I was overjoyed to read in my morning paper that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has order broadcasters to put a cap on how loud commercials can be.
We are all to familiar with the routine of jumping for the remote to turn down the volume that split second before the commercials start; but woe betide the poor soul who hasn’t been following the storyline so scrupulously as to pick up on the act breaks. The price these people pay for simply enjoying their programming is a scramble against the sudden rush of amplified sound waves to find the remote and end the assault on their ears often resulting in the spilling of snacks or beverages.
The new regulations from the CRTC will require that advertising and programs be transmitted at the same volume. Unfortunately these regulations will not take effect until September 1st of next year, so don’t get too excited and take the family’s dash for the remote drills and exercise off of your weekly schedule just yet.
Draft regulations for broadcasters regarding regulating the volume between programming and commercials will be published by the end of the year for comment.
The Canadian Press reported that Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the CRTC, said that complaints have been escalating for years concerning the “ear-splitting” ads. I do find it unfortunate that complaints have had to escalate before the CRTC would take action on the issue. Also, I have to question why broadcaster wouldn’t have addressed the problem themselves without the CRTC getting involved. They watch TV just like the rest of us, or at least I hope they do, and they must run for the remote just like us. If it bothered them, what made them think that it wasn’t bothering other people? Perhaps, like with the CRTC, there just weren’t enough complaints.
However, I won’t hold the past against the broadcasters or the CRTC as change is on the horizon. I do, however, encourage all broadcasters to take the initiative and voluntarily regulate the sound levels of their programs and advertising before the end of this September. They can adjust to the finer details of the regulations from the CRTC when they are made official next year, because, quite honestly, we have had enough and we shouldn’t have to put up with another year of ear splitting commercials.