you and Wolf please repeat what you were reporting? I was not able to turn my tv back up in time because of the loud commercials so I missed much of what was said. Thank you.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  120. Glenn

    I have a small hearing problem that makes me put up my TV a little louder than usual. I live in an apartment and have had complaints from neighbours about the loudness of my TV. So now I have the TV at a barely listenable volume (for me) and race for the remote every commercial as to not be "too loud". I hope that this rule carries over to Canada as well. Yes there are much more important issues, but I am happy that someone realizes we don't all live in a house where we can be as loud as we want.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  121. Chad from Los Angeles

    This is not important, but I think it proves I have not gone crazy becuase they were really making the commercials louder recently.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  122. Paul Caronna

    Jack, who the hell cares. If you watch commericals you are nuts. Just use your DVR and skip right thru them all. Paul from Oregon

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  123. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Loud commericals are annoying and expense when you're turning the volume down/up causing your battery life to shorten. Maybe they're in business with the battery companies, maybe that should be investigated.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  124. Christopher H.

    I believe that because you the media as well as Congress is now turning its attention to this issue is pretty awesome! Lowering the volume of TV commercials may not be a top concern but it is definitely a major concern to me, and I am just speaking as a person who loves the "Cafferty File" and anything spoiling that moment is simply a nuisance. I hope that Congress and or the FCC will do something about this as soon as possible.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  125. Navid (nah-veed)

    Sorry Jack can you repeat the question? I had the volume turned down from the commercial break to keep my dog from crying . .

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  126. Matthew J. Atlanta

    Instead of implementing governmental power over the volume, how about the numerous times we have to view the same commericals. NO, I am not buying new cars or diamonds this holiday season!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  127. Bertha

    Could you be any more negative lately? Geese!
    Need a joke? What do you call half the Republican congressmen at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.... Are you smiling now?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  128. Doug in NC

    I think this is a horrible idea. If congress manages to quiet the local car dealership commercials, what will be left to drown out the BS coming from our politicians these days?!?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  129. Anne

    Speak of the devil! We were just talking about this and how TVs ought to have a setting to absolutely set the volume no matter what channel you go to or what is being broadcast. Then there wouldn't need to be a law against blaring commercials.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  130. Jared

    I am so happy that they are finally doing this, Jack you may be ON TV but it seems like you never actually watch any. It is really annoying to have advertisements that are jarringly loud above and beyond the level of the TV show.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  131. Michael Gianourakis


    Actually, although I understand your point about there being other more pressing issues in today's world, this is something that can be resolved with minimal effort. Its a no brainer. Its my TV. I should be the only one able to control the volume. Having "someone else" (read huge corporations) selectively raise the volume on my TV in my home during a commercial so I can pay more attention to it is un-American and smells of big brother doing the bidding of Corporate America.

    The vote in Congress should take no more time than the countless other bogus resolutions they pass each day. The real question is: Why will it take the FCC one year to draft rules? Just state that no outside volume manipulation will be allowed, period (except for emergency broadcasting.) Why will it take another year to enforce?? Set a fine schedule, write some code and automatically monitor. Investigate complaints and use the fine money to pay the monitors. WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?

    Mike G, Astoria, NY

    PS When I first started noticing this "phenomenon" a few years ago, my then girlfriend thought I was losing it (and I just turned 40.) πŸ™‚

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  132. Sanjeev

    Jack, you know just because you don't think this is an important issue doesn't mean it isn't. Ofcourse there are other issues that are are important. Duh! You report on so many issues everyday that I could say the same about. If something can be fixed through a quick bill why not? Don't snicker and get all condescending just because it doesn't affect you.

    I once called Comcast complaining about drastic volume differences between channels and within a channel during ads, and they ofcourse told me they couldn't do anything about it. So I started yelling at the rep on the phone. And he went "Sir, sir please don't speak so loudly". So I told him to give the phone to his superviser, who I spoke to at a high volume as well. Now atleast those two employees know how I feel.

    Jack, I just wish I could call you and give you the same treatment.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  133. Sanya

    Pat from Indiana: Don't you mean Billy Mays???

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  134. Johan Strandberg

    You can not just lay everything else aside just because you have other great issues. Different issues have different severity to all of us. But where the market clearly does not listen to the customers, government have to regulate.
    //Johan S. Karlstad, Sweden.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  135. Mike B in Toronto

    Jack, maybe we can slip in an amendment to eliminate all sound on C-SPAN while we are at it. At least sometimes commercials are clever and interesting....more so than politicians.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  136. Maria from Minnesota

    Hey, if it keeps those buffoons occupied long enough to prevent them from passing this silly health care "reform", I'm all for it.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  137. Cali_Dude

    It's no wonder that our country is so screwed up. Our leaders just don't get it. I am ashamed that the "politician" (Anna Eshoo) that initiated this extremely important piece of legislation, is from the very area I live and work in. It just shows that our elected officials just don't get pay cuts, layoffs, foreclosures, etc. Then again, had I known that the "culprit" for causing the economic disaster was loud tv ads.....

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  138. SusanJA

    Just because it isn't very important doesn't mean it shouldn't be dealt with.

    Fixing a dripping sink when you also need a whole new roof is also worthwhile.

    It's like saying you shouldn't get involved in the school bake sale when a million people are suffering with war, disease, and poverty all over the world.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  139. Joseph J Neuschatz M.D.

    What's a "TV add".....?

    I tape all the shows I plan to watch on my DVR and eliminate (fast forward) all the zero interest stuff.

    What's a "TV add"....?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  140. Cyle in Dublin, CA

    my tv's too loud and I'm too inconvenienced to push the mute button of the remote in my lap.

    Forget healthcare, crime rates, illiterate high school grads, homeless children, 12% unemployment, global warming, home forclosures and the mexican cartels murdering people on both sides of our border.

    Regulating the volume of the Snuggles Fabric Softener Bear takes precidence.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  141. Bob Smith

    It ranks pretty damn high for me, Jack. One cable movie channel plays commercials at what seems to be twice the volume of the programming. Whenever a commercial on that channel comes on, I and the chair I'm sitting in nearly fall over backwards. If Congress actually does something about this problem, it will probably improve the quality of my life more than anything they have done in years.

    Bob Smith
    Simi Valley, CA

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  142. kathy mcginnis

    Hello! We purchased a modern TV awhile back that controls the sound – it turns the volume down when it is too loud! It works great, maybe we should just issue tax credits for new tvs for everyone, that might be less expensive than our government tampering into business they know nothing about....

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  143. Pooja

    They're wasting their time on insignificant matters. I'm 17, and I can tell you that this is just dumb. How about we think about the nation's economy, now? I mean, I'm going to college next year- that's going to put a strain on my family's finances. But our government is thinking about the commercial volume? What?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  144. RON

    While the obvious need of an act of Congress to regulate such nonsense is obsurd, I have been annoyed for decades by the increased volume of commercials and it's about time something was done about it. I watch CNN 3 or 4 hours a day and and a couple more hours of "entertainment" (FOX and MSNBC). Congress may not be able to satisfy me with the passage of a satisfactory Health Care Bill, Equal Rights for Gays, repairing the broken economy or achieving World Peace but if they can reduce the volume of commercials that's one small step towards making my life a little better. Go for it!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  145. Travis

    Glad it is happening, its akin to the "Do Not Call" list. Yes it is a small irritant, but its constant, everyday, every time the TV is turned on.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  146. Sean

    To suggest that the "Big problems" need to be addressed first before the small problems are addressed just doesn't make much sense.

    The big problems probably aren't going to be resolved. Ever. So should everything else just be ignored because they cannot agree on the major issues? Nah, let them be productive and pass things like this that DO have an impact on peoples lives.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  147. Les Brown

    While TV Ad volume may rank only a one on a scale of ten among the great issues of the world, it ranks about nine on the scale for tranquility of a nice evening of relaxing at home. I wrote the FCC about a couple of years ago about this issue and got a nasty reply that the issue was none of their business, interfering with the free enterprise of networks. Once again big business interests trump the public good, even if it's only traquility; Greed, GREED, GREED, louder and LOUDER.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  148. Waltanator

    Something has needed to be done about this for a long time. Obviously this isn't one of the big issues of the day but for the man hours this will take to fix, this is a very worthy endevour.

    The problem is, advertisers will now match the maximum decibel level of whatever show the commercial is being aired on. That means shows with gunshots, or loud crowd noise, will still be annoyingly loud. It might also have the effect of getting tv shows to purposley put loud parts in their shows to attract more sponsers.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  149. Bill in Danville, KY

    Where does it rank? I'd say right above the problem of media members who want to minimize an opportunity to fix a long-term ongoing problem, and advance their own agendas at the expense of the general public's best interest.

    A major contributor to our economic downturn was inappropriate over-commercialization with resultant consumer overspending. Why wouldn't you support putting a stop to that, especially at this time of year?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  150. tbird

    jack - its somewhere around a trillion or so – depends on whether or not we even have a country to have loud tv commercials? -- tv ads/commercials have been terrible since the 60's - magnovox had in fact a build in volume control, ads comes on, it was the same tone as the program -– but the industry became so hostile magnovox nor any other dared bring it up again --- boy, if they could just get this through so easy it would be grand for someone who has problems hearing -- i am normally alone, so when friends or family do come by the first thing i hear is to turn the damn tv down, it is mostly noticeable on a commercial - even i will come out of my senior moments, search for the remote and turn it off – OMG – this is not something i cant live with – but this problem has been there for decades and i am surprised it is going through the system so fast - please, someone put a gag on that weasle with the dollar sign suit, please

    December 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  151. Kathleen O'Meara

    This is a huge irritant and an intrusion into our homes and I am thrilled that this is being addressed. I know several people whom I socialize with who are equally offended, as we have discussed this very issue. I never thought of filing a complaint with the FCC. I was under the impression that companies were permitted to employ this highly offensive tactic and they had lobbied to prevent volume maintenance devices from being sold or installed on tv's. Agreed, in the context of world events, this is trivial. However, maintaining control and peace and quiet in the privacy of our homes- absolutely necessary and priceless. This seems to be a no brainer, but it will be interesting to see if Congress has any backbone or will instead be bribed with campaign contributions to defeat this. This will be very interesting to watch unfold.

    Kathleen O'Meara
    Reno, NV

    December 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  152. Rena

    We're missing an opportunity here, Jack! Rather than order stations to lower the volume on commercials, give tax credits to people who buy a DVR or Tivo and they can just zip right past them in the first place! Economic AND annoying problem – solved! πŸ˜‰

    December 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  153. Pablo

    This is the first question you have asked that I find disappointing. Why are you asking where it should rank amongst the great questions of our time. This is not a great question, rather a commonly shared anoyance. You are perverting the question by taking it out of context. Most of the innovations in our time are small tweaks to address small issues we find annoying. This does not make them insignificant. Considering the amount of time the average person spends watching tv, this is something the majority of the people have to deal with on an everyday basis. If bettering an everyday issue is insignificant then most of our innovations are meaningless. Maybe we should just enjoy the improvments and not worry about where the rank.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  154. Drew

    I agree that this pales in comparison with Global warming, and the economy, however, it is nice to see Congress doing something productive and helpful. Maybe this will be the start of more helpful things to come. I would suggest moving next to global poverty.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  155. Wayne Kenas

    TV volume rates right up there with how annoying I find the coverage of Sarah Palin.... and the coverage of the golfer formerly know as "the Tiger." Granted we have much larger problems gifted to us by Cheney/Bush.... but the press would rather go for the ratings (yourself excluded)

    December 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  156. Jeff

    I think this is great!!! Sure the United States has many more important issues to deal with. I do agree this is something that needed to be done.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  157. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Jack it just plane rank's.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  158. bw

    I'm sure Lieberman will derail this legislation as well.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  159. CJ

    Why don't they just make the shows louder? Perhaps they could go to eleven.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  160. Matt

    I will admit, it's a very annoying thing. I mean, who hasn't had a commercial come on and have it be obnoxiously loud? That said, I think congress has more important things to worry about.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm |

    I watched your segement this evening concerning the volume or loudness of T.V. commercials and it was ironic that you spoke about this because me and my wife was talking about this matter just the night before.We said to each other that something should be done regarding this intrusion,and that is what this is .No one should be able to come into your home and create unnecessary noise un less you give the m permission to do so.Sometime I may have my T.V.on late at night and may be doing whatever, and all of a sudden an invasion of niose creeeps into my bedroom and disturbs my atmosphere. I am so sick of these advertiser who think they can just turn up the volume on my T.V. THAT I PAID FOR.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  162. Phred of Blaine, Wa.

    It's about time someone stop the mind blowing ads that wake me up from my regular naps. Some are transmitted so loud that the cat left the room. It's a feel good item that no congress member will be accused of trouble making. Great shows like yours need not blast out the ads.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  163. John

    Having been in advertising for years, the rationale is simple; commercials are when you leave the room and head for either the kitchen or bathroom. Raising the volume is an attempt to at least audibly keep your attention on the sell.

    As to having congress take time over other more serious and pressing matters; really bad idea.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  164. DM Los Angeles, CA

    I also agree that there are other pressing issues but you cant put up a front that this is sapping their time and resources on other important matters. A few legislators wrote this up and everyone approved it at a glance. NOONE like loud commercials. I know nothing has been done about it in the last 50 years as promised, now its time for a slap on the back of the hand to straighten them up. Its beyond bs having to deal with turning the volume up and down in a panic. This will be as fruitful as the do not call list. It can only help, stop with the doomsday carp.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  165. eileen

    I believe Congress is capable of multi-tasking. It's not as if they are stopping everything they're doing to address this issue. I think it is important, maybe not as important as a war, but it's still a serious problem. Especially when you have a neighbor who sleeps with the TV on and you have paper thin walls.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  166. Sandra Devenney

    I'm from Kelowna, B.C.Canada. I am so glad someone has spoken up on this issue. Loud commercials are not only annoying but are one of the reasons my daughter doesn't even have a TV. We already control the stations we watch based on the commercials we do not want exposed too. The loudness and content was clearly brought back to my attention when I was reading to my granddaughter and she would look up at the TV only during commercials. On the level of priority I would say this in very high on my list because it is something we might actually be able to do something about. Thank you

    December 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  167. Daniella

    I approve of this legislation. Hopefully, it can finally be something that both sides of the aisle agree upon... unless the Republicans decide to continue opposing everything that is good for the public.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  168. Cathy, San Diego

    Although commericals are too loud (we just TIVO through them)–you have GOT to be kidding?! I'm worried about healthcare, Iraq, Iran, N. Korea, my mortgage–can Congress stick to those issues please????

    December 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  169. Christine

    FINALLY! I have found the volume of commercials to be so intrusive that I generally only watch premium channels now. I mute them when I do happen to have them blaring. There are products I refuse to purchase simply because the company has been so rude in my home. No more dollops of daisy for me!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  170. Franz Jacobs

    Jack, you are right. And all of these people posting on this site obviously do not have any time on their hands to anything other than watch television. I do not watch television very often. I would like to see the Congress of the United States of America actually accomplish something other than turning the volume down on commercials. We have real problems right now that need attention.

    This is the United States of America people! This is our country! Congress represents us! What do you think the rest of the world thinks when they hear this stuff!?! Jack, it is really embarrassing...

    December 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  171. Elaine

    My opinion is that the commercials can do a lot of damage if I consider how long the kids, the Seniors or the teenagers watch it. You see, "Cialis" in on air when the kids are still up. What kind of questions can it bring in a house by a 10 years old kids. How to explain that kind of thing to a child? Also, the ads showing a medications always suggest symptoms very slowly and the side effects very fast.

    A elderly person could be easily tempted to think she's having a depression just by listening to the Cymbalta ad. Often, Seniors citizens need company, exercise and vitamins but they could think that they need Cymbalta instead. What are the side effects? Also, the problem of obesity in that country is huge and Burger King, McDonald, Taco Bell and others aren't helping them to lose weight. They don't even need to advertised; we see them very well from the road.

    The TV is made to sell meds, to make people unhealthy or to sell a "scooter" to an elderly. What about the snuggie?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  172. Peter M

    Is it really the place of congress to regulate the volume of television advertisements... Maybe instead of volume they should regulate the content of political adds, you know, more facts less BS... Ah well, at least it's better than non-stop filibustering and the usual partisan deadlock...

    December 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  173. Melanie, Florida

    I guess we are just too lazy to press a "mute" button now.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  174. lynne from nc

    It doesn't appear on any priority list of mine. I have a mute button and I use it. What they need to be doing is for one crowd to grow a back bone and the other to stop obstructing health care reform, with "no."

    From where I sit, not dying is more important than how loud the latest prescription drug ad is that I can't afford to buy.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  175. AZLib

    Does anybody remember the day when you paid for cable TV and you didn't have any commericials. Time we move back to such. While this is a very trival thing for congress to work on it is in fact something that can help many Americans. Today we are suffering from Madison Ave telling our children along with us.. what to wear, what to eat and that we are bad if we somehow don't do it. If we can just get them to turn the volume down a bit it will help. πŸ™‚ This is the first step is getting control of cable industry and their massive drain on the American family.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  176. Mark

    Yet another example of Congress confusing motion for progress.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  177. John in Minneapolis

    Are you deaf? I can't even watch CNN. Every time a commercial comes on I have to turn the volume down.....then when the show comes back I need to turn the volume back up. Of course congress should not be part of this...the FCC should be in control not the advertisers. TV belongs to us doesn't it? It's not life or death but it is really annoying.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  178. Mark

    I had complained to a couple of cable networks about this very subject before realizing they have nothing to do with it. Regardless of the debate on the pressing use of our Congress – would be nice if they made advertisers cut this annoying crap out!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  179. Cynthia

    Of course it's not a huge issue, but I would still LOVE to see something done about it. It is really annoying to have an ad screaming at you for thirty seconds when you've already adjusted the volume. Now we just mute the commercials or DVR what we want to watch and fast forward through them. Either way we're not watching them.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  180. Max

    As they say - Congress is the opposite of progress. Of course, better that they spend their time on this sort of nonsense than stuff that matters. Who is John Galt?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  181. John Leib

    Hey Jack,

    I realize that the issue of loud commercials may not be as newsworthy as "balloon boy" or Tiger's indiscretions, but as a T.V. viewer (and listener), the sudden blast of an annoying ad motivates me to click it off........not in the best interest of those (like you) whose paycheck is dependent on viewership. I, for one, am happy that Congress is doing something positive.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  182. Tim

    While not something as serious as terrorism or global warming, on a day to day personal level, this is one huge aggravation. Not a day goes by that I don't complain about loud commercials. They assalt your ear drums and require constant manipulation of the controls. Why do we have to wait two years for this to be corrected. It is not a complicated subject such as health care or the BCS bowl playoffs. Lets get it done.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  183. Cheryl Fluehr

    This has really bugged me for years. I live in a thin-walled apartment bldg and I have to rush for the remote to mute it down when commercials come on so as not to bother my neighbors.

    It should take Congress 15 minutes to fix this. Let's just FIX IT in record time and move onto the bigger issues they never can solve anyway. Let's get one of these make-life-a-little-better things done each day as an aside to the endless rigmarole involved in the bigger issues.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  184. JL from Chicago, IL

    the lobbyist for this bill should be decorated

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  185. fred smith

    jack, jesus was betrayed by judas.the american people are being betrayed on health care by a jewish senator for 30 pieces of silver from the insurance looby. we gave the democrats the majority they wanted. and now all they can discuss is the volume on my tv. what in heavens name is going on in this country.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  186. Mark V

    "Legislating on excessively loud ads is a waste of time" implies the blogger on an ad funded TV station.

    "Great idea" say the viewers.

    Enough said.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  187. James

    As someone who lives in a Condo and tries to show consideration towards my neighbors, this is a major annoyance to me! Every morning while trying to watch the local news I am constantly having to "attend" to my TV volume when commercials start. I turn it up to hear the news but then have to run over and turn it down when the bombastic commercial comes on... then of course the news comes back on and it's back again to turn it up so I can hear. This occurs probably 5-6 times while making coffee and my lunch as again, I'd hate to blast out my neighbors at 5am in the morning... I am tired of corporations controlling my life with their games... turn up volume for commercials, advertising placed in news, Icons all over the screen, etc... Similiar to the cable industry and their refusal to offer "ala carte" programming... it's mega profits or nothing... hmmmm, isn't corporate greed what caused the lastest mess!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  188. Melanie

    Although I do not consider the issue of TV ads to be so annoying to overshadow other national problems, we must consider those who are turning off their TV's or changing their channels and frustration. Why? If we are tuning out, then we lose our edge over being informed of the real issues. Most of America gets the news from television and if it's true that Americans are so annoyed that we tuning out or changing the channel, then who are the media outlets preaching to when they report the news?

    I am personally annoyed, but I cannot believe that it is something so pressing as to need the involvement of anyone else but the FCC. The FCC is charged with handling these matters. Why not let them institute the necessary rules?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  189. Chuck Idler


    This is one time that I disagree with your BS.

    More than a year ago I made a protest to the FCC about TV commercials being too loud. TV stations are doubling the gain or amplitude of the voice signal that is most annoying when there are youngsters or elderly people sleeping nearby. This is also bothersome when the thin walls separating apartments allow the noise to be transferred.

    The FCC responded by saying they had no authority to control TV station transmissions but I could purchase electronic equipment to automatically attenuate the loud signal. My comment is why should I need to purchase any equipment. And, once I set my volume control to a certain level, it should not be modified.

    When I couldn't get any satisfaction from the FCC, I contacted my Senator Boxer requesting her to give the FCC the authority to control the sound-level problem. Although I never received a direct response to my request, somehow it has been pursued by our Congress.

    Jack, your comments about the frivolity of this legislation when there is so many more issues to be addressed should not be an issue. Congress has always had numerous matters on their plate at one time.

    Chuck Idler
    Grass Valley, CA

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  190. Russ

    Yes its very important and it never should have been allowed to happen. The commercials are deafening compared to the program volumes.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  191. R

    I am all for this legislation. I have DirecTV and it's totally out of control when they air one of their numerous "order DirecTV" commercials. The volume seems to practically double. As one commentator said – you have to carry a remote control around with you at all times. It's a nuisance, and if Congress can get a bill passed, then pass it.

    To the manner in which you presented this issue: It's a false point of argumentation to require that every single issue be "the most important issue of all time". Congress has been tackling health care, climate change, war funding, and appropriations. That they haven't accomplished much is our fault – we vote in polarizing, craven shills who simply agree with our uncompromising views. So guess what: they simply preen and posture. So we can blame ourselves. Also the Democratic Congress is working its ass off on healthcare Jack. That's a pretty big issue as far as I can see.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  192. Dee

    Simply because there are greater issues facing us does not mean that you neglect all others of import. I for one am glad they are dealing with this, it is outrageous how much the volume goes up during television commercilas. I grab my remote every commercial and have to turn volume down & then up again of course when they are over . Given the number of commercials on it is bloody annoying!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  193. steve in virginia

    Not high at all but it's priceless to finally see them do something right for a change and eliminate a major irritant at that. And it would be even more priceless if thy would explain why it should take 2 years to turn down the volume on commercials.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  194. Phil W.

    PLEASE add to the list of things to be banned: The on-screen ads for other shows while you are trying to watch something. Nothing is more irritating than a character starting to dance around in the lower corner of the screen and a blast of color to get your attention to advertise ANOTHER SHOW...give it a rest...we get bombarded by ENOUGH ADS.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  195. Herb Dreo - Lakewood, CO

    There is a lot of variation in volume on different shows, however commercials are always louder and it is irritating. A bigger irritant however are the ever increasing number of commercials. Remember that the original idea of cable was "no commercials" that is why you paid. This trend is also seen in movies. I pay plenty to go to the movie, I shouldn't be bombarded by ideas.

    Why do we just keep taking it?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  196. Amy

    The attitude of the article is very odd. The author implies that since it's not as important an issue as healthcare or war, we shouldn't solve it. Yet it's still a positive reform, affecting millions of people.
    I could imagine the author not bothering to move his trash can to his desk, and just standing up and walking to the other room each time he needs to throw a paper away, saying, "Why should I fix it? It's not as important as healthcare reform!" It's called efficiency.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  197. Troy

    It may be a small feat, but at least it will get ompleted in relatively good time, and not linger in congress for months, or years! If you have a million small issues, and 20 big issues, wouldn't it make sense to at least deal with some of the small issues from time to time? There doesn't have to be focus on the large problems 100% of the time, because if that were the case, the smaller issues would never get any attention ever!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  198. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    Don't ask me that; you should asking about the issues of education, health care, poverty and pain.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  199. Alex

    Not an issue for me. I'd like all the television sponsors to know that I counteract this vile issue by simply muting my TV as soon as the commercials come on.

    There's no need to bring legislation into it, a little common sense is all that is needed (too loud commercals = mute button = lost revenue for sponsors. You'd think they'd care about THAT!) but since I don't expect there to be any common sense applied any tme soon, I will continue to excercise my thumb muscle on the mute button.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  200. Wayne Bruce

    It's very important to me. i have been screeming about the commercial volumes for ever. I live with the remote control in my hand. Up -Down Up-Down and Mute- Unmute and on and on. It's my TV and I know how lowd I want it to be.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  201. steve

    Whadidya say there, Jack? Wait a minute. Cant' hear 'ya. Have to turn down that damn tv ad. Ok. Now, whadidya say?

    December 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  202. Ken

    Of course, it's not that high on the priority list of our problems, but it is annyoying. Not only would the passage of this bill show that Obama is not the only Government offical who can do more than one thing at a time, but it might also stop my wife from yelling at me to turn the volume down whenever a commercial comes on. Turning that volume down would be a real accomplishment.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  203. Michael

    I think someone who truly feels loud commercials are an important issue can probably be gauged on whether they actually own a book, can't get enough of Sarah Palin's 'speeches' and think George Bush should have been able to successfully change the two term limit on US Presidents.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  204. Dustin Brubaker

    What's the problem with Congress doing something that actually benefits their constituents? If the option is to either pass this bill or bicker over Iraq and how much money to throw at wall street, by all means...pass the darn bill!

    Now, if they could only pass a bill restricting big box stores from playing Christmas music before Halloween, our lives would be complete!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  205. Steve Reid

    True, Jack, it's not one of the most important issues facing the country, but who's protecting us from those miserable advertisers who have to resort to "loudness" as a technique for getting our attention? This is an easy issue to deal with and it should get done.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  206. Gerry in MA

    Well, I can't hear the news regarding important stuff after some of these commercials!

    December 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  207. Will

    On a scale from 1 thru 10. I give it negative 1 bagilliongillion. I just turn down the volume when it wakes me up from falling asleep on your competitor station.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm |