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By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: December 13th, 2012
Tired of volume spikes from TV commercials? Suffer no more

As of midnight last night, the FCC’s new rules took effect, barring television networks from blasting viewers with those excessively loud commercial breaks. Adopted a year ago Thursday, the rules “will require commercials to have the same average volume as the programs they accompany,” the FCC says. The commission was prompted to action last year when Congress passed the “Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act“—known as the CALM Act.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the not so good news: You don’t have many options if those networks don’t conform, except to tattle on them.

The FCC has set up an FAQ site to answer your questions, but is it helpful?

Here’s a sample of one of the answers:

Q:   What can I do about loud commercials until the new rules take effect?
A:   Manually controlling volume levels with the remote control remains the simplest way to reduce excessive loudness levels.  The “mute” button on your TV remote is also useful to control excessively loud audio.

But you can also files a complaint, via telephone, fax or by snail mailing your complaint to Washington, D.C. Oddly, email is not an option.

Filing a Complaint

When sending your complaint to the Commission, please include the time, channel, a description of the commercial, whether you are watching pay TV or broadcast television using an antenna, and your contact information.  You can file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Call Center at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322).  Your complaint can also be faxed to 1-866-418-0232, or mailed to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

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