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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

Congress Tries to Tackle TV Loudness

Perhaps you saw the news that Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has introduced a bill (H.R. 1084) to try to control the loudness of ads on TV. What a great idea. Her bill has passed in the House and is on its way to the Senate (S.2847).

The House version has been kicked around for some time. You may have heard it called the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act.

I reread the legislation because I was concerned that it would be phrased to address the maximum level and not loudness. We all know that loudness and level are different. (Level refers to a maximum peak; loudness refers to an average energy level.) Fortunately, the House version refers to loudness.

It’s unfortunate that legislation will likely be passed to address this. The audio in a TV signal (oh, wait; the TV guys call it sound) has always been an afterthought. If the audio meter moves, all is well. Who cares what it sounds like? (You should hear the locally inserted ads on my cable provider. Ouch!)

Of course radio will probably never have this problem. Many stations squish all the dynamic range down to less than 1dB. Nothing has a chance to be too loud.

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