The American Cable Association commended several House lawmakers for agreeing to work with small cable operators that have expressed concerns about legislation that would order the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the loudness of TV commercials aired by broadcasters and all pay-TV providers.
"ACA is pleased that some House members recognize that many small cable operators have no control over the loudness of commercials contained in local TV shows ornational cable networks," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "ACA is hopeful that Congress will consider an exemption for small cable companies that do not insert their own ads and will give small operators that perform ad insertions a reasonable amount of time to come into compliance."
Polka's comments came after House Communications, Technology, and the Internet Subcommitteechairman Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and bill sponsor Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) expressed openness to the idea of addressing the concerns of small cableoperators regarding the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act or CALM Act.
In opening statements, Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) each spoke about the impact of this legislation on small cable operators. Polka praised Boucher, Eshoo, Space and Walden for their interest in searching for a solution in response to ACA's reminder that one-size-fits-all regulation typically has a disproportionate impact on small, independent cable companies and their customers.
"ACA members agree with Rep. Eshoo and other cosponsors of the legislation that TV viewers should not be jolted in their homes by commercials that air at volume levels much higher than the programming they have just interrupted," Polka said."But as a matter of fairness, the bill should not cause smaller systems to purchase costly equipment or subject them to potentially hefty fines when they are not the ones causing the problem because they do not add their own local commercials to programming streams."
Importantly, customers served by ACA members covered by the exemption would still benefit from the broad protections contained in the CALM Act.
"So long as broadcasters are obligated to comply with the law, and nationally distributed programmers are doing so at the request of larger cable operators, all of the programming -- including the commercials -- that would be passed through to small cable subscribers would be in compliance with the CALM Act," Polka said.