Broadcasting: Trying to Lower the Boom

Broadcasters' volume measurement machines do not seem able to detect it, but listeners' eardrums are evidently more sensitive. For years, radio and TV owners have been blitzing the Federal Communications Commission with complaints about the loudness of commercials in comparison to the sound level of programs. Last week, after a tedious two-year study, the FCC agreed with the complaints. They "obviously cannot be dismissed on the ground that 'commercials aren't really loud, they just sound loud,'" declared the commission. The presentation of commercials "in a loud, rapid and strident manner" is "contrary...

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